Claeys adds Dan O'Brien to Gophers coaching staff


University of Minnesota head football coach Tracy Claeys continued to shuffle the roster of his coaching staff Monday. Claeys announced the hiring of Dan O'Brien to fill an open coaching position on the defensive side of the ball.

The position was created when Claeys was named the Gophers head coach.

The Winthrop native will begin his new roles of co-special teams coordinator, assistant defensive backs coach and assistant to the head coach immediately.

He has been around the program for years serving as Minnesota's director of football operations from 2008-14 and was most recently a senior associate athletic director for the Gophers with oversight of the football program.

"I tried to get Dan to join the coaching staff the last time we had an opening, but the timing was not right for him and his family," Claeys said Monday in a statement. "Dan has been a head coach, a coordinator and an assistant coach at the collegiate and high school level and nobody knows our state and Minnesota football better than him. He will certainly make us better on the field, but will also help us succeed off the field in fundraising, community engagement and recruiting Minnesota."

The university notes that O'Brien brings longstanding ties with the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. He and Gophers linebacker coach Mike Sherels will recruit the state of Minnesota for the Gophers.

According to 1500 ESPN, before joining Minnesota as an administrator, O'Brien was the athletics director at Hamline in St. Paul. Prior to that he was at Concordia-St. Paul as both the head football coach and A.D.

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