Minnesota Golden Gophers football
|Minnesota Golden Gophers football|
|Athletic director||Mark Coyle|
|Head coach||P. J. Fleck
2nd season, 5–7 (.417)
|Stadium||TCF Bank Stadium|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|All-time record||688–516–44 (.569)|
|Bowl record||7–12 (.368)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||7 (1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, 1960)|
Penn State Nittany Lions
|Colors||Maroon and Gold
|Fight song||Minnesota Rouser|
|Marching band||Minnesota Marching Band|
The Minnesota Golden Gophers football program represents the University of Minnesota in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. Founded in 1882, the program is one of the oldest in college football. Minnesota has been a member of the Big Ten Conference since its inception in 1896 as the Western Conference. The Golden Gophers claim seven national championships: 1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, and 1960. Since 2009, the Gophers have played all their home games at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In January 2017, the Gophers fired head coach Tracy Claeys and hired former Western Michigan head coach P. J. Fleck as the new head coach.
- 1 History
- 2 Championships
- 3 Facilities
- 4 Head coaches
- 5 Bowl games
- 6 Rivalries / trophy games
- 7 Individual award winners
- 8 College Football Hall of Famers
- 9 Pro Football Hall of Famers
- 10 Canadian Football Hall of Fame
- 11 Current professional players
- 12 Other notable coaches and players
- 13 Future opponents
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The Minnesota Golden Gophers college football team played its first game on September 29, 1882, a 4–0 victory over Hamline University. Eight years later in 1890, the Gophers played host to Wisconsin in a 63–0 victory. With the exception of 1906, the Gophers and Badgers have played each other every year since then. The 124 games played against each other is the most played rivalry in Division I-A college football.
The sport's beginnings were humble. Students began gathering to play the game recreationally and its popularity grew.
Once the sport had taken off, it was only a matter of time before a team was formed to play against other schools. Early teams were very loosely organized, not requiring all of the players to be students and not having designated coaches. The players on the team started to recruit faculty members who had played football at schools in the East to help organize the team. Some years, they played without a coach. Other years, they played with multiple coaches. In total, from 1882 through 1899, the team played 16 seasons of football and had 15 different coaches. As the years went by, the leadership structure started to become more formal. In 1900, the hiring of Dr. Henry L. Williams, the school’s first full-time salaried coach, signaled the end of the early, chaotic days.:15
The Gophers enjoyed quite a bit of success in the early 20th century, posting winning records from 1900 to 1919. Head coach Henry L. Williams developed the "Minnesota shift", a predecessor to later quick line shifts, which was adopted widely. Also Henry L. Williams led Minnesota to one of the NCAA's longest unbeaten streaks of 35 games, from 1903 to 1905 with 34 wins and 1 tie. In 1932, Bernie Bierman became the Gopher head coach and led the Gophers to their first dynasty. From 1934 to 1936 the Gophers went on a run of winning three straight National Championships, the last Division I team to accomplish this feat. During the run, Minnesota went unbeaten in 28 straight games, 21 of which were consecutive victories. The school record for consecutive victories is 24, which spanned 3 seasons from 1903 to 1905. The Gophers also won two more national championships in 1940 and 1941. Those two seasons comprised most of an 18-game winning streak that stretched from 1939 to 1942.
After some mediocre seasons throughout the remainder of the 1940s and 1950s, the Gophers rose back to prominence in 1960 with their seventh national championship (because polling ended after the regular season, the Gophers were crowned AP and UPI national champions despite losing the Rose Bowl to Washington). That national championship followed a 1-8 record in 1958 and 2-7 record in 1959. Minnesota played in bowl games the two following years as well, in 1961 and 1962. The Gophers earned their first berth in the Rose Bowl by winning the 1960 Big Ten title. The following year, Minnesota returned to Pasadena despite a second-place finish in the conference. The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Big Ten champions in 1961, declined an invitation to the Rose Bowl because of tension between academics and athletics at the school. Minnesota beat UCLA 21-3 to claim its first and only Rose Bowl victory. Minnesota's last Big Ten title was in 1967, tying the Indiana Hoosiers and Purdue Boilermakers atop the standings.
The 2006 team had the dubious distinction of blowing a 38–7 third-quarter lead in the Insight Bowl against Texas Tech, losing 44-41 in overtime. The collapse, which was the biggest in the history of Division I-A postseason football, directly led to the firing of head coach Glen Mason. On January 17, 2007, Tim Brewster was officially announced as the next head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
In 1981, the Gophers played their last game in Memorial Stadium and played their home games in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome until 2008. The Gophers moved back to campus with a 20-13 win against Air Force on September 12, 2009, when their new home, TCF Bank Stadium, opened.
In 2010, after a 1-6 record to start the season, the Gophers football head coach Tim Brewster was fired. Jeff Horton served as the interim head coach going 2-3. On December 6, 2010, Jerry Kill, former Northern Illinois University head coach, was hired to take over the University of Minnesota football program.
