Following the firing of Tracey Claeys, the Minnesota football program secured one of the hottest names in