MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (02/02/2012) —After a decade of successfully leading University of Minnesota athletics, Joel Maturi is retiring as the Golden Gophers’ director of athletics. Maturi will step down at the end of his current contract, which expires June 30.
For the following year, Maturi will remain a member of the University community, assisting with course development and teaching classes in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Kinesiology, helping the University with fund raising and working on special projects assigned by the president.
“Joel’s legacy as the Gophers athletics director will be a lasting and shining one," said University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. “Personal integrity, a remarkable record of NCAA and Big Ten compliance, increased academic excellence by our student athletes, a deep commitment to gender equity, business and operational acumen and overall athletic success have been among Joel’s hallmarks.”
Maturi said: “It has been a wonderful journey for me here at Minnesota. To cheer for thousands of student athletes, and watch them mature and graduate, has made these 10 years fly by. I look forward to my next adventure both at the University of Minnesota and beyond.”
Throughout his tenure, Maturi’s priority has been to make sure student athletes received an education and earned their degrees. Secondly, he worked tirelessly to make sure they had a meaningful and positive athletic experience. And finally, that the affairs of Gopher athletics would be conducted with integrity, candor and compliance.
During his 10 years of service to the University, Maturi oversaw the difficult merger of the men’s and women’s athletic departments, the grueling fund raising and construction of TCF Bank Stadium, and men’s and women’s hockey and wrestling national championship titles.
Golden Gopher athletes have won more than 40 Big Ten or WCHA championships during Maturi’s tenure.
Most importantly, Gopher athletics has not committed any major Big Ten or NCAA infractions under his leadership. In addition, the Athletics Department’s graduation success rate, as indexed by the NCAA, has steadily improved.
In 2011, 255 Gopher athletes were honored as Academic All-Big Ten, and more than 1,200 have received this honor in the past five years.
“History will show that Joel thoughtfully and sensitively tackled the merger of our men’s and women’s departments, which was an especially challenging and delicate task,” said Kaler.
“Under Joel’s leadership, our athletics budget was balanced, football returned to campus, fund raising for facilities and scholarships has grown, and Gopher sports – unlike so many other big-time athletics programs – has proudly upheld a culture of compliance and academic excellence.”
Maturi said: “I am very proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure with the Gophers. Like all Gopher fans, I appreciate all of our victories on the field. But I am equally proud of what we have accomplished off the field. We have worked hard to develop a culture of compliance, diversity, equity and fiscal responsibility.”
After leaving the Athletics Department, Maturi’s salary will be paid by the University with funds provided by the University of Minnesota Foundation.
The University will form a selection committee and begin an inclusive national search for the next director of athletics that seeks input from a variety of stakeholders. Kaler said he hopes to have a new director in place by July 1.