There is a direct line from the top of each sports organization to the manager or coach. Or ... maybe there isn’t. We’ve tried to simplify the power structure of the six major professional sports teams, and the University of Minnesota, on the competition side ... although business and marketing spill over in many cases. Here are the faces and titles for the power structures on the sports decisions for the teams in the Twin Cities.
Zygi Wilf led a group that bought the Vikings in 2005; they were brought in by the NFL because a proposed sale from Red McCombs to Reggie Fowler was blowing up. There have been no complaints about the Wilfs, who made their fortune in real estate development, providing both stability and financial resources for the team to grow. U.S. Bank Stadium opened in 2016, and the Vikings also have a state of the art training facility in Eagan. The team reached the NFC title game after the 2017 season, but has not captured a Super Bowl title in its 59 seasons in Minnesota.
Wilf, 69, and five partners purchased Vikings in 2005 for a reported $600 million.
Brother of Zygi, the 58-year-old runs business departments.
Zygi and Mark’s cousin is president of real estate company.
V.P. of Strategic Planning
Zygi’s son; involved in the team’s business initiatives.
Since being named GM in 2012, Spielman, 57, orchestrated and helped scout Vikings drafts and is in charge of all football operations. Began as the Vikings’ V.P. of Player Personnel in 2006.
Frequent candidate for GM positions around the NFL coordinates pro scouting and assists in college scouting ahead of the annual NFL Draft. Has worked with Spielman in Chicago, Miami and Minnesota.
Executive V.P. of Football Operations
The contract guy. Brzezinski helps lead many of the Vikings’ player negotiations and is responsible for the fine print and salary cap management.
Executive V.P. of Public Affairs
Oversees Vikings’ public and community relations after playing a key role in getting U.S. Bank Stadium built and getting a Super Bowl to Minneapolis.
Zimmer is entering his seventh season as head coach. The 63-year-old has charge of the team’s 22 assistant coaches and plays a key role in player personnel.
The Minneapolis Lakers were an NBA dynasty, with five titles, before leaving for Los Angeles in 1960. The NBA returned to Minnesota in 1989 with the Timberwolves. Glen Taylor bought the team from co-owners Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner in 1994. They made the playoffs in 2018 for the first time in 14 seasons, but restructured last year when coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibidoeau was fired. They have advanced as far as the Western Conference finals just once (2004) in 30 seasons — and that was the only time in nine playoff appearances they have ever won a series.
The 78-year-old founder and chairman of Taylor Corporation was listed at No. 296 on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest Americans by Forbes last year.
President of Basketball Operations
Rosas, 48, is a former Rockets executive who was hired May 1, 2019. He makes all final decisions on personnel moves (trades, signings, draft picks) and hired staff.
Executive V.P. of Basketball Operations
The MIT grad and former Pistons assistant GM oversees the “strategy, performance and analytics” end of the Wolves operations, which includes analyzing trades.
A holdover from the previous regime, Layden serves as a scout and adviser to the Wolves front office.
Assistant G.M. and
Iowa Wolves G.M.
Runs the Iowa team. Heads the Wolves’ scouting operations.
Coordinates draft efforts and handles relations with players. Advising on personnel matters.
Involved with helping the Wolves navigate the salary cap and CBS.
V.P. of Basketball Performance and Technology
Oversees performance, including health, wellness, nutrition and strength using analytics.
In charge of Wolves player development, coaching staff and in-game strategies.
Following the boondoogle of the North Stars leaving Minnesota in 1993, the state lured back an NHL franchise for the 2000-01 season into the brand new Xcel Energy Center. The Wild has been a success at the box office and frustrated on the ice, with no Stanley Cup Finals appearances and only one Western Conference final berth. Craig Leipold bought the team from a group headed by Robert Naegele in 2008.
Owner and Governor
Leipold, 68, oversees the day-to-day business operations of the Wild and serves as the team’s governor at the NHL Board of Governors’ meetings.
Hired last summer, the 49-year-old former NHLer supervises the Wild’s hockey operations department including player personnel, coaches and scouts.
Kurvers, 57, is former assistant GM for Tampa Bay. He supports the day-to-day operations and serves as GM of the Iowa Wild.
Director of Hockey Operations
O’Hearn handles player contract research and negotiations, scheduling, salary arbitration, salary cap management and compliance with the CBA.
Director of Player Development
The ex-Wild defenseman evaluates prospects in the organization and implements programs to help continue their development.
Interim head coach
Evason, 55, was Bruce Boudreau’s lead assistant before Boudreau was fired on Feb. 14. He supervises the coaching staff and support personnel.
The Twins and Vikings started in the same year, 1961, and have their histories etched in the brains of Minnesotans. Carl Pohlad bought the Twins before the first of their two World Series titles, in 1987, and his sons are now at the top of the operation. Derek Falvey was pilfered from the Cleveland organization to head baseball operations before the 2017 season, and last year built a group that set a major league home run record and won the American League Central Division.
