MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The search for the next athletic director at the University of Minnesota is over. President Eric Kaler announced Wednesday morning that Mark Coyle was selected as the finalist for the position.
Coyle arrived to campus Wednesday and after meeting with a search committee, members of the athletic department and coaches, was introduced as the school’s new athletic director at an afternoon news conference. Coyle will earn a base salary of $850,000 over the next five years, nearly double what Minnesota was paying Norwood Teague. Teague resigned last fall amid allegations of sexual harassment involving school employees.
Coyle will take over for interim AD Beth Goetz, and he said he hopes to be in place full-time by Memorial Day. Both Kaler and Coyle said they hope Goetz remains on staff as a deputy athletic director. Kaler said Goetz had helped to raise $15 million for the school’s athletic facilities project.
Coyle and his wife few up in Iowa and are Midwesterners at heart. When asked why he chose Minnesota, Coyle got emotional before he responded, saying it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. He has relatives that live in Rochester.
Coyle had been the athletic director at Syracuse University and has been since June 2015 and informed school officials there on Wednesday that he was leaving his post for Minnesota.
“I regret the timing of it. I worked with a lot of great people there,” Coyle said. “There was once place I was going to leave Syracuse for, and it’s Minnesota.”
One of his first responsibilities will be to address the recent issues with the men’s basketball program. Reggie Lynch was arrested earlier in the week after allegations of sexual assault and is currently suspended. Kevin Dorsey, Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer were all suspended for the final four games of the season after sexually explicit videos appeared on Dorsey’s Twitter account. Dorsey left the program after the season.
“Our primary focus will be the student-athletes and representing ourselves in a first-class manner in everything we do,” Coyle said. “I think it’s my job to come in and create a culture of accountability.”
Coyle has also been the athletic director at Boise State University and the deputy athletics director at Kentucky.
Coyle has a reputation for straightening up messes, including Boise State’s NCAA probation. When he took on the athletic director job at Syracuse, they were facing NCAA sanctions. Their hockey team won an NCAA title, and both basketball teams were in the Final Four.
He’s also applauded for major fundraising at Kentucky, where he raised more than $135 million.
His name may sound familiar to some. Coyle, 47, was the associate athletic director for external relations at Minnesota from 2001-05. He was responsible for managing marketing, sales, athletic communications, the ticket office and licensing.
University officials say they looked all over the country for the next athletic director, and Coyle was their top candidate.
Coyle is married and has three children.