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Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson Open To Gophers Athletic Director Position

It's been about a week since Joel Maturi announced that he'd be retiring as the athletics director for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, effective June 30, but there hasn't been much said about potential replacements and, really, not much out there in the public about what Minnesota is looking for. Well, the Pioneer Press has floated one potential candidate in Craig Thompson.

Thompson is the Mountain West Conference Commissioner and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1978. At least four members of his immediate family have degrees from Minnesota, and he's apparently interested in this job. He actually said that he was "open" to discussions about it, but is a lot to consider.

"But there would be a million questions to learn more about the position," he said. "Is there a budget deficit? Is fundraising the issue? Is the focus on rebuilding the football program? Are there academic concerns? Is there a support system to graduate student-athletes? There would be a lot more to know about the needs and wants of the athletic department before you can even think about taking the next step."

He does say some encouraging things about Minnesota football, and it's clear that's something very important to him. He's got memories of Minnesota being a good team, and says there's no reason teams like Iowa and Wisconsin to have surpassed Gophers football, suggesting that the town is great and the school is great, then they can make the athletics great

Thompson has been the commissioner of the American South Conference and the Sun Belt Conference and seems to have very solid credentials. The most important aspect of this potential candidate is probably his passion for the school, however.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.