University Of Minnesota Football Coach Fired After Supporting Team BoycottBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
University of Minnesota football coach Tracy Claeys was fired. This comes after several football players were suspended after being involved in a sexual assault case.
The Washington Post reported that the school fired its head coach on Tuesday. Claeys was able to complete his first full season and led the team to a Dec. 27 victory against Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.
Minnesota's athletic director, Mark Coyle, said that the football program must "move in a new direction," which includes addressing challenges in recruiting, ticket sales as well as the culture of the program. He believes that "strong leadership" is needed to take the team to the next level.
Last month, the University of Minnesota football team stopped going to practices to protest the suspension of 10 teammates who were accused of sexual assault. The school's 99-member team wants the administration to lift the suspension given to their teammates.
If it had gone unresolved, the team wouldn't have played in the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl against Washington State University. Apparently, they felt "blindsided" by the suspensions and felt that their teammates were "falsely accused" and denied of due process.
The Gophers also want an apology from university president Eric Kaler and athletic director Mark Coyle. They also ask for a closed-door meeting with two University Board of Regents members for a discussion on how to improve the program.
On the day that the players revealed their boycott plans, Claeys tweeted about how proud he was of the kids. This was cited in a petition on MoveOn.org, which called for the termination of the football coach for failing to "acknowledge the importance of respecting women."
Speaking to CBS Local, Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner expressed his disappointment at Coyle's comments on the success of the program. The team was able to have a 9-4 season.
Twin Cities noted that Claeys stood behind the players' decision for improving due process. He also clarified that he understood the school's decision at the time.