Listen The background on Tim Brewster (Morning Edition)
Listen U of M taps Brewster as football coach
University of Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi chose recruiting acumen over name recognition for the institution's top revenue-producing sport. Brewster has not held any title higher than his current one since 1997, when he left the University of North Carolina.
Minnesota Associate Athletic Director Tom Wistrcill says Brewster is a fit for the University's desire to have a tight football program that reaches out to fans and establishes ties with up and coming athletes.
"We certainly see incredible potential and a passion for college athletics. He's a great recruiter," Wistrcill says.
The university did not immediately disclose Brewster's pay and other compensation. Previous coach Glen Mason signed a contract through 2010 worth at least $1.6 million a year in salary and benefits, and an additional $750,000 in incentives.
Brewster is already working on next fall's team, according to Wistrcill.
"He starts right away. We got a recruiting class to work on. We have to get with our current group of players. They've started their work for next year. We begin full speed ahead right away."
University officials are clear they want Brewster to do a better job than his predecessor building bridges with athletes in the state and signing them to play at the U of M.
Mason made contacts with the strong high school football farms in Texas, Florida and California, but he was criticized for letting local talent slip away from Minnesota.
Wayzata graduate James Laurinaitis was named the top defensive player in the nation last year as a sophmore at Ohio State University. John Stocco graduated from Holy Angels to go on to starting quarterback acclaim at the University of Wisconsin in his senior year.
Clay Anderson, head football coach at Albert Lea High School and president of the Minnesota High School Football Coaches association, says the university connection to high school sports programs languished in recent years, a fact displayed by the Minnesota talent playing for other teams.
"I know there were 14 guys that played on bowl teams this year. I think number one is just to get as many of those blue chip athletes that are coming out of Minnesota to stay at the University of Minnesota. I think that's really important," Anderson said.
High school football coaches look forward to the expertise provided in annual clinics at universities. But the University of Minnesota coaches clinic declined from more than a 1,000 participants under Coach Lou Holtz to fewer than 200 last year.
Anderson says he doesn't know yet whether Brewster can fix some of those lost connections, but he's optimistic.
"From what I read he's probably a good recruiter, probably something the Gophers need. It sounds like he's a personable guy so I'm excited to meet him and excited about the hire."
Rocky Mountain News sports writer Jeff Legwold has known Brewster for more than 20 years. He calls him an intense leader who was anxious to move into a head coaching position.
"At North Carolina he was recruiting coordinator for a team that went 11-1, which is one of their better teams in recent years. He also recruited many of the players on Texas' national championship team. He left Texas in 2001, but he recruited many of the players on the roster that ended up on that national championship team," says Legwold.
Brewster is credited with helping recruit NFL quarterbacks Chris Simms and Vince Young.
The last head coaching position Brewster held goes back almost 20 years when he led the Lafayette, Indiana Central Catholic High School team. Before his stint with the Denver Broncos, Brewster worked with the San Diego Chargers.
On Wednesday, Brewster appears at the U of M for a news conference to formally announce his hiring.