Mason’s future remains uncertain

by Michael Dougherty

As if he has a target painted on his shirt, any school with a coaching vacancy is taking a shot at University football coach Glen Mason.
Mason is a big supporter of ousted men’s athletics director Mark Dienhart, and speculation has risen that the third-year coach might leave because of Dienhart’s resignation Friday.
Louisiana State fired coach Gerry DiNardo recently, and North Carolina canned Carl Torbush this weekend. Mason is being mentioned as the shot of penicillin both programs need to cure their ills.
After Saturday’s win at Iowa, Mason was asked whether he planned to leave after this season.
“Who ever said I didn’t want to stay at Minnesota?” Mason asked the reporter. “That’s you guys.”
As of Sunday, Mason said neither Louisiana nor North Carolina has contacted him about vacancies. He said he hadn’t even heard Torbush had been fired and said rumors that he might return to his alma mater, Ohio State, aren’t fair because John Cooper signed a five-year contract extension last month.
But Mason said he meets the prerequisites losing teams demand. Those programs look for coaches with experience turning programs around, and Mason is doing it for the third time at the University — he’s also done it at Kent and Kansas.
“With any job that opens up, they say, ‘We’ll need a head coach with 10-plus years experience, and he’s the right age — between 45 and 55 — and he’s got a clean record,'” Mason said. “When you look at the national scope, that market is thin.”
Mason is in the third year of a seven-year contract that pays a $140,000 base salary and $280,000 in supplemental compensation. He also gets the use of two vehicles — a Cadillac and a Durango — and a membership at Bearpath Country Club in Eden Prairie.
The University also pays tuition for any of Mason’s children attending the University. His daughter, Chris, is a current student.
With a bowl bid, Mason will receive a $25,000 bonus. He will also receive a $5,000 bonus for the team finishing in a fourth-place tie with Penn State in the Big Ten and $25,000 more if the team finishes ranked between 11th and 20th.
As long as Mason doesn’t resign before Jan. 1, he faces no penalty. If he wants to leave after the bowl game, all he has to do is sign a letter of resignation.
“I’ve been through this for so many years, this is going on about 12 years of speculation ever since I went to Kansas (he left Kent for Kansas after the 1987 season),” Mason said about the rumors. “I think I won one game my first year at Kansas and people were speculating I was going to go here, there or some other place. I guess sometimes it was warranted, but most of the times it was not.
“The thing that’s unfortunate is, again, you’re dealing with perception,” he added. “We’re in the midst of recruiting right now, and I’m dealing with my players and what they think.”
Mason said he’s “waiting to see with great anticipation” what happens now that Dienhart and others involved in the basketball scandal have been let go.
He said he has a good job. He said he’s happy here. He said his family is happy here.
But he also said he was happy at Kansas before Dienhart convinced him to come to Minnesota.

Michael Dougherty covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]