Former golf coach admits ‘mistake,’ plans for future

Brian Stensaas

Breaking a brief silence, former Minnesota men’s golf coach John Means issued a lengthy statement through attorney James Carson W. Bock on Friday concerning his resignation from the program.

Means resigned Thursday following an audit of the program that revealed airline tickets and meals for his personal use had been charged to the University.

In the statement, Means said he was not trying to deceive or defraud the University when personal items were added to the program’s budget and not to his credit card.

Means acknowledges he made a “significant administrative mistake” when $2,852 in travel and $340 in food expenditures for personal use were charged to the golf program. The monies were used by Means’ wife and daughter, who accompanied the team on the road. He has completely reimbursed the University.

Men’s athletics director Tom Moe, who approached Means in June regarding the error, said he and the former coach spoke of the events, but he refused to comment further.

“I had a number of conversations (with Means),” Moe said. “Some very in-depth conversations. We talked at length about the issues raised in the report. That’s where I draw the line.”

Means will stay with the University as an assistant athletics director through December and will ensure an orderly transition for interim coach Brad James.

A former Minnesota golfer and assistant coach, James agreed to a one-year contract. Moe plans to consider a search for a new coach within the next year.

“I think it’s terrible,” Minnesota junior golfer Wilhelm Schauman said. “He helped me when I came here (from Sweden) and now he’s not part of the program anymore. Personally, I don’t think he had a choice. I don’t know this, but my guess is that he had to resign instead of getting fired.”

Means came to coach the Gophers in 1991 following nine straight MAAC conference championships and the 1990 Patriot conference championship at the helm of Army. Just two years later, Minnesota made its first appearance in 21 years at the NCAA tournament and has not missed the field since. Means repeatedly contended for the Big Ten title during his tenure and coached Gophers golfer James McLean to the NCAA championship in 1998.

Now, 10 years after his arrival, Means’ University career is coming to an end.

“I understand the decision maker’s decision, although I certainly disagree, and I believe he understands mine,” Means said in his statement. “It has been made clear to me that it is now time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life.”

Means plans to pursue building a state-of-the-art golf learning center now that he is through coaching.

 

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