Chairman of the executive board
The oldest of Carl Pohlad’s three sons — Jim, Bob and Bill — who have been the principal owners of the team since their father’s death in 2009, Jim Pohlad, 67, also served a two-year term on MLB’s executive council.
Dave St. Peter
President and Chief executive
The 53-year-old North Dakotan was hired in 1991 to run a team-owned merchandise store in 1991; only 11 years later, he took over the franchise's day-to-day operations as president in 2002 and has guided the team as its top executive ever since.
President of Baseball Operations
The 37-year-old Massachusetts native, who spent nearly a decade in the Cleveland Indians’ front office, was hired in 2016 to modernize the Twins’ baseball department and make the team more consistently competitive on the field.
Executive V.P.; Chief Business Officer
The former Minnesota Wild executive has been with the Twins since 2006, and in 2016 was put in charge of all revenue-generating operations, including ticket sales, broadcasting and corporate sponsorships.
Executive V.P.; Chief Administrative and Financial Officer
All accounting and budgeting functions and strategies fall under the purview of the Iowa native, who has worked for the Twins since 1992.
Executive V.P. for Brand Strategy and Growth
The son of Bob Pohlad has worked for the team for nearly a decade, and now is in charge of the team’s marketing efforts and its gameday experience.
Senior V.P. for Operations
A 35-year employee of the Twins, the St. Paul native develops plans for putting on home games and then puts them in motion; his purview includes all ballpark operations, including security, maintenance, concessions and the grounds crew.
Senior V.P. and G.M.
Falvey’s second-in-command in the baseball department, Levine has also worked for the Dodgers and Rockies, and came to Minnesota after 11 years as assistant general manager of the Rangers.
V.P. and Assistant G.M.
The team’s interim general manager after Terry Ryan’s firing in 2016, the 32-year Twins employee handles many contract negotiations, prepares arbitration cases and oversees many major league departments, including the clubhouse and medical staffs.
V.P. for Player Personnel
A member of the Professional Scouts Hall of Fame, the Kansas native has coordinated all player evaluation, both amateur and professional, for the past 12 years.
Hired in 2017 to design, expand and staff the team’s research and analytic efforts, the Harvard grad and former Jacksonville Jaguars employee was promoted in November to oversee those departments while also consulting on day-to-day operations.
The former Dodgers executive, hired with Adler two offseasons ago, is in charge of all player-development strategies, including the team’s minor league operations.
Had no managerial experience when he took over in 2019, but the 38-year-old won American League Manager of the Year honors for the work of his first season.
Minnesota United FC
The Loons joined MLS in 2017, jumping from the NASL. The 20,000-capacity Allianz Field opened in 2019. Bill McGuire heads a 16-person ownership group that includes Glen Taylor and the Pohlads.
A former health care executive, the 72-year-old bought the franchise in 2012 and oversaw its transition to an MLS team and the opening of $250 million Allianz Field.
Chief Executive Officer
Longtime Timberwolves executive oversees team’s business and sporting sides.
Chief Soccer Officer
Former Olympian was United’s first Sporting Director.
The 59-year-old has a contract extension and additional power after the Loons reached the playoffs last season.
Formed in 1999, the Lynx are the most successful pro sports franchise in Minnesota, with four WNBA titles (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017).
Taylor Corp. boss owns Timberwolves, Lynx and Star Tribune.
General manager and head coach
Reeve, 53, was promoted to GM after fourth title and runs the team’s basketball operations.
Assistant general manager
Oversees salary cap, player contracts and player movement. Oversees the operations. In charge of team travel.
Basketball operations coordinator
In charge of day-to-day player movement and practice prep.
University of Minnesota
The University’s power structure is multilayered and different from those of Minnesota’s pro teams, starting at the top with relatively new U president Joan Gabel.
Board of Regents
This 12-member body, appointed by the legislature, hires the University’s president and must sign off on the hiring of an athletic director, as well as any coaching contract that exceeds the university president’s base salary (currently $640,000).
The former provost at South Carolina became the U’s first female president last year. The president typically hires and fires the athletic director, who handles the coaching personnel decisions.
Coyle, who took over as Gophers AD in 2016, is in charge of the department’s annual budget and oversees the 23 sports programs. Besides the hiring and firing of coaches, fundraising is a central part of the job.
Each Gophers program has its own sports administrator, who helps with specific budget and scheduling issues. Senior Associate AD Tom McGinnis, for example, is the sports administrator for men’s and women’s hockey.
His office works to keep each sports program in check under the labyrinth of NCAA rules.
Each coach is CEO of his or her program, tasked with bringing won-loss success and ensuring the well-being of the student athletes. Fleck’s staff includes 10 full-time assistants, and an assortment of football operations types who oversee player personnel, recruiting, video, strength and conditioning, etc. Other sports might have a head coach, one assistant coach and an administrative assistant.