Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Minnesota Golden Gophers is one of the team that plays at the Big Ten Conference of NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I. The team represents the University of Minnesota and plays at their home arena located at Williams Arena. The arena is huge and has a capacity to seat 14,625 spectators.
Before the World War I, the team had achieved huge success but post-war, the program has seen marginal success. At the establishment of the program, the Gophers went to play without any coach. L. J. Cooke was appointed the first coach for the team in 1897. During the 27 years that he served as the head coach, Cooke achieved a win percentage of 0.649 which is the second best score in the history of the program. Another coach that stayed with the team for the second-highest tenure was John Wooden who coached the team for 18 years. The Gophers also had several coached that went on to the NBA as coaches such as John Kundla, Bill Musselman, etc.
In 1986-87, Clem Haskins was hired as a head coach for the Gophers. During his reign, in 1999, the Gophers were rocked by reports published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press about fraud allegations that included names of several players in the team. As a result of the allegations, 4 players were banned from playing by the University, as a result of which, the Gophers lost to the Gonzaga at the season send.
In June of 1999, Haskins lost the remainder of his contract of three years with the program. After he left the team, he accepted the charges and also confessed to a few more cheats. In a NCAA investigation carried out on Haskins, the findings reported a major fraud that had occurred under his watch. As a result, the Gophers were stripped of all the post-season awards, personal records, titles and even statistics for the 1993-94 season. Haskins was banned from coaching at any level until 2007. He had also asked his players to cheat to the NCAA. The program was forced to submit their 1997 Conference title and all records of the regular season from the 1993-94 season. As a result, there is no record for the Program from 1993-94 till 1998-99.
Recovery was tough after Haskins left the team, but Dan Monson who succeeded him as coach tries his best. The team made only one NCAA Tournament appearance during his 8 years tenure. In March 2007, the University hired Tubby Smith as their coach who had just retired from the University of Kentucky. Smith has been a talented player for his university and his appointment as the coach gave the team a moral boost that it badly needed. He took the team to score from 8-22 in 2006-07 to 20-13 in 2007-08. The team could reach the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals in the same season.
The team has won a total of 9 Big Ten Championship titles.
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