Tom Moe

by Patrick Hayes

University President Mark Yudof and Tonya Moten Brown, vice president for administration, announced Tom Moe has been named men’s athletics director with a three-year contract worth $250,000 annually.
After a six-month search and review of more than 50 applicants by University administrators and faculty members, Yudof said Oct. 27 that Moe was the only finalist for the position.
Moe took over the position last December on an interim basis after former men’s athletics director Mark Dienhart announced his resignation Nov. 19, 1999, amid the men’s basketball academic fraud scandal.
He repeatedly turned down offers for the permanent position, but finally reconsidered after Yudof made one last offer two weeks ago.
Yudof said he pursued Moe because of his background and because Moe has not spent his entire career in athletics.
“I wanted someone with a broader administration background,” Yudof said.
“So from my standpoint Tom is great because he is a fan, he is interested, but he’s been a manager of a law firm and a lawyer and a business person,” he added.
Moe graduated from the University in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He attended the University’s Law School, earning a degree in 1963.
At the University, he played football and baseball. He was a six-time letter winner and the football team’s most valuable player in 1959, as well as a key member of the baseball team’s 1960 national championship.
After graduating from law school, Moe joined the Minneapolis firm of Dorsey & Whitney.
He steadily rose in rank at the law firm, concentrating on tax and corporate law, acquisitions and business formations, along with acting as a general counsel to a number of non-publicly owned companies. He made managing partner in 1990, and became chairman of the firm in April 1999. He resigned from Dorsey & Whitney effective Dec. 31.
In addition, Moe has held football season tickets for more than 30 years and is a former member of the Touchdown Club — a football booster club.
After watching Moe interact with coaches and players, Yudof said Moe’s ties to athletics would not be a problem because of the respect he receives.
“I felt that when Tom Moe said you could not do it, it wouldn’t happen,” he added.
As men’s athletics director, Moe plans to put the men’s basketball academic fraud scandal behind him and work on increasing revenue.
While talks were very tentative, one possibility is building a new open-air football stadium, he said.
Even though football tickets sales have increased, Moe said the University still loses money on parking costs and as a result of the shared revenue agreement with the Metrodome.
“We have to figure how to take advantage of a program that has all kinds of potential,” Moe said.
“In order to be competitive and remain competitive and to reach the type of goals I have … we have to increase those revenues,” he added.
For men’s basketball coach Dan Monson, the appointment of Moe as the permanent men’s athletic director brings a great sense of relief and marks the end of the basketball scandal.
“When (Moe) was hired on an interim basis, I had no knowledge of who he was or what his abilities were,” Monson said.
“But being able to work with somebody for 10 months and getting the confidence in him and also seeing the integrity of how he handles the job, gave me this new sense of who Tom Moe was,” he added.
Monson inherited a basketball team wrought with scandal after University investigators said former athletics tutor Jan Gangelhoff had written more than 400 papers for men’s basketball players and professors had altered grades to keep players eligible.
As a result, the team lost five scholarships over five years, was placed on four years of probation and had its 1997 Final Four season stricken from the record books.
In addition, the men’s athletics department underwent considerable restructuring.
However, with the NCAA final ruling two weeks ago, Monson and University officials hope to put the scandal behind them, looking toward Moe to bring future prosperity.
“It’s the perfect person, at the perfect time to do the job,” said University Board of Regents member David Metzen.

Patrick Hayes covers the Board of Regents and administration and welcomes comments at [email protected]