Hours after stepping down from his post at Syracuse, Mark Coyle was officially introduced Wednesday afternoon as Minnesota's newest athletic director. He plans to start at Minnesota shortly after Memorial Day.
Coyle, 47, worked for the Gophers from 1999 to 2005, where he served as the associate AD of external relations. According to a statement provided by Syracuse, he informed the university he was leaving his position of athletic director for family reasons.
"I regret the timing," said Coyle, when asked what he would say to Syracuse. "That staff welcomed me, they bought in what we were trying to do. And I'm so grateful for them."
Coyle's departure came as a surprise to many of the Orange faithful. He arrived less than a year ago, in June 2015, and even football coach Dino Babers seemed unaware of the move when ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy reached him for comment earlier on Wednesday. "Are you serious?" Babers asked. "No comment."
Coyle takes over for Minnesota's Beth Goetz, who has worked in an interim capacity since August. Goetz took on the position after Norwood Teague resigned amid sexual harassment allegations on Aug. 7.
University president Eric Kaler praised her leadership Wednesday and said he hopes to keep her on staff.
Coyle signed a five-year contract with a reported base salary of $850,000.
"So the question is, 'Why Minnesota?' And it was very simple for me," said an emotional Coyle, who at one point paused to steady himself. "I've been in this a long time. We love this place. ... This is a special place."
Since working at Minnesota in 2005, Coyle has gone on to serve as the deputy athletic director at Kentucky and, from 2011 to 2015, as the Boise State athletic director. He is a native of Iowa.