Brewster Introduced as New Gophers Football Coach

Tim BrewsterThe McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus was an appropriate setting for the introduction of new Gophers football coach Tim Brewster to members of the media on January 17. The Center is on the edge of the site of Memorial Stadium, home of the Gophers from 1924 to 1981, and the press conference was held beneath the rebuilt processional arch from the stadium.

Brewster himself was dressed fittingly—a Minnesota lapel pin and a regimental tie with maroon and gold—as he listed to athletic director Joel Maturi say, “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the storied history of Golden Gopher football.” Maturi then introduced Brewster, who told the group that he is “not interested in the rebuilding process” and that his “expectation from Day One is to win the Big Ten championship.”

“We’re going to win the Big Ten championship. We’re going to take the Gopher nation to Pasadena [site of the Rose Bowl].”

Several reporters asked Brewster about his seemingly sparse resume, which includes only two years as a head coach, that for a high school team in Lafayette, Louisiana. Brewster spent 17 years as an assistant in college and the last five as a tight-ends coach in National Football League (NFL), first with the San Diego Chargers under Marty Schottenheimer and then with the Denver Broncos under Mike Shanahan.

Brewster said he left the college ranks for the NFL “to get my phD in football.” He added that he was never concerned about whether he was listed as a coordinator or assistant. “I chased knowledge and understanding, not titles,” Brewster said with the remnants of a drawl from his years as an assistant coach under Mack Brown at the University of North Carolina and University of Texas, where his greatest achievement may have been the recruitment of quarterback Vince Young.

Brewster is known as a recruiter and a salesman. “You’re not going to be a great salesman if you don’t have a great product,” he said. “At the U, we’ve got a great product.” He said he intends to sell this program to the people of Minnesota and that he will personally recruit the state for top high-school prospects. “It’s going to be an easy sell for me.”

As a player, Brewster was a tight end and captain of the Illinois team that went to the Rose Bowl following the 1983 season. He was a finalist two years ago for the head coaching job with the Illini and said he was disappointed “at the time” when the job instead went to Ron Zook, adding, “My destiny as a football coach led me here [Minnesota]. I’m a Big Ten man.”

Maturi said he hadn’t heard of Brewster when he and the search committee began looking for a successor to Glen Mason, who was fired after the Gophers blew a 31-point lead and lost to Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl. Several of Brewster’s colleagues contacted Maturi with a recommendation. As a result, Brewster was included in the first set of interviews performed by the search firm. “Then I did my homework,” said Maturi, who said he talked about Brewster with “everyone from NFL head coaches to the groundskeeper at Mile High Stadium [home of the Broncos].”

Brewster will talk to Mason’s assistant coaches and evaluate them as he decides on a new staff. He met with his players for the first time that morning but says he won’t know exactly what the Gophers are capable until spring practice. “I want to do what they do best,” he said.

The 46-year-old Brewster received a five-year contract with an annual base salary of $400,000. His salary may be increased based on performance after an annual review by the athletic director. He will receive $400,000 in supplemental compensation for media and fundraising efforts, community involvement, and endorsements. An additional total sum of $200,000 will be contributed annually by the University of Minnesota to a deferred compensation plan that will vest after five years if Brewster remains at Minnesota that long. Benefits include the use of a vehicle provided by the university.

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