In 2014, The Gophers reached an 8-4 record while going 5-3 in Big Ten games, falling just short of making the Big Ten Championship Game by losing to The Wisconsin Badgers in the season finale. After being revitalized in the Big Ten contention, The Gophers were awarded an appearance in the Citrus Bowl on January 1 against Missouri.
The NCAA itself does not award a championship for Division I-A/FBS football. A number of different organizations and publications designate a national champion. The following are the seven national championships that Minnesota recognizes.
|1904||Henry L. Williams||Billingsley||13–0|
|1934||Bernie Bierman||Billingsley, Boand, Dickinson, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation||8–0|
|1935||Bernie Bierman||Billingsley, Boand, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling||8–0|
|1936||Bernie Bierman||AP, Billingsley, Dickinson, Dunkel, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling||7–1|
|1940||Bernie Bierman||AP, Berryman, Billingsley, Boand, DeVold, Dickinson, Football Research, Houlgate, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation||8–0|
|1941||Bernie Bierman||AP, Billingsley, Boand, DeVold, Dunkel, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling||8–0|
|1960||Murray Warmath||AP, FB News, NFF, UPI||8–2||L Rose Bowl|
Minnesota has won 18 conference championships, 11 shared and seven outright.
† denotes co-champions
TCF Bank Stadium
TCF Bank Stadium is the football stadium for the Minnesota Golden Gophers college football team at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 52,525-seat on-campus "horseshoe" style stadium is designed to support future expansion to seat up to 80,000 people, and cost $303.3 million to build. The stadium was the temporary home of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League for the 2014 and 2015 seasons while U.S. Bank Stadium was being built.
Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex
The complex houses the team administrative offices, locker room, meeting rooms, equipment room, training room, and players’ lounges. It is named after Gopher teammates from the 1920s, George Gibson and Bronko Nagurski.
|1884–1885||No games played||2|
|1886–1888||Frederick S. Jones||3||3–3||.500|
|1889||Al McCord, D. W. McCord, Frank Heffelfinger, Billy Morse||1||3–1||.750|
|1894||Tom Cochrane Jr.||1||3–1||.750|
|1899||John Harrison, William C. Leary||1||6–3–2||.636|
|1900–1921||Henry L. Williams||22||136–33–11||.786|
|1922–1924||William H. Spaulding||3||11–7–4||.591|
|1932–1941, 1945–1950||Bernie Bierman||16||93–35–6||.716|
|2017–Present||P. J. Fleck||1||5–7||.417|
Minnesota has played in 19 bowl games, garnering a record of 7–12.
|1960||Murray Warmath||Rose Bowl||Washington||L 7–17|
|1961||Murray Warmath||Rose Bowl||UCLA||W 21–3|
|1977||Cal Stoll||Hall of Fame Classic||Maryland||L 6–21|
|1985||John Gutekunst||Independence Bowl||Clemson||W 20–13|
|1986||John Gutekunst||Liberty Bowl||Tennessee||L 14–21|
|1999||Glen Mason||Sun Bowl||Oregon||L 20–24|
|2000||Glen Mason||MicronPC.com Bowl||NC State||L 30–38|
|2002||Glen Mason||Music City Bowl||Arkansas||W 29–14|
|2003||Glen Mason||Sun Bowl||Oregon||W 31–30|
|2004||Glen Mason||Music City Bowl||Alabama||W 20–16|
|2005||Glen Mason||Music City Bowl||Virginia||L 31–34|
|2006||Glen Mason||Insight Bowl||Texas Tech||L 41–44|
|2008||Tim Brewster||Insight Bowl||Kansas||L 21–42|
|2009||Tim Brewster||Insight Bowl||Iowa State||L 13–14|
|2012||Jerry Kill||Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas||Texas Tech||L 31–34|
|2013||Jerry Kill||Texas Bowl||Syracuse||L 17–21|
|2014||Jerry Kill||Citrus Bowl||Missouri||L 17–33|
|2015||Tracy Claeys||Quick Lane Bowl||Central Michigan||W 21–14|
|2016||Tracy Claeys||Holiday Bowl||Washington State||W 17–12|
Rivalries / trophy games
- Trophy: Paul Bunyan's Axe, Rival: Wisconsin Badgers, a Big Ten West Division Border Rivalry played since 1890 a total of 124 games played.
- Trophy: Floyd of Rosedale, Rival: Iowa Hawkeyes, a Big Ten West Division Border Rivalry played since 1894 a total of 108 games played.
- Trophy:Little Brown Jug, Rival: Michigan Wolverines, an Inter-Division Big Ten played since 1902 a total of 101 games played.
- Trophy: Governor's Victory Bell, Rival: Penn State Nittany Lions, an Inter-Division Big Ten played since 1993 a total of 13 games played.
- Trophy: *$5-Bits-O-Broken-Chair Trophy , Rival: Nebraska Cornhuskers, a Big Ten West Division Rivalry played since 1900 a total of 55 games played.
