Claeys fires two assistant coaches one day after Gophers season ends


Minnesota Gopher football coach Tracy Claeys wasted no time remaking his coaching staff, firing offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski one day after the Gophers ended their season with a 31-21 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Claeys told the team at a Sunday evening meeting, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“Matt and Jim are both terrific people and coaches, but I have decided to make a change that will better fit my offensive philosophy, which is to have one coordinator calling the plays,” said Claeys in a statement released by the university. “They have been great representatives for the university and always put our student-athletes first, and I thank them for their contributions to our program and wish them well in the future.”

Claeys was named head coach just a few weeks ago, after Jerry Kill resigned due to health reasons.

The move signals a breakup of the coaching staff that has been together with Kill for years.

Limegrover and Claeys have been on the same sidelines since 1999, when they both coached for Kill at Emporia State in Kansas. Zebrowski joined the group in 2010 at Northern Illinois, and they all moved to Minnesota together with Kill in 2011, the Star Tribune notes.

Limegrover spoke briefly to the Star Tribune Sunday evening, and said he's confident he'll find another coaching job. But he said any move will be hard on his family, because his wife and children love the Twin Cities.

He also said the coaches who've been together for so long are like brothers, and he'll miss working with them.

Claeys' decision has already led one Gopher recruit to change his mind about attending the school. Tony Poljan, a quarterback out of Michigan, tweeted Sunday evening he's decommitting from Minnesota.

The Gophers' offense has struggled at times this season. It was ranked 103rd out of 127 college football teams in the nation this season with an average of 357.1 yards of offense per game. It was ranked 104th in scoring offense, with an average of 22.6 points per game, the Pioneer Press notes.

The Gophers finished this season with a 5-7 record and they were 2-6 in the Big Ten.

A search to replace Limegrover and Zebrowski will begin immediately.

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