Earlier this week, Western Michigan’s PJ Fleck met with the Minnesota football program regarding its head coaching vacancy. On Friday, it was reported that Fleck has been offered and accepted the job.
Fleck informed his former team that he was moving on to a Power 5 job late Thursday night.
The decision comes following an undefeated regular season, MAC Championship and Sugar Bowl appearance.
“P.J. is a proven winner and a strong leader. He’s built a unique, positive culture that gets the best out of his students on the field and in the classroom,” said University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle in a statement on the team’s official website.
“His infectious energy and passion make him a terrific coach and dynamic recruiter. I am excited he will be leading the Gophers for years to come.”
Fleck released a statement of his own regarding the news.
“It’s an honor to coach at Minnesota and be part of the Big Ten conference,” said Fleck. “I want to thank president Eric Kaler, athletic director Mark Coyle and the Board of Regents for this opportunity. I also want to thank Western Michigan, my players and the great fans and city of Kalamazoo for a wonderful four years.
“I look forward to meeting my new players and getting to know them as quickly as possible. I am excited to put together a staff and turn my efforts to recruiting, but also want Gopher fans to know that my wife, Heather, and I and our four children will be visible in the community and we are eager to connect with them. I am ready to go. Ski-U-Mah!”
As you would expect, many of Fleck’s former players are unhappy with their coach’s decision to leave the team, especially when the program had such positive momentum going.
SOURCES: Fleck to Minny done deal. WMU players held players only meeting Thurs. night and they are NOT happy. Some feel used and betrayed…
— Jamal Spencer (@JamalWZZM13) January 6, 2017
Fleck was one of the hottest names on the coaching market, so this is a big win for the Golden Gophers. Fleck recorded a 30-22 record during his time at Western Michigan, though no season was as impressive as the Broncos’ 2016 campaign.
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Photo Credit: Minnesota Football