Gopher Sports Properties, the locally based team of LEARFIELD, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced today the hiring of Al Nolen as the color commentator for Golden Gopher men’s basketball radio broadcasts this upcoming season. Nolen replaces longtime color analyst Spencer Tollackson, who held that role for the previous 14 years. Nolen joins voice of the Gophers, Mike Grimm, who enters his 18th year as play-by-play.

“I am excited to be back in the Barn,” Nolen said. “The opportunity to be a color analyst for the men’s basketball team during coach Ben Johnson’s era, as well as to work alongside and learn from an on-air talent such as Mike Grimm, is a dream come true. This will be a good year for our team, and I am elated to be a part of this journey. I’m really looking forward to providing Gopher fans with expert analysis and insight into the game. Ski-U-Mah and go Gophers.”

Al Nolen was a member of the Gopher men’s basketball team from 2008-11, where he played in 98 career games, including 67 starts and amassed 595 points, 205 steals and 394 assists. He graduated with a bachelor of science in business and marketing. After graduation, Nolen was drafted by and played in the NBA G-League, completing his professional basketball career in Germany and the Czech Republic.

“We are thrilled to welcome Al Nolen back to Williams Arena as our men’s basketball color analyst,” said Greg Gerlach, Vice President and General Manager, LEARFIELD’s Gopher Sports Properties. “Al represents the very best of what Gopher student-athletes are capable of, on and off the field of play. We couldn’t be prouder to have him represent Golden Gopher Men’s Basketball in this role.”

Following his professional career, the Minneapolis native returned to his hometown and started his career in education with the Minneapolis and Osseo Public School districts, including eight years working with at-risk youth, as well as coaching middle and high school varsity basketball. In 2020, he founded the Al Nolen Foundation. The non-profit organization was built to create an affirming and supportive environment that nurtures higher-risk youth on their journey to overcome emotional trauma, social isolation, and economic hardships. The Al Nolen Foundation creates fun, inclusive and educational activities designed to develop basic life skills that will be key components in everyday success.


LEARFIELD is a diversified and influential media and technology company powering college athletics. Through its digital and physical platforms, LEARFIELD owns and leverages a deep data set and relationships in the industry to drive revenue, growth, brand awareness, and fan engagement for brands, sports, and entertainment properties. With ties to over 1,200 collegiate institutions and over 15,000 local and national brand partners, LEARFIELD’s presence in college sports and live events delivers influence and maximizes reach to target audiences. With solutions for a 365-day, 24/7 fan experience, LEARFIELD enables schools and brands to connect with fans through licensed merchandise, game ticketing, donor identification for athletic programs, exclusive custom content, innovative marketing initiatives, NIL solutions, and advanced digital platforms. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.

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