03.24.06

Throwing Dan Monson Down The Gopher Hole

Posted in Basketball at 2:45 pm by

High graduation rates be damned, University Of Minnesota hoops fans aren’t happy that Dan Monson (above) is keeping his head coaching job, writes the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda and Mary Jane Smetank.

Scott Swanson’s view is different. It started more than 10 years ago, with obstructed-view season tickets in the top row of Williams Arena, where he needed to bend low to see the overhead scoreboard.

He waited three years for those seats, and over the years has moved up to seats where he can nearly see the entire court if he leans a bit.

The Edina resident is uncertain what he’ll decide when the $1,100 bill for two tickets arrives this summer, tickets he has trouble giving away when he can’t use them.

“I was ready for a change,” said Swanson, who works for Best Buy’s financial department. “I’ve enjoyed the games less and less. I might have a hard time convincing my wife it’s something I should be doing.”

Swanson is among a group of opinionated season-ticket holders and fans disenchanted with the decision made about a team that has played one NCAA tournament game in Monson’s seven seasons and attracted only 2,600 fans to a NIT game at Williams Arena last week.

Longtime season-ticket holder Dave Newman called recent events symptomatic of university mismanagement that extends beyond men’s basketball.

“The whole handling of it indicates bigger problems,” said Newman, who said he once sung the Minnesota Rouser rather than lullabies to his now college-aged son. “It’s like the Keystone Kops all over again. I don’t see why we’re not able to compete. I don’t believe we have to cheat to win.”

Burnsville resident Denis Schweitzer said the school’s “being content with mediocrity” makes it “harder every year” for him to renew his Gophers football and men’s basketball season tickets.

“You look at Indiana’s season and [coach] Mike Davis loses his job,” Schweitzer said. “And he has done a lot more there in his career than [Monson]. I don’t understand that. This here is unacceptable.”

Swanson posts opinions on GopherHole.com, a website that asked its participants Thursday the best response to the term, “I’m not going to go there,” which is what Maturi told a reporter Tuesday when asked about reports that Monson would not be back.

The choices:

A. Response from Joel Maturi when asked to verify if Coach Monson is leaving.

B. Response from recruit asked if he’s going to Minnesota.

C. Response from fan asked to buy a ticket to Williams Arena.

“I was celebrating quite a bit,” Swanson said when he heard Monson wouldn’t be back. “I’m still kind of hoping something happens there.”

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