News Release

Board of Regents vote approves contract for Ben Johnson, the Gophers new head men’s basketball coach

The seal of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents shines in a spotlight, carved out of pale, cream-colored limestone set against dark red brick

In a special meeting—the first meeting since the public announcement that Gopher Athletics Director Mark Coyle had offered the open head men’s basketball coaching position to U of M alum Ben Johnson—the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved Johnson’s employment agreement on Wednesday. 

Since the March 22 announcement Johnson has been working under a memorandum of understanding, the terms of which are largely mirrored in the Board-approved agreement. Notably, the contract is for five years, running through April 30, 2026, at a base salary starting at $1.95 million annually, which will rank 13th among 14 Big Ten head men’s basketball coaches for the coming season.

M Safe implementation update

In addition to its approval of Johnson’s contract, the Board and University President Joan Gabel discussed progress on the implementation of the University's M Safe initiative. Last discussed with the Board in February, M Safe is the University’s next step forward in its review and related actions regarding public safety in the Twin Cities campus community. The review was led by Dr. Cedric Alexander, who reported on the topic earlier this year.

Gabel shared that the University is building out the M Safe Implementation Team, as recommended by Dr. Alexander. Co-led by Dr. Kathy Quick, associate professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Mylene Culbreath, director of diversity consulting, outreach and recruitment at the Graduate School, this team will grow to include students, faculty and staff, including partners in University governance. 

While the M Safe Implementation Team considers the recommendations in Dr. Alexander’s report, which are detailed across eight broad categories, several immediate action steps are already underway. These include deploying a campus safety app for all members of the campus community (currently in testing), equipping UMPD officers with body-worn cameras (currently in procurement), transitioning public safety and UMPD oversight to Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans (completed) and ongoing conversations and meetings with the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul regarding public safety.

Oath of Office

As part of Wednesday’s meeting, four Regents elected by the Minnesota Legislature to the Board in March took their oath of office, a ceremonial start to the six-year terms Regents James Farnsworth, Doug Huebsch, Ruth Johnson and Kodi Verhalen will serve.
The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet next on May 13-14, 2021. Visit for more information.

Media Contacts

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University Public Relations
(612) 624-5551

Jake Ricker

University Public Relations
Wed, 04/28/2021 - 08:26
Board of Regents vote approves contract for Ben Johnson, the Gophers new head men’s basketball coach
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities