Report: Tracy Claeys fired as Minnesota football head coach
Minnesota has fired head coach Tracy Claeys after two seasons, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
The Gophers finished the season 9–4 and beat Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. It was the Gophers' best record since their 10–3 finish in 2003.
Claeys was 11–8 in his two years at the helm. He signed a three-year contract worth $4.5 million in November 2015. As the university parts ways with Claeys, it will owe Claeys a $500,000 buyout for the last two years of his contract.
The decision comes while the university investigates an alleged sexual assault incident after the team's win over Oregon State in September.
Minnesota suspended four players as police launched their own investigation.The victim reportedly worked in the team's football gameday operations and filed a restraining order against the players. No criminal charges were filed. The victim and players reached a settlement, and the retraining order on the players was lifted.
The University of Minnesota investigated the incident and suspended 10 players. Some players vowed to boycott the team's upcoming bowl game, and Claeys supported their decision, though Athletic Director Mark Coyle and university President Eric Kaler did not. The players who threatened to boycott the Holiday Bowl and the university eventually came to terms and no players boycotted the game, though the initial 10 disciplined players remained suspended.
Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner spoke out against the firing, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner: “This is terrible decision by the administration. This is a pretty sad day for Gopher football."— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 3, 2017
Minnesota QB Mitch Lender: “No one is happy w/administration right now. I don’t know who would want to be part of this program at this time"— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 3, 2017
Coyle responded by saying “Let me be clear: this was the right thing to do. Coach Claeys’ tweet (supporting players) was not helpful."