Gophers football coach Tim Brewster firedMINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota fired football coach Tim Brewster today, one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Purdue to fall to 1-6 in his fourth season on the sideline.
By: Dave Campbell and Jon Krawczynski, The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota fired football coach Tim Brewster today, one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Purdue to fall to 1-6 in his fourth season on the sideline.
Brewster went 15-30 at Minnesota, including 6-21 in the Big Ten, and the Gophers' 28-17 loss to the Boilermakers on Saturday was their sixth straight defeat.
Athletic director Joel Maturi said he's had several conversations with university President Robert Bruininks in the last few weeks about the coach and both agreed on the move. Offensive coordinator Jeff Horton will serve as interim head coach the remainder of the season.
"While I appreciate the passion and commitment that coach Brewster has shown, it is clear that a change in the leadership of Gopher football is necessary," Maturi said in a statement.
"We have high aspirations for our football program and we are not satisfied with its current direction. The results so far this season have been unacceptable and the program has simply not shown enough improvement over the past three and a half years to continue with the status quo."
The Associated Press left a phone message for Brewster seeking comment.
Brewster was hired to take over the stagnant Minnesota program in 2007, despite never having been a head coach or coordinator in college or the NFL.
Brewster created a monster he couldn't contain when, with a salesman's determination and a preacher's fervor, he started talking about Rose Bowls at his introduction. Known as a successful recruiter under Mack Brown at North Carolina and Texas, Brewster's classes drew decent reviews from analysts but his players never quite put it together.
Instability on his staff was a problem, after he fired offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar in 2008 and ditched his spread offense for a pro-style attack designed to create more of a power running team. Dunbar's replacement, Jedd Fisch, left after one season and forced the offense to learn under yet another coach. The Gophers showed a pattern of disorganization and undisciplined play under Brewster, whose game-planning inexperience seemed to show.
Brewster had never been a head coach — beyond Central Catholic High School in Lafayette, Ind. — when he was hired by Maturi to replace Glen Mason and revive the once-proud program.
Even Maturi acknowledged the risk of an unproven hire, recalling his blunt response early in the search process when colleagues recommended he talk to the man who was the Denver Broncos' tight ends coach at the time.
"To be honest, I'd never heard of Tim Brewster," Maturi said.
After a rough first season that included a loss at home in the opener to Bowling Green and a narrow overtime victory over Miami (Ohio) as the lone triumph, the Gophers surged forward with a 7-1 start in 2008 and were ranked 20th when they were beaten at home by Northwestern on a last-second interception return for a touchdown.
They kept on losing, to rivals Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa — the latter 55-0 in their final game at the Metrodome. TCF Bank Stadium opened the next fall, and the Gophers downed Air Force in the inaugural game before slogging through Big Ten play with a ragged offense. They closed the home schedule with an ugly 16-13 win over lower-division South Dakota State.
They went to the Insight Bowl in Arizona and lost again, leaving Brewster's bowl record 0-2.
The school reworked his contract, extending it through the 2013 season and adding several bonuses, but declined to give him a raise and decreased the buyout figure.
He will receive a $600,000 buyout.
Widely assumed to be on the hot seat entering this season, Brewster's fate appeared sealed when the Gophers lost at home to lower-division South Dakota on Sept. 11.
His record against FCS teams was 2-2 and against non-BCS schools in the FBS he went 6-3 — five too many losses for any team trying to move into the Big Ten's elite. An upset or two might have been overlooked by the fan base had Brewster's teams been able to beat rivals Wisconsin or Iowa, but the Gophers weren't able to do that.