Tracy Claeys won't sit idly by as his name is dragged deeper into the mud.
Though he admits fault in last year's sexual assault case that resulted in players threatening boycott of the Holiday Bowl, he's defending some of his actions, which included an interesting note on a promise from Minnesota athletics director Mark Coyle.
Claeys was Jerry Kill's longtime assistant who took over as full-time coach in 2016 when Kill retired due to health concerns. He signed a one-year contract, went 8-4 in the regular season (after going 2-4 as interim coach in 2015) and appeared to have a good chance at getting another season.
Then came the suspensions and expulsions of multiple players stemming from a sexual assault case, which resulted in Claeys' controversial defense of his players. But before then — in September, after he initially suspended five players for their roles in the incident — he was promised by new athletics director Mark Coyle that he'd keep his job.
"When law enforcement authorities the following month declined to file any charges, the university reinstated those players," Claeys wrote in an op-ed Star Tribune this week. "At the time, I was congratulated by our athletic director for my handling of this issue and promised that I would remain the head football coach in 2017."
Clearly, that changed. Claeys was obliterated in the media for defending his players and fired after the bowl victory.
"In light of this new report, are there things I would have done differently? Certainly," Claeys said, referencing a report that said Minnesota handled the situation correctly and blamed "weak leadership" for the players' actions. "First and foremost, I would have remained on campus with my team and coaches rather than attend a Holiday Bowl news conference in San Diego. I’m confident that my presence would have better directed the conversation with our players and that I could have steered them toward something other than a decision to boycott the game."
You can read all of Claeys' comments here.