Something heard in a van down by the river: Joel Maturi is Matt Foley?

Iron Range native Joel Maturi’s stint as athletic director at the University of Minnesota got mixed reviews, but it was no small feat for a Chisholm kid from an area so devoted to athletics to rise to the pinnacle of the state’s most storied athletic program. Though Maturi has stepped down as athletic director, this Rick Weegman story in yesterday’s Duluth News Tribune revealed something I never knew.

Joel Maturi coached the late comedian Chris Farley when he was a nose tackle at a high school in Wisconsin. Farley based his famous motivational speaker character, Matt Foley, at least in part on Maturi.

You might have the iconic Matt Foley Saturday Night Live sketches in your mind, but here is something I found on YouTube. Farley, as Matt Foley, does a stint on an early episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien:

Yeah, I guess I can spot an element of Iron Range coaching style in ol’ Matt Foley.

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