Former U employee Gangelhoff dies

Jan Gangelhoff, 56, a key figure in the cheating scandal that tainted the reputation of the men’s Gophers basketball program, died Monday at her parents’ home in Danbury, Wis.

Shelley Cooksey, a student support services associate at the University, said that although Gangelhoff was her boss for only approximately a year, she remembers Gangelhoff loving her job as office manager for academic counseling at the University.

“She was very passionate about the students and a very strong student advocate,” Cooksey said. “She seemed to really enjoy her job.”

Jan Pearson, executive administrative specialist for the School of Public Health, said she considered Gangelhoff a friend and noted the enthusiasm she took to her work.

“She was really passionate about helping minorities – she herself was Native American,” Pearson said. “She was really a hard worker, she was very intelligent and she was just fun to be around – she just had a great sense of humor.”

Jim Lord, Gangelhoff’s attorney, said the basketball scandal had a ripple effect on the rest of Gangelhoff’s life.

“Most everybody she dealt with was aware of the scandal at the ‘U,’ and the opinions were mixed,” he said. “Some cheered her for her courage in blowing the whistle Ö and others were more critical of it. They just thought the program was fine – ‘let the athletes cheat so long as they could play.’ “

Lord said he was proud of Gangelhoff for her courage and perseverance.

“Her motivation to expose this scandal was to help the student-athletes whose academic opportunities were being robbed by the coaches,” he said.

Gangelhoff, a University tutor for student-athletes, came forward in March 1999, disclosing that she had written more than 400 papers for men’s basketball players from 1993-98.

In the fallout of a nine-month, $1.5 million investigation, then-men’s basketball coach Clem Haskins was fired along with a number of other administrators under whose watch the fraud happened.

In April 2000, the University placed sanctions on the men’s basketball team. Administrators returned 90 percent of the money the University received for participating in the 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1996-97 Big Ten seasons.

The NCAA placed the team on probation for four years and took away a scholarship in October 2000.