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It's official: Gophers introduce Mark Coyle as new athletics director

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It's official: Mark Coyle is the next director of athletics at the University of Minnesota.

U of M President Eric Kaler announced the hire, which is pending approval by the University's Board of Regents, Wednesday afternoon.

Kaler called Coyle an "ideal candidate to lead Gopher athletics into the future," citing his "leadership credentials" at other major athletic departments.

Coyle, who's leaving his AD position at Syracuse, is replacing interim athletics director Beth Goetz. She took over for Norwood Teague last year after he was ousted following accusations of sexual harassment toward female employees.

Coyle's five-year contract includes a base salary of $850,000, the release says. That's roughly double what Teague was making, the Star Tribune reports.

Homecoming for Coyle

Coyle, 47, was Minnesota's Associate Athletic Director for External Relations from 2001-2005. In that job, he was the person in charge of marketing, sales, athletic communications, and other duties, Kaler said in his announcement.

He moved on to become the athletics director at Boise State before advancing to the University of Kentucky as deputy athletics director.

Coyle said he's "honored" to be returning to the U of M.

“This is a tremendous athletics department made up of talented student-athletes and accomplished coaches. I loved my time in Gopher Athletics during an earlier part of my career and I look forward to leading the athletic programs of this great University," Coyle said in the release.

Coyle surprised Syracuse

Kaler confirmed Coyle was the university's next AD hours after he was named the one and only finalist.

Coyle had already told Syracuse he was leaving when he went to the U's campus Wednesday for interviews. Here's the statement from the school, released shortly after he was named a finalist:

According to, Coyle's decision to leave Syracuse – a job that he took just 11 months ago – was a major surprise.

"I would say it's a surprise," Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim said. "I really liked Mark Coyle. I thought he was really good. Thought he had a good grip on everything in a relatively short period of time. It's shocking. I like him a lot and I thought he was doing great."

Syracuse football coach Dino Babers was also caught off guard, according to ESPN.

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