Wilson no longer Gophers head coach

C.J. Spang

Gary Wilson has been coaching Minnesota’s women’s cross country and women’s track and field teams for 22 years, and the University announced today that he has signed on for six more years.

Wilson signed a six-year contract to remain the coach of the cross country team, but he’s stepping down as the head coach of the track and field team and will stay on as an assistant coach.

“He is stepping down,” associate athletic director Marc Ryan said, “But he’s not stepping away, and that’s great.”

Matt Bingle, who has been the team’s associate head coach for the past three seasons, was named interim head coach. The timeline for the search for a permanent replacement for Wilson is still to be determined, according to Ryan.

Wilson said the past few years he’s handed over more responsibility to Bingle and said Bingle has his vote of confidence.

“It’s an honor to have worked with (Wilson),” Bingle said. “It’s an exciting time for our program and it’s exciting for me to be named interim. It means a lot that he thinks that of me and that (Athletic Director) Joel (Maturi) and Marc (Ryan) think that I can help us maintain where we are and move ahead. Ö So it’s a dream come true for me.”

The track and field team is coming off of its first-ever Big Ten Championship in which five athletes took home individual crowns and Wilson was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.

As for why he decided to step down now, Wilson said the passing of his friend, the passing of Gophers’ long-time equipment manager Jack Johnson last spring and his confidence in where the program was headed all played a role in his decision.

“It’s been something that’s kind of been in the back of my mind for the last couple years,” he said. “It’s just something that I felt was the right time.”