ST. CLOUD -- With new coaches, recruits and the new 'Athlete's Village' being built, it's an exciting time in the world of University of Minnesota Sports.

Gopher Athletic Director Mark Coyle was up in St. Cloud Tuesday discussing a number of things with the Rotary Club.

One of his biggest talking points was long-term strategy in his department. Coyle says the soon to open Athlete's Village will go a long way in ensuring future success.

"[We want to] make sure we're making long-term decisions that will impact our program the right way to make sure we compete academically and athletically and to make sure we're doing it the right way socially... athlete's village will be a big step forward."

He says he's also appreciative of our area's role in that future.

"I've had a chance to be here in Stearns County twice this summer, if you recall when I was hired a big emphasis was for us to re-invest in our fans and have a chance to go out across the state and see people, and while we compete against St. Cloud State in hockey, we're proud of them and really love the fan support we get up here."

Coyle mentioned the importance of the student athletes performing academically as well as or better than they do on the field. To help that, the new Athlete's Village will house an academic center featuring study and tutoring areas, larger classroom space and a brand new technology lab.

When it comes to recruiting, Coyle says their top-priority is "owning the state" in all sports by ensuring our top home-grown athletes stay home to continue their careers and schooling.

Photo: Richard Leguil, WJON