MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota has fired Gophers head football coach Tracy Claeys.
Claeys met with athletic director Mark Coyle on Tuesday. KARE 11's Dave Schwartz caught up with Claeys as he left the Gophers football complex Tuesday afternoon. There, Claeys answered the same way to all questions, "Enjoy the winter."
Tracy Claeys just left football complex. Just kept repeating same answer to all questions:
"Enjoy the winter."— Dave Schwartz (@Dave_Schwartz) January 3, 2017
Claeys was embattled with the recent suspension of 10 players accused of participating in a sexual assault last September. Petitions both for and against his ouster were started in recent days.
Players threatened to boycott the Holiday Bowl just a week before the game, but ultimately decided against it. Claeys later tweeted in support of his players adding the players weren't condoning sexual assault or harassment but believed their suspended teammates were denied due process.
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
"Coach Claeys’ Tweet later that week was not helpful. I accept that Coach Claeys intended it to support the boycotting players. Understandably others did not see it that way," Coyle said in a statement Tuesday.
In late November, Coyle said Claeys had his "full support." On Tuesday, Coyle said he needed to address "challenges in recruiting, ticket sales and the culture of the program."
Current and former players, as well as fans, used social media to react to Claeys' firing.
How can someone makes such an idiotic decision...— Carter Coughlin (@Cmoe34) January 3, 2017
Really Make it hard to be a proud Alum sometimes! Claeys waz a great coach and did a damn good job this year!— MarQueis Gray (@MarQueisG) January 3, 2017
I support Tracy Claeys and His coaching staff.— Darrell Thompson (@DThompsonMN) January 3, 2017
Claeys was named head coach on Nov. 11, 2015. He succeeded Jerry Kill, who resigned a month before due to health reasons.
The Gophers went 9-4 capping the season with a Holiday Bowl win against Washington State.