A maroon-and-gold road trip

June 3, 2016
Mark Coyle sits amongst Gopher fans in Perham, Minnesota.

New director of athletics Mark Coyle visits with Gopher fans in Perham, Minnnesota.

In what has become an annual rite of summer, a busload of Gopher coaches—this year accompanied by brand new athletic director Mark Coyle—hit the road June 1 for the first of two two-day trips around the state to meet Minnesotans in their home communities.

On Wednesday, June 1, the U of M contingent visited fans in Hutchinson and Perham, and the following day it made stops in Nisswa and Spicer. The traveling team included Coyle and coaches Tracy Claeys (football), Terry Ganley (women’s swimming & diving), Sarah Hopkins (women’s cross country), Hugh McCutcheon (volleyball), Chuck Merzbacher (women’s tennis), Michele Redman (women’s golf), Krystle Seidel (soccer), and Geoff Young (men’s tennis). The events were emceed by Mike Grimm, a radio voice of the Gophers, and spiced by the antics of Goldy Gopher.

The appearance in Nisswa, at Grand View Lodge, was a typical gathering of enthusiastic fans, some of whom can’t frequently make it to the Twin Cities to back their favorite teams in person.

Coyle kicked off the program in Nisswa by talking about the overall success of Gopher student-athletes, from their national and Big Ten championships to their exemplary performance in the classroom.

“There are many positive things going on on campus,” he said. “Academically our students are doing it the right way; athletically, we’re ranked fourth in the country (in the latest Learfield Directors’ Cup standings). We’ve had tremendous success this year and we’re very proud of it.

“I [got back to Minnesota] as quickly as I could because I wanted to be a part of this tour,” he added. “I wanted to be a part of going out across the state and letting people know how much we appreciate what you do for our program. You invest in us and we need to invest in you, and that’s why we do this.”