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Golden Gopher Coaches

Golden Gopher Football Coaches Poll: Cast your vote!

The Golden Gopher Coaching Tradition

Since Dr. Henry L. Williams took over as head coach of
the Gophers in 1900, only two Gopher head coaches have suffered
more losing seasons than winning seasons... a rather remarkable
record, to be sure.

The Gophers have been led into battle by three bonafide
coaching legends- Williams, Bierman, and Warmath. In these
three coaches, Minnesota football enjoyed some of the finest
tutelage the game had ever seen. 

In Williams, the Gophers had one of the game's greatest
innovators and strategists. He did much to define and refine
the sport into the game that we see today. His teams were
almost always a step ahead of the competition, which says 
a lot considering he coached against the likes of Amos Alonzo
Stagg, Robert Zuppke, Pop WArner, Fielding Yost, and others.
He did all this while holding down a full-time medical

In Bierman, the Gophers had a stern precisionist who 
demanded perfection, a state that was often achieved 
through merciless repetition in practice. However, he
could pull a surprise or two, especially when deviating
from the single-wing ofense. His buck-lateral series 
and trick plays often were set up by the wearing-down of
an opponent by the single-wing.

Murray Warmath was a complete unknown when he came from
the Deep South to coach the Gophers. His greatest 
contribution to Minnesota Football was that he had the
courage to recruit nationally, especially in the Deep
South itself. His teams were extremely sound fundamentally
and he became one of football's most respected mentors.

Besides these three, the Gophers have had many good coaches
whose tenures and/or accomplishments were not quite as
noteworthy but were important nonetheless. Each had
something unique that he brought to the program, and each
in some way contributed to the Minnesota football tradition.

One aspect of the Minnesota coaching tradition that is not
to be overlooked is the amazing record of former Gopher 
players who went on to coaching success themselves.
With the possible exceptions of Miami of Ohio and Yale,
no college football program has turned out more successful
coaches than has Minnesota.

On the major college level, Gopher alums include the likes
of Bierman, Bud Wilkinson, Biggie Munn, Clark Shaughnessy,
Milton Bruhn, and Gil Dobie. On the smaller college level,
Dwight Reed, Joe Salem, and Jimmy Malosky each coached with
tremendous distinction, while others like Bud Grant, Tony
Dungy, and Phil Bengston made their mark on the pro level.

Still, many others also held down significant head coaching
positions. These include the likes of Gopher coaches Cal
Stoll and George Hauser, John Roning, Earl Martineau, 
Ray Eklund, Fred Enke, Ossie Solem, and Ted Cox. 

The great Minnesota-bred assistant coaches span the decades,
from Sig Harris to Butch Nash to Marc Trestman and beyond.
Truly, Minnesota's historic contribution to football coaching
has played a major role in shaping the sport itself.