Skip to main content

Report: P.J. Fleck Hired As New Minnesota Head Coach

Minnesota has reportedly hired away Western Michigan head coach, P.J. Fleck.

P.J. Fleck will be rowing his boat to Minnesota. Late Thursday night, it was reported that the Western Michigan head coach has been announced as the successor to fired Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys. Friday morning, Fleck officially confirmed the news himself.

Fleck reportedly informed his players of his decision on Thursday night, and according to Jamal Spencer of WZZM 13, many were upset.

Fleck announced before the end of the season that any coaching inquiries would have to wait until after the Cotton Bowl. Well, Minnesota waited a total of one day to fire Claeys and start pursuing one of the hottest names in college coaching.

In his four seasons with WMU, Fleck compiled a 30-22 record. His first season with the team resulted in a disappointing 1-11 finish, yet the improvements had just started. Fleck's second and third season culminated in 8-5 seasons and a 1-1 record in bowl games. The 2016 season was kind to the Broncos, and their coach.

A spotlight shown on Fleck's name this year as Western Michigan nearly capped off an undefeated season in the Cotton Bowl. After finishing the regular season undefeated and winning the MAC, the Broncos entered the Cotton Bowl against Wisconsin with a 13-0 record. Although the Badgers escaped with a win, Fleck showed his team could compete with the big boys of college football.

Fleck has experience at the college and NFL level as a player and a coach. He started at wide receiver for Northern Illinois before going undrafted in the 2004 NFL Draft. The undrafted wide receiver floated around practice squads before retiring to focus on coaching. After his playing career ended, Fleck worked as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006.

Following his stint with the Buckeyes, Fleck went back to his alma mater as the Broncos wide receivers coach from 2007-2009. Showing success at the mid-major level, Rutgers hired Fleck to the same position. Continuing his fast rise through the ranks, Fleck left Rutgers for the NFL, with former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano.

After one year in the NFL, Western Michigan hired Fleck as its head coach in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.