In wake of Geatz resignation, multitude of questions raised

The Minnesota men’s tennis coach will resign at the end of the season.

Matt Anderson

On April 10, Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi announced in a statement that men’s tennis coach David Geatz would resign at the end of the season.

But layered beneath all the wording in the statement released by the athletics department, one thing stood out: Geatz probably was being forced out after 18 years of coaching the Gophers.

Why else would the statement use the word resign, instead of retire? Why else would the announcement come in the middle of the Big Ten season? Why else would Geatz say he isn’t sure what he wants to do after the season?

And if Geatz indeed is being forced out, why would the athletics department decide to can him now?

The word resign is key to the suggestion that it wasn’t Geatz’s decision to leave the program.

When coaches resign, it is almost always under duress. Former Missouri men’s basketball coach Quinn Snyder resigned after he was told he would be fired at the end of the season. Former Michigan football coach Gary Moeller resigned in 1995 after he was arrested for public drunkenness. If Geatz leaving was his own decision, it would have been called a retirement.

In an April 11 story in the Daily, Geatz said he was unsure what he would do after the season. That doesn’t sound like a man who had planned to leave his job.

The real question, though, is if Geatz is being forced out, why was the decision made now? Geatz and assistant coach Adam Cohen were suspended for a month May 2 after the NCAA discovered six minor violations in the program. The violations stemmed from improper benefits given to players D.J. Geatz – David Geatz’s son – and Andres Osario as part of an internship program at North Oaks Golf Club in North Oaks.

That would have been the time to fire Geatz. With an athletics department that has been through a lot in terms of scandal – from the 1999 men’s basketball academic scandal to 2002 recruiting violations against the women’s basketball team – firing a coach for NCAA violations would be understandable – even expected.

But Maturi decided to keep Geatz around. The next season, with Minnesota sitting at 5-1 in the Big Ten, it’s announced that Geatz will be done at the season’s end.

Something doesn’t make sense.

If he truly is leaving under his own power, Geatz should come out with a more forceful quote that says as much and puts to rest any speculation that he is being pushed out.

If there was something that happened to trigger a firing, Maturi should let the public know what it was to remove the clouds of doubt surrounding Geatz’s departure.

Even if Geatz is being forced out because of the residue from the NCAA violations, Maturi owes it to everyone to say as much.

But if everyone remains quiet about the exact reasons behind Geatz’s departure, there are aspersions cast on everyone involved. Only by coming out and addressing the departure head on will there be real closure on the situation.

– Matt Anderson welcomes comments at [email protected]