Tracy Claeys has been fired at Minnesota, according to WCCO Sports Director Mark Rosen.
Rosen first reported the surprise move moments ago on Twitter.
We have learned that Tracy Claeys has been fired as head coach of the Gophers
— Mark Rosen (@WCCORosen) January 3, 2017
BREAKING: #Gophers head football coach Tracy Claeys has been fired from the University of Minnesota. Updates to follow.
— Minnesota Daily (@mndailynews) January 3, 2017
Claeys took over the Minnesota program in 2015, stepping in for Jerry Kill, who left the program due to health concerns. He is 11-8 as Gophers head coach, and went 9-4 this season, his first full year at the helm of the program. He led the Gophers to wins in the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl, and the 2016 Holiday Bowl this season, knocking off Washington State.
While Claeys’ success on the field likely didn’t cost him his job, assuming reports are true, his response to the sexual assault scandal, and consequent short-lived player boycott, that hit the program late in the season could be a major reason for the surprising dismissal. 10 Gopher players were suspended for the bowl game, five of whom face possible expulsion from the school. On December 15, Claeys sent a tweet in support of the player boycott.
Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world! 〽️?
— GoldenGopherHFC (@GoldenGopherHFC) December 16, 2016
Last week, athletic director Mark Coyle, who took the job after a brief stint at Syracuse after Claeys had already been hired, put out a statement about evaluating Claeys following the Holiday Bowl win.
— Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) December 28, 2016
It was definitely an ominous sign following what many considered a successful season on the field.
We’ll update this story as we learn more.