Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—It would be best if Rodney Smith doesn't play at all in the Gophers' spring football game Thursday at TCF Bank Stadium. The durable senior running back is just too important to the team to risk injury.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Marlene Stollings has left her position as the Gophers women’s basketball coach for the same job at Texas Tech, a source confirmed Monday to the Pioneer Press. The U women’s basketball team was notified of the departure April 9, and a team meeting was believed to be schedule for Monday afternoon to discuss the vacancy with Gophers athletics director Mark Coyle and Julie Manning, the U’s executive associate AD/senior women’s advisor.
MINNEAPOLIS — When Jake Krause bench-pressed 225 pounds an impressive 33 times at the Gophers' pro day March 28, it was more reps than 11 former University of Minnesota players managed in front of NFL scouts. And you'd better believe Gophers coach P.J. Fleck took notice. When the unknown 6-foot-3, 305-pound guard backed that up with a vertical jump of 30 inches, the Gophers head coach started asking questions. Where did Krause go to school? Bemidji State, a Division II program. Is he from Minnesota? Yes, Wadena, about 160 miles northwest of Dinkytown.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota United made history Saturday, March 31, in announcing Darwin Quintero as the club's first designated player. The Colombian attacker known as "the scientist"—after his namesake Charles Darwin—will join the club on one of three available "DP" slots that exceeds Major League Soccer's budget constraints. According to mlssoccer.com's league sources, Minnesota purchased Quintero, 30, from Club America of Mexico's Liga MX for a bargain of "around $200,000" and his salary with the Loons "will pay him around $1.5 million a year."
ST. PAUL—The St. Cloud State men's hockey team was upset by Air Force in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., last Friday, March 23. On Saturday, Gophers athletics director Mark Coyle called Huskies AD Heather Weems as she was traveling back home to Minnesota.
MINNEAPOLIS — Darwin Quintero was stopped by soccer fans every few feet for autographs and photos while walking though Mexico City's airport terminal to his departure gate Wednesday, March 29. Nicknamed "the scientist" after his namesake, 19th-century scientist Charles Darwin, the 30-year-old Colombian has built up a strong following in Latin America.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Bob Motzko was a Gophers assistant coach the last time the men's hockey program won national championships, and on Tuesday, he was announced as Minnesota's new head coach. Motzko, of Austin, Minn., succeeds Don Lucia, who stepped down last week after 19 seasons and a pair of national titles, in 2002-03. After his tenure as a U assistant from 2001-05, Motzko built St. Cloud State into a nearly perennial NCAA tournament participant and compiled a 276-192-49 record over 13 seasons.
CHASKA, Minn. -- Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska will become the first U.S. course to host a second Ryder Cup in 2028. The @rydercup’s social media accounts broke news in a 30-second video posted Monday morning. They called on Minnesota’s Olympic gold-medal curling team to make the announcement in a skit replete with golf ties. Curling skip John Schuster, of Chisholm, Minn., sent a stone toward the house, and when it reached the spot, a graphic read, “THE RYDER CUP RETURNS TO MINNESOTA.” The Ryder Cup was hosted at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska in 2016.
Casey Mittelstadt has left the Gophers men’s hockey program after his freshman season to join the Buffalo Sabres. The Eden Prairie native could make his NHL debut Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings. “We’ve signed forward Casey Mittelstadt to a 3-year entry-level contract,’ the Sabres tweeted Monday. “Welcome to Buffalo, @CMittelstadt!”
ST. PAUL — Minnesota United believes it will have a good problem when it opens Allianz Field next spring: more fans than seats. The stadium rising on the corner of Snelling Avenue and Interstate 94 in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood will have a capacity of 19,400, well below the announced crowd of 23,138 the Loons had for the home opener at TCF Bank Stadium on March 17. That capacity also is less than the past seven crowds of more than 20,000 since July.