Installment #5 of MOAM's blog series featuring former student managers now achieving success in their professional careers.
Professional: Joel Maturi
Current Title: Adjunct Professor, Department of Kinesiology – University of Minnesota
Former Athletics Director – University of Minnesota
Student Manager Experience: University of Notre Dame Football
Career Notes: Joel Maturi is an example of a success story of a young boy from a small town in Minnesota that dreamed of a career in athletics. Joel graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. While attending Notre Dame, Joel was a student trainer/manager for the Irish Football Program. During the 1966 season, Joel was able to be a part of Coach Ara Parseghian’s first National Championship football team.
Following his time at Notre Dame, Joel started his career in athletics as a coach and teacher at Madison Edgewood High School in Madison, WI. For 19 years (1968-1987) Joel coached track and field, baseball, football and basketball, and he wound up taking his teams to 10 state tournaments. During his time at Edgewood, Joel served as their Director of Athletics, Dean of Students, and Associate Principal. In 1992, Joel was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Joel completed the credits required for a Master of Arts degree in Teaching from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and he earned a Master’s in Educational Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. After his time at Edgewood, Joel moved to the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the position of Assistant Athletics Director in charge of Events and Facilities and manned that position from 1987 until 1996. Eventually Joel was promoted to Associate Athletics Director and he became Wisconsin’s first compliance coordinator. As the Associate AD, Joel oversaw the football, hockey, wrestling, softball, cross country, rowing and track and field programs as well as the Office of Academic Affairs and Athletic Medicine. Thanks to his work at Wisconsin and with the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer), Joel was named the Wisconsin Sports Person of the Year in 1993.
University of Denver was Joel’s next stop where he held the position of Athletics Director from 1996-1998. One of the main reasons Joel will be remembered at Denver is because he took the Pioneers from Division II to Division I. After his short stay at Denver, Joel took over as the Athletics Director at the University of Miami-Ohio. He was the AD there from 1998-2002 where he oversaw 19 sports and 600 student-athletes.
July 12, 2002 was the day that Joel was able to come home and become the University of Minnesota’s first Director of Athletics to oversee both the Men’s and the Women’s Athletic Programs. For ten years (2002-2012), Joel was at the forefront of Gopher Athletics. Joel will always be credited with merging the Men’s and Women’s Athletic Departments into one department, as well as bringing football back to campus by helping to get the new TCF Bank stadium built. Minnesota athletic teams won four National Championships and 42 conference championships during Joel’s tenure. Thanks to his work with Gopher Athletics, Joel was one of four finalists for recognition as the National Athletics Director of the Year in 2009.
After stepping down as the Director of Athletics at Minnesota in 2012, Joel stayed in the Twin Cities and is now an adjunct professor in the Kinesiology Department of the College of Education and Human Development at Minnesota.
Recently, Managers On A Mission caught up with Joel and was able to ask him a few questions:
1. What advice would you offer to current student managers?
The best advice that I can give is to work hard, network as much as possible, and to enjoy the journey.
2. How did being a manager help you get to where you are today?
Being a Trainer/Manager exposed me to every facet of athletics and prepared me well to coach and be an athletics administrator.
3. What is your biggest takeaway from your experience as a student manager that remains with you to this day?
Coach Ara Parseghian was a great coach and I learned early on to get the right people on the bus and in the right seats. In all that we do you win with people. Everything that I learned helped in coaching and in being an administrator.
4. What was your favorite memory from being a student manager? Why?
I had many good memories from my days as a Student Trainer/Manager but winning the National Championship in Football in 1966 was truly special. That team continues to stay in contact. This is a perfect example of you win with people, and how strong long-lasting relationships can be very beneficial in the long run.
5. Who have been your key influences during your career?
I have been blessed to have many influences, beginning with my parents, brothers and sister. Today it is my wife and children, and now grandchildren. Along the way Bob McDonald, my high school basketball coach, Peck Brown, my high school football coach, Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame, George Chryst and Kathleen O'Connell at Edgewood, OttoBreitenbach, Pat Richter and Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin and President Bob Bruininks and many others here at Minnesota.
To God Be The Glory!