Individual award winners
|No.||Player||Position||Career||Date of Retirement|
|10||Paul Giel||Tailback||1951–53||September 24, 1991|
|15||Sandy Stephens||QB||1959–61||November 18, 2000|
|54||Bruce Smith||RB||1940–41||June 27, 1977|
|72||Bronko Nagurski||FB/T||1927–29||October 27, 1979|
|78||Bobby Bell||LB/DE||1960–62||September 18, 2010|
Big Ten Conference
College Football Hall of Famers
|Bernie Bierman||Head Coach||1955||1932-1941
|Fritz Crisler||Head Coach||1954||1930–1931|
|Lou Holtz||Head Coach||2008||1984–1985|
|Bronko Nagurski||T, FB||1951||1927–1929|
|Leo Nomellini||T, G||1977||1946–1949|
|Henry L. Williams||Head Coach||1951||1900–1921|
Pro Football Hall of Famers
Inductees as of 2017.(p172)
|Bobby Bell||DE, LB||1983||Kansas City Chiefs, 1963–1974|
|Tony Dungy||Head Coach||2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1996-2001
Indianapolis Colts, 2002-2008
|Carl Eller||DE||2004||Minnesota Vikings, 1964-1978
Seattle Seahawks, 1979
|Bud Grant||Head Coach||1994||Minnesota Vikings, 1967–1983, 1985|
|Bronko Nagurski||FB||1963||Chicago Bears 1930–1937, 1943|
|Leo Nomellini||DT||1969||San Francisco 49ers 1950-1963|
|Charlie Sanders||TE||2007||Detroit Lions 1968-1977|
Canadian Football Hall of Fame
|Tom Brown||DL||1984||BC Lions, 1961–1967|
|1983||Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 1953–1966|
Current professional players
|Golden Gophers in the NFL|
|NFL Draft selections|
|Hall of Famers:||6|
|Player||Position(s)||Draft Class||Current Team|
|Briean Boddy-Calhoun||S||Undrafted in 2016||Cleveland Browns|
|De'Vondre Campbell||LB||2016||Atlanta Falcons|
|Eric Decker||WR||2010||Tennessee Titans|
|MarQueis Gray||TE||Undrafted in 2013||Miami Dolphins|
|Eric Murray||CB||2016||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Jalen Myrick||CB||2017||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Marcus Sherels||CB/KR||Undrafted in 2010||Minnesota Vikings|
|Damarius Travis||S||Undrafted in 2017||New England Patriots|
|Maxx Williams||TE||2015||Baltimore Ravens|
|Damien Wilson||LB||2015||Dallas Cowboys|
- Simoni Lawrence - Linebacker, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
- Drew Wolitarsky - Wide Receiver, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Other notable coaches and players
- Marion Barber Jr. - Retired NFL Running Back
- Phil Bengtson - Retired NFL Head Coach
- Rene Capo - Olympic judoka
- Gino Cappelletti - All-time AFL scoring leader
- Gil Dobie - Won two national championships as head coach of the Cornell Big Red football team
- Tony Dungy - Retired NFL Head Coach
- Verne Gagne - Professional wrestler; founder AWA
- Tony Levine - Head coach of the Houston Cougars football team
- Len Levy - American football player and professional wrestler
- Chip Lohmiller - Retired NFL Kicker
- Karl Mecklenburg - Retired NFL Linebacker
- Cory Sauter - Retired NFL Quarterback
- Darrell Thompson - Retired NFL Running Back, current Gopher football radio announcer
- Rick Upchurch - Retired NFL Wide Receiver
- DeWayne Walker - Current defensive backs coach Jacksonville Jaguars
- Murray Warmath - Last head coach to lead Minnesota to the Rose Bowl and National Championship
- Bud Wilkinson - Won three national championships as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners football team
- Norries Wilson - Head Coach, Columbia Lions football team, first African American head football coach in the Ivy League
- Wayne Robinson Retired NFL linebacker, CFL and NFL coach
Big Ten West-division opponents
Minnesota plays the other six Big Ten West opponents once per season.
|Even Numbered Years||Odd Number Years|
|vs Iowa||at Iowa|
|at Wisconsin||vs Wisconsin|
|at Nebraska||vs Nebraska|
|vs Northwestern||at Northwestern|
|at Illinois||vs Illinois|
|vs Purdue||at Purdue|
Big Ten East-division opponents
|Year||Indiana||Maryland||Michigan||Michigan State||Ohio State||Penn State||Rutgers|
Announced schedules as of January 16, 2017
|vs Buffalo||vs New Mexico State||vs South Dakota State||vs New Mexico State||at Colorado||vs Colorado||at BYU||vs Mississippi State||at Mississippi State|
|at Oregon State||vs Fresno State||at Fresno State||vs Miami (OH)|
|vs Middle Tennessee||vs Miami (OH)||vs Georgia Southern||vs BYU|
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