The Minnesota Golden Gophers fired head coach Tracy Claeys on Tuesday amid sexual assault accusations that led to player suspensions. Claeys went 11-8 in two seasons with Minnesota.
Tracy Claeys told his Minnesota players roughly two weeks ago that his support of their boycott could cost him his job.
Turns out he was right.
The school confirmed on Tuesday that it has fired Claeys after two seasons. The dismissal comes six days after athletic director Mark Coyle released a statement saying that he would evaluate Claeys after the season.
Minnesota finished 9-4 this season after stunning Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. That victory, though, came with 10 players being suspended following a school investigation into an alleged sexual assault incident. The team originally planned to boycott the bowl game, but players ultimately backed off their stance.
After the players informed Claeys of the boycott, he sent out a tweet supporting them despite the seriousness of the allegations.
Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world! 〽️????
— GoldenGopherHFC (@GoldenGopherHFC) December 16, 2016
The tweet prompted a backlash from the public, and Claeys told the Gophers in a team meeting that his support could wind up costing him his job. Coyle said in November that Claeys would be back next season despite the sexual assault investigation that stemmed from an incident after Minnesota’s win over Oregon State. He had a change of heart, though, following the issues that arose from Claeys’ outward support of the boycott last month.
Claeys served as Minnesota’s defensive coordinator under previous coach Jerry Kill, resigned due to health concerns. Claeys was given the full-time job prior to last season and went 11-8, including wins in both bowl games.
Speculation now begins about Claeys’ replacement, with names such as Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck and former LSU coach Les Miles surfacing in reports.