After Clem Haskins brought the University of Minnesota to the sports forefront in 1997 when he took the Gophers to their first Final Four in school history, the men's basketball program was put on the map.
On the other side of things, the Minnesota Gophers football program hadn't been a significant part of college football for over 40 years. Former head coach Glen Mason had the program heading in the right direction, but could never get them to take it one step further.
Under Mason, the Gophers played in four different bowl games and a total of seven in his ten years as coach.
In 2007, a new era of Gophers football began. Tim Brewster was named head coach after an extensive search for the most suitable candidate.
He did a lot of talking in his first press conference and surprisingly promised "Gopher Nation" that the Rose Bowl and a Big Ten Conference Championship were not out of the question anymore.
Athletic Director Joel Maturi was hired in the summer of 2002 to rebuild the program after the academic scandal revealed under the Haskins administration.
He has fired two coaches since being hired, those two coaches were Dan Monson (Men's Basketball) and Glen Mason (Football). The Gophers got a gift when Tubby Smith left the University of Kentucky to come to Minnesota. It is fair to say that it was more of Smith's decision to coach in the Big Ten than Maturi's ability to recruit and pay an elite level coach.
They hired Tim Brewster to coach the football team in 2007. Maturi was highly applauded for the firing of Mason within the sports media because of the coach's inability to take that next step from a middle-of-the-road team to a conference contender.
Those two eras have gotten off to completely contrasting starts. Tubby Smith has the basketball team back playing at a very high level.
Their team in 2009-10 has the ability to contend for the Big Ten Conference Championship and will be tough in the future as well. They have built some nice recruiting classes and will cause chaos in the next decade.
The football team has gotten off to a terrible start under Brewster. They went 1-11 in his first year, 7-6 in his second year, and 6-7 in this past year. They just lost to Iowa State in the Insight Bowl on New Year's Eve.
They looked lost on the field and have not improved at all in Brewster's time as coach.
Quarterback Adam Weber has regressed as a player. He has the quality to be an elite quarterback and maybe someday an NFL quarterback, but the coach's inability to keep him moving and throwing consistently has caused him to look bad at some times.
The once-elite running game under Glen Mason has disappeared. Marion Barber and Lawrence Maroney were products of one of the best running offenses in the country under Glen Mason.
Brewster had the blueprint for success right in front of him and he changed the Gophers to a spread team in his first year. Obviously, that did not go well with the team winning only one game.
Realistically, they should have lost every game, but a field goal kicker missed a chip shot to save their season.
After his second season as coach came to a somber end with a 55-0 loss to Iowa, the team decided to toss the spread offense all together and get back into a basic singleback set.
Now their Mason recruits were pretty much gone, the new recruits were here to play in the spread offense, and the team was a mess on both sides of the ball.
Tim Brewster doesn't call plays on offense. Tim Brewster doesn't call plays on defense. Tim Brewster doesn't coach the special teams. What does Tim Brewster do?
He was hired as a recruiter. He had never been a head coach at the professional or collegiate level. He had never been an offensive or defensive coordinator at either level also.
Joel Maturi made one of the worst hires in school history when he elected to bring in the boisterous Brewster instead of a football coach. Just because he can get kids to come play football for the University doesn't mean he can win football games as a head coach.
If he can recruit, then hire him as a recruiter. There are so many other options out there for football coaches and just about all of them worthy of a Big Ten head coaching position have head coaching experience.
Joel Maturi you should be ashamed of your hiring of Brewster for this simple fact. You took advantage of the University of Minnesota's faithful fan base because you knew they were still high on the hiring of Tubby Smith. You took the easy way out with the Brewster hiring.
Name recognition was no longer required because you put all your chips into the basketball program. The new stadium was supposed to be your golden token with the football program and that backfired right in your face.
Almost losing to the goofy Jackrabbits of South Dakota State was embarrassing for the Gophers. More Jackrabbits fans than Gophers fans in your inaugural season of TCF Bank Stadium was a joke and must have been so embarrassing for the sports commission at the University.
Think about this, a major city of more than four million people, has one of the largest school's in the country. The students total more than 50,000 on an average year on campus and they account for about 20 percent of the attendees of the football games.
This program can't even muster up the support to fill up a stadium on about six Saturdays each Fall. It's absolutely sad that the Iowegians and drunken 'Sconi's come in here every year and take over our stadium.
It's a joke of a program. It's a joke of a coach.
Let me coach the team with my high school experience and we can gain more yards with the weapons you are putting on the field. At least we would then have someone with head-coaching experience on the sidelines.