P.J. Fleck to become next Minnesota coach
Minnesota got its guy. P.J. Fleck is coming to the Twin Cities.
The Gophers agreed to a deal with the Western Michigan coach to take over for Tracy Claeys.
They made that announcement official on Friday morning:
Welcome to Minnesota, @Coach_Fleck.
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) January 6, 2017
Tut the Star-Tribune reported that the deal would be for five years and $3.5 million per year. The Gophers are reportedly introducing him at a press conference on Friday.
The 36-year-old coach became one of the top head coaching candidates after he led the Broncos to a 13-1 record and a Cotton Bowl appearance against Wisconsin.
Fleck’s “Row the Boat” mantra became nationally known in the midst of his team’s 13-0 start. In 2016, Fleck’s program hosted College GameDay and became one of the stories of the year in college football.
Before he got to WMU, Fleck had several ties to B1G country.
The Illinois native and former Northern Illinois receiver spent time as a graduate assistant at Ohio State. He then joined former Minnesota coaches Jerry Kill and Claeys at Northern Illinois, where he served as an assistant.
Fleck also served on Greg Schiano’s staff at Rutgers before coaching the wide receivers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was Kill who recommended Fleck for his first head coaching job at WMU.
The news came three days after Minnesota announced the firing of Claeys, who led the program to its second-highest win total in program history in 2016. Claeys was fired after publicly supporting his players’ boycott of team activities because of their disagreement with the suspension of 10 Gophers for the Holiday Bowl.
The Gophers will introduce Fleck at a press conference on Friday.