Even after an impressive bowl win over Washington State, dismissal speculation continued, especially with possible replacements in P.J. Fleck, Chip Kelly, Les Miles and others gaining steam in the rumor mill.
University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle said firing Tracy Claeys and most of his assistants was a hard decision.
"Moving forward, we need a leader who sets high expectations athletically, academically, and socially", Coyle said. The move comes two weeks after the football program became embroiled in a standoff with the administration over the suspension of 10 players in connection with allegations of sexual assault.
Claeys said after sending the message out through his Twitter account that he should have written it differently, but said he still supported his players.
Gophers football players (from top left) Ray Buford, Carlton Djam, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson, Tamarion Johnson; (from bottom left) Antonio Shenault, Kobe McCrary, Mark Williams, Seth Green and Antoine Winfield Jr. have been suspended from all team activities, the University of Minnesota announced Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. "I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world!" "That's not important", Claeys said December 27.
"We certainly know that it's not enough to simply not commit an act of sexual violence, that real allies are actually counteracting the violence that's going on campuses, in every neighborhood, in every community", Super said. "We feel this is not at all acceptable".
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His quarterback benefited the most from his huge night as Zach Smith posted 375 yards and three scores in the win. He was held scoreless Tuesday, and finished with 46 yards rushing and 24 receiving in falling to the Bears.
Coyle said Tuesday the tweet "was not helpful".
"For Coach Claeys to stick by his team through his whole situation and be there for his players, and then for the administration to fire him, it's sad", said Leidner, who is from Lakeville. Understandably others did not see it that way. I will say, as a general matter, athletic suspension decisions - essentially a decision to bench a player - are different from a prosecutor's decision to charge someone with a crime.
Several Minnesota players were accused of sexual assault in September 2, with four initially suspended for three games.
Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner, who was not among the players named in the case, called Claeys's firing "extremely sad". He went on to say that the players were behind their coach and his staff completely. The Golden Gophers now have 15 commits according to ESPN, none of which are Top 300 recruits. I love and support all of you. Schwartz said Claeys answered the same way to all questions, "Enjoy the winter". Claeys took over as acting coach again on October 28, 2015, when Kill stepped down, and two weeks later, then-interim AD Beth Goetz made Claeys the new head coach with a three-year, $4.5 million contract.
Claeys was 11-8 in his two years as head coach.