Mark Coyle Named as Possible Candidate for USC AD Job

Photo: Alex Kormann - Star Tribune

Mark Coyle has been the Athletic Director at the University of Minnesota for seven years (hired in May 2016) and his tenure has been exactly what the athletic department needed when he was brought on.


Coyle was hired in the midst of historic turmoil within the University athletic department after then AD, Norwood Teague, was fired for sexually harassing and assaulting female employees and media members, while creating an atmosphere of intimidation under his rule.

Teague resigned from Minnesota last week after the school released transcripts of sexual harassment complaints against him by two non-student female employees. Teague was accused of groping both women at a gathering of school officials and employees and sending sexually explicit text messages to one of them.

The Star Tribune also published a firsthand account of men’s basketball beat reporter Amelia Rayno that alleged Teague sexually harassed her over a period of several months, including groping her at a bar and sending her suggestive text messages in 2013.

Sports Illustrated (Aug, 2015)

Coyle came in and quickly cleaned up the department, which included the firing of then head football coach, Tracy Claeys, and the hiring of current head coach, PJ Fleck; an incredibly controversial swap at the time. Now, Coyle operates one of the tightest and cleanest athletic departments in the country. One focused on academic and personal success, alongside its achievements across the sports it offers.

USC could turn to Mark Coyle for similar clean up job

But now, there is another history-laden maroon and gold athletic department 1,900 miles away that needs the same type of cleanup that took place in Dinkytown over the last half-dozen+ years. The University of Southern California (USC) fired their Athletic Director, Mike Bohn, after he created the same type of toxic atmosphere at USC that Teague had created a decade ago in the U of M.

Bohn made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female colleagues, including remarks about their dress, hair and weight, that staff members said made them feel uncomfortable, according to two USC sources with knowledge of the incidents. They spoke on condition of anonymity fearing retaliation. They said Bohn’s comments left colleagues — especially women — feeling awkward.

Three USC sources said several people confronted Bohn about comments they felt were inappropriate, but the comments continued.

Ryan Kartje – LA Times

So naturally, one of the possible AD candidates they are expected to be interested in (according to’s Chris Trevino) is Mark Coyle. He doesn’t have any ties to USC or history working on the West Coast.

But Coyle is quite familiar with the Big Ten, after seven years at Minnesota, and USC will move into the Big Ten Conference after the 2023-24 athletic season. In addition, USC had interest in Coyle back in 2020, before he received an extension at Minnesota and the Trojans eventually hired Bohn.

Overview: If USC wanted to load up with Big Ten experience going into the new era, Mark Coyle could be the answer. Coyle has led the Gophers athletic department since 2016 with 16 regular-season conference titles, eight conference tournament championships and 17 individual NCAA national championships in that time frame. Coyle also serves as a member of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and is a former member of the Rose Bowl Management Committee. He has no ties to the West Coast with stops at Kentucky, Syracuse and Boise State along his career. In 2020, Coyle was rated the No. 11 athletic director in the nation via Stadium, No. 3 in the Big Ten behind Gene Smith at Ohio State and Wisconsin’s Barry Alverez. 

Chris Trevino –
How much would University of Minnesota miss Mark Coyle?

It’s true that Mark Coyle has done exactly what he was hired to do at the University of Minnesota. The Gophers’ athletic department no longer reeks of Norwood Teague’s arrogance and female employees/media members can do their jobs without being treated like a secretary from “Mad Men“.

Coyle’s tenure in Dinkytown hasn’t been all flowers and rainbows, however. He started off with a bang back in 2017, when he hired PJ Fleck, who has quickly become the most successful coach in modern day Gopher football history.

But Mark’s basketball hires of Lindsay Whalen on the women’s side and Ben Johnson on the men’s side have both ben complete failures. The former has already been fired, the latter has a 10-30 conference record in two seasons and is on his last leg this season.

Still, PJ Fleck and Mark Coyle are partners in crime. USC already has Lincoln Riley as their head coach so I’m not concerned about Fleck following Coyle to the West Coast. It’s important to remember, however, that Coyle is one of the main reasons why PJ has stayed in the Twin Cities for so long. Their visions align perfectly and the two seem to have a very close relationship.

I’m not saying Fleck’s departure would be imminent or guaranteed, should Mark Coyle leave. But his status would be more in flux than if Coyle is here. If USC’s interest in Coyle turns from hypothetical to steamy… we’ll have it covered at

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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