Glen Mason fired a year too late

On January 1, 2006, University of Minnesota football coach Glen Mason signed a five-year contract worth approximately $1.65 per year. On December 31, 2006, Mason was fired.

Never a charismatic nor particularly amiable coach during his decade-long tenure in Minnesota, Mason did take the Gophers to five straight bowl games. On the other hand, his teams never finished higher than fourth in the rugged Big 10 Conference and the bowls he went to were decidedly minor affairs, including the Insight Bowl this year, where the Gophers blew a 31-point lead to finish with a record of 6-7 and seal Mason's demise. The coach's overall mark of 64-57 was padded with nearly two-dozen games against non-conference patsies. This season, the Gophs were pressed to eke out a one-point win over North Dakota State, a Division I-AA school.

The Mason era saw some of the finest players ever to perform in maroon and gold. In the last three years alone, he coached the running back tandem of Laurence Maroney and Marion Barber III, both now gainfully employed in the NFL. Center Greg Eslinger won the 2005 Outland Trophy, awarded to college football's top interior lineman. And Matt Spaeth captured the John Mackey Award this year as the best tight end in the NCAA. And going back to 1999, Tyrone Carter captured the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in college football. The Gophers' lack of success despite this surfeit of top-flight talent leaves Mason with a checkered legacy.

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