News Release

Athletics celebrates Golden Gopher success in the classroom and in competition

A windswept maroon flag with the U of M logo is backlit by sunshine.

During the past year, more than 625 Gopher student-athletes added to the many recent academic and athletic achievements of the Twin Cities athletics department. As part of their annual report at the Board of Regents’ July meeting, Gopher Athletics leadership will highlight these successes and how they support student success-focused goals in the comprehensive systemwide strategic plan, MPact 2025.

Gopher Athletics Director Mark Coyle will recognize the continued, nation-leading academic achievements of Gopher student-athletes, who collectively hold a cumulative grade-point average of 3.4 and a graduation rate of 94% — giving the department its best graduation success rates of all-time in each of the past five years. Last year, the department had 318 Academic All-Big Ten honorees, 115 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, nine Academic All-Americans and a campus-record 56 Academic All-District selections. Across the varsity programs it sponsors, Gopher Athletics led the Big Ten in Academic All-Americans and tied for seventh nationally.

The report will also highlight athletic accomplishments throughout Golden Gopher programs, including placing 31st out of 305 athletic departments in the Learfield Directors' Cup, which measures broad-based athletic success. The Gophers also won a pair of team conference championships (men’s hockey regular season, women’s hockey tournament) and seven individual Big 10 titles. Gopher swimmer Max McHugh added an individual national title in the 100 breaststroke — his fourth career NCAA championship.

Coyle will also discuss the financial commitments his department has made to mental health support for student-athletes, coaches and staff. The University has focused on strategic mental health investments in recent years, particularly through the President's Initiative for Student Mental Health, and Gopher Athletics has similarly prioritized awareness of and easy access to resources among student-athletes. Reflecting the need and availability of these services, nearly two-thirds of Gopher student-athletes sought out support in the past year.

Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), as well as education-related financial support, have become a significant consideration for all Power Five athletics departments. Coyle will provide updates on the Gophers work in this space. This includes the Champions For Life program, which launched in fall 2022 and offers opportunities for all student-athletes in good academic standing to receive awards following completion of educational programming that helps them prepare for leadership and success during and after their time at the U of M. He’ll also discuss the launch of the Minnesota NIL Marketplace, the Dinkytown Athletes collective, personnel hires and other aspects of the department’s support of student-athletes in the NIL space.

Coyle and Tim McCleary, senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer, will also detail steps the department has taken to balance its budget, including performance in key revenue areas, internal budget reductions and minimizing debt following seasons negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also during its July meeting, the Board is expected to:

  • Receive a formal introduction to the University’s new vice president for University Services, Alice Roberts-Davis.
  • Receive an update on Native American Affairs from Karen Diver, senior advisor to the President.
  • Discuss public safety planning for the 2023-24 academic year with Interim President Jeff Ettinger and Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans.
  • Receive the annual report from the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.

For more information, including future meeting times, visit