Maturi the man in the van down by the river?

No, since retiring as the athletic director at the University of Minnesota several months ago Joel Maturi has not been living “IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!”

However, in a recent interview with the Duluth News Tribune, Maturi revealed that late comedian Chris Farley based his famous Matt Foley, motivational speaker, character after the former Golden Gophers AD.

How to explain the seemingly random connection?

Farley, who was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1990-95 and passed away in 1997, played high school football at Madison (Wis.) Edgewood and Maturi was his coach for four years.

“Matt Foley is a little bit about me, I’m afraid,” Maturi told the Duluth News Tribune. “I used to joke with him, ‘You made a lot of money making fun of me.’

“I was not living in a van down by the river, but I did give him a few pep talks. That was the remembrance that I guess he had of me.”

Apparently Maturi used to motivate his teams by pulling up his belt, getting into a football stance and giving his pep talk, which was inflated just a bit by Farley’s “SNL” character.

It’s hard to envision Foley is the Maturi that led the Minnesota athletic department for nearly 10 years, so how much truth is in Maturi’s story?

A Farley biography, titled “The Chris Farley Show,” said the character is based on Maturi. But Farley named the character after one of his former rugby teammates at Marquette University.

We’ll never know exactly how much Maturi influenced the legendary character, but it is a hilarious thought for Gophers fans to picture Maturi telling folks they’re not going to amount to jack squat.