Gophers come to New Ulm

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Mark Coyle speaks to a full Turner Hall, introducing the next coaches to speak during the Gopher Road Trip on Tuesday.

NEW ULM — A crowd of more than 300 filled Turner Hall as the Minnesota Gopher Road Trip stopped in New Ulm Tuesday afternoon.

Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck, basketball coach Richard Pitino and men’s hockey coach Don Lucia were some of the coaches in attendance along with Athletic Director Mark Coyle.

And big attendance by fans has been the norm for the Road Trip.

“We have had big crowds at all of our stops,” said Minnesota Gophers play-by-play broadcaster Mike Grimm who was the Master of Ceremonies. “We set a record for attendance in Rochester. I think that people are excited about what is happening in the athletic department.

“Right now Minnesota is ranked in the Top 10 in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup, which is a formula that ranks all of the teams based on how they do in all of their sports,” Grimm said. “Minnesota has won 11 Big Ten championships in the last 18 months. And the folks here in New Ulm who listened to P.J. [Fleck] had to be excited about what he had to say about the direction of the football program. Basketball has turned it around. There are a lot of good things to look forward to.”

Grimm said that it’s a good time to be a fan of the Gophers.

“There are a lot of reasons to be positive,” Grimm said. “Mark Coyle’s leadership has pushed this into a new direction and a good feeling of pride.”