SARTELL -- Several coaches from the University of Minnesota hung out with fans in Sartell Wednesday afternoon in their final stop of their Gopher Road Tour.

A sea of maroon and gold filled the Grands at Mulligans as sports fans listened to how coaches like Hugh McCutcheon, P.J. Fleck and Richard Pitino plan to build of the success of the 2016 athletic season.

McCutcheon is entering his sixth season as head coach of the Gophers Volleyball team. The team finished in a tie for second place in the Big Ten and were the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. McCutcheon says there is a lot of talent not only in the state but in Central Minnesota.

"There is lots of good volleyball in this area and we do our best to keep tabs on all the talent that's out there. We think it's great to have such a great volleyball heritage at home."


Pitino will be starting his fifth season during the 2017-2018 school year. The 2017 Big Ten Coach of the Year has led the Gophers to a school-record 23 wins and a NCAA appearance as the No. 5 seed, the highest since 1982. Pitino says even with a returning roster, they can't reach those expectations unless everyone gets better.

"Everybody is telling me all the time you have everybody back so you have to be excited. Sure but is everybody going to get better? Am I going to get better? And that's what we are going to harp on."


However what really has Gopher fans buzzing is the new coach of the football team P.J. Fleck. Fleck, who was hired in January, after four years as the coach of Western Michigan has brought a resurgence to the program. Fleck says from the kids to the elderly it's time everyone changes their perception of gopher football.

"Our energy is promise for today, not for this year or next, there is a process to this and I want everyone to celebrate the process."


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