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Fishing Fling: Gopher coach to speak at Brainerd Elks event

Tracy Claeys 2014-present: Minnesota associate head coach 2011-present: Minnesota defensive coordinator College: 1994 graduate Kansas State High School: 1987 graduate Clay Center (Kan.) Community Birthplace: Clay Center, Kan. Age: 46 University o...

Tracy Claeys

2014-present: Minnesota associate head coach

2011-present: Minnesota defensive coordinator

College: 1994 graduate Kansas State

High School: 1987 graduate Clay Center (Kan.) Community

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Birthplace: Clay Center, Kan.

Age: 46

University of Minnesota associate head coach Tracy Claeys will be the featured speaker April 29 at the Brainerd Elks Fishing Fling at the Brainerd National Guard Armory, 1115 Wright, St., Brainerd.

Tickets are $60 and are available from Brainerd Elks members or by calling the Elks Lodge at 218-829-2643 after 3 p.m. Only 250 tickets will be sold.

Social hour begins at 5 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and the program with prizes at 8 p.m. The meal is your choice of prime rib or chicken oscar.

All proceeds benefit the Elks Youth Activities Fund which provides scholarships to area high school students and supports the state Elks Youth Camp on Pelican Lake.

Prizes include a trip for four to Voyageur Lodge on Crane Lake, an aluminum utility trailer from Brainerd Recreation Supply, $500 gift certificate to Cub Foods, Gopher football weekend including lodging, Spirit Spas Fountain of Youth certificates, guided fishing trip with Glen Belgum, plus rods, reels, tackle boxes, framed prints, coolers, sports equipment and more.

Claeys has been the Gophers' defensive coordinator since head coach Jerry Kill's arrival in December of 2010 and has helped transform Minnesota's defense. Minnesota allowed 380 points in 2011 and 321 points in 2012.

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In 2013, the Gophers allowed only 289 points, the first time Minnesota went an entire season not allowing 300 points since 2004. The Gophers ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 25th in the nation allowing only 22.2 points a game.

Last season, Minnesota allowed 314 points (24.2 per game) to rank sixth in the Big Ten and tied for 33rd nationally. Claeys has been nominated for the Frank Broyles Award (top college assistant coach) in each of the past two seasons.

In each of the past two years, Claeys has coached four first-team All-Big Ten selections. Damien Wilson and Briean Boddy-Calhoun were honored in 2014, and NFL draft picks Ra'Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen were honored last year. Hageman and Vereen were the first Gopher defensive players to be recognized by the conference since 2008, and they were the first Gophers to be drafted since 2010.

Claeys started his coaching career at Santa Fe Trail High School in 1994. He joined Kill in 1995 at Saginaw Valley State, where he coached the defensive line. Claeys became Kill's defensive coordinator at Emporia State in 1999. He remained in that capacity when Kill took over at Southern Illinois in 2001 and Northern Illinois in 2008 before moving with Kill to Minnesota.

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