Tracy Claeys sheds interim tag, hired as Minnesota coach
Tracy Claeys wanted his future at Minnesota to be decided by the middle of November.
Well, the university did him one better.
The school announced on Wednesday morning that Claeys will shed the interim tag and be kept on board as the next Minnesota football coach. He agreed to a three-year deal to stay in Minneapolis through the 2018 season.
#Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys, who made $600K as DC, will make $1.3M for remainder of this year and $1.4M next year. Then $1.5M and $1.6M
— Andy Greder (@andygreder) November 11, 2015
Claeys will take over for Jerry Kill, who retired two weeks ago due to his battle with epilepsy. As an assistant for 20 years at five different schools with Kill, Claeys will get to keep the same staff in place at Minnesota.
He maintained his desire for a decision to be made as soon as possible with the critical recruiting season in full swing. Claeys will look to hold down the nation’s 31st-ranked 2016 recruiting class.
Not surprisingly, Kill had voiced his desire for Claeys to be named the permanent coach following his departure. It’ll technically be Claeys’ first head coaching job, but he was 4-3 filling in for Kill as acting head coach during his health-related issues.
The former defensive coordinator of the Gophers was nominated each of the last seasons for the Frank Broyles Award, which is an honor given to the top assistant coach in college football.
Since taking over for Kill two weeks ago, Claeys had the Gophers within a possession of Michigan and Ohio State late in the fourth quarter. He’s still searching for his first win since Kill’s departure, which he’ll try to pick up at Iowa on Saturday.
Here’s what university officials said about the move in an official release.
Interim Athletics Director Beth Goetz
I’ve gotten to know and respect Coach Claeys this past year and watched him work with our student-athletes each and every day. I admire his dedication to their development on the field and in the classroom. Given the improvement of this program, both academically and athletically, and Coach Claeys’ integral leadership role, we have great confidence that he is the right coach to lead this program and our student-athletes.
Head Coach Tracy Claeys
I want to thank President Eric Kaler, Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz, the Board of Regents and the University for believing in me and providing me with this opportunity. The circumstances of the past few weeks have been unpredictable. This certainly is not the way anyone wants to become a head coach. Coach Kill is one of my best friends and I am thankful that he took a chance on me 21 years ago. I am looking forward to continuing what we have built at Minnesota, but will do so in my own way. One thing that won’t change will be our relentless pursuit to field a team that will make the state of Minnesota proud. We have tremendous fans and they deserve a highly competitive football team. Our student-athletes will play smart, tough and accountable football and will be held to the highest standards on and off the field.
President Eric W. Kaler
Tracy Claeys is the right person for this important job. I applaud and fully support Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz’s decision to bring continuity and stability to our football program, which is clearly on an upward trajectory. I have great confidence in Coach Claeys and his staff to recruit talent and excellent student-athletes while building on a strong foundation. But make no mistake, Tracy Claeys is his own man and will bring his own energy and commitment to excellence while embracing Gopher Athletics’ culture of compliance, both on and off the field.