15-30 overall, 6-21 in the conference, 0-2 in bowl games. That might not even have been the worst of it. I think three offensive coordinators, three different offensive schemes, losses to North Dakota State, South Dakota, Northern Illinois, Florida Atlantic, and Bowling Green were the biggest issues. That and the perception (and reality) that the program hadn't just stagnated but was actively moving backwards. And now, as of Sunday morning, Tim Brewster is no longer coach of the Minnesota Gophers.
When Glen Mason was let go I was in favor of it. I thought he had taken the program as far as he was going to, and although it wasn't terrible it was completely mediocre and you knew exactly what you were going to get: a 4-0 non-conference record, a slightly below .500 Big Ten record, and a lower tier bowl berth. Not a failure or a bad year, but it became clear that was Mason's ceiling and a new coach was needed to take the next step in turning the Gophers into a viable Big Ten football program. Enter Brewster.
He said all the right things and certainly brought enthusiasm, energy, and positivity to the job - unfortunately those traits rank significantly below things like recruiting, team management, and game coaching on the ladder of job traits one should have to be a successful college football head coach. I was a bit leery of the fact that he had never been a head coach, and was, in fact, a tight ends coach in the NFL, but we were assured that he could recruit, and to me that was the most important thing. And then, well, he didn't. Not really. He brought in some nice players, but nothing remotely program changing, and seeing as how he couldn't coach his players up, and may have in fact coached them down at times, it was pretty clearly not working and was time to make a change.
Sadly, I think part of the reason he was let go in mid-season was because Maturi was starting to feel the heat and people were starting to question his ability to do his job. Since people always need a scapegoat, it was easy to let Brewster go, nobody outside of Sid would object, and take the heat off of him. For now.
It's up to Maturi to make the next hiring, and he's stated that they are looking for a "Tubby Smith." I won't speculate on who that could be, but here is a list of 30 possibilities - although more like 29 since he has Tony Dungy on there. I think they need to go one of two ways: either an experienced coach who may be looking for a change (the Tubby Smith route) or a young, up-and-comer who has had success at a smaller school/smaller conference. Either way, it needs to be somebody who has shown he can coach and shown he can win. With TCF Bank Stadium now in play the old fallback of "we can't compete without a stadium on campus" has been eliminated. There are no more excuses, and I'm sick of getting rolled by our biggest rivals (Brewster was 0-7 vs. Wisconsin and Iowa).
In any case it should be fun to follow the rumors and see how it all shakes out. Hopefully if we're shocked, it's more like the Tubby Smith kind of shocked ("Holy Shit! They hired Tubby Smith!") rather than the Tim Brewster kind of shocked ("They hired a TE coach with no real experience?").