AD at center of Minnesota lawsuit to retire

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MINNEAPOLIS - Joel Maturi, the athletic director at Minnesota who is at the center of a sexual-discrimination lawsuit filed by former Gophers women’s golf coach Katie Brenny, is retiring.

Maturi, who has been the head of Minnesota athletics for 10 years, is leaving at the end of his contract, effective June 30, he said during a news conference Thursday. He will remain at the university as a special assistant to raise money for athletic needs, possibly teach and help his successor ease into the job.

Maturi, who turns 67 on Feb. 11, was a central figure in a college golf dispute that surfaced in late 2010. Brenny, a Minnesota native who played at Wake Forest, was hired by then-director of golf John Harris. Brenny resigned in November 2010 because, she claims in the lawsuit, that Harris, upon finding out that Brenny is a lesbian, relegated her role to administrative tasks and would not allow her to travel with the women’s team. Harris has denied the allegations. He resigned in June, citing a desire to pursue family interests.

Brenny, who works with The First Tee of Metropolitan New York, would not comment when contacted by Golfweek. She referred questions to her attorney, Don Mark of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Mark said that a Court of Appeals hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23 and, pending the outcome, a trial date in Hennepin County District Court could be assigned.

“My hope is we’ll see a trial before the end of the year,” Mark said.

Harris, 59, is a legendary figure in Minnesota sports. He was the leading scorer on the Gophers’ 1974 NCAA hockey champions, and that spring won the Big Ten golf medal. He was a four-time State Amateur champion and won five State Mid-Amateurs. At age 41, Harris won the 1993 U.S. Amateur. He recently has played on the Champions Tour.

Brenny, 31, a native of Little Falls, Minn., came to Minnesota after spending time as an assistant club professional at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort. She played professionally on the Duramed Futures Tour and on the Women’s Canadian Tour. Like Harris, she also was a celebrated local sports figure after winning the 1998 Minnesota high school championship and the 2007 State Amateur.

She returned home last weekend to be inducted into the Little Falls High School Sports Hall of Fame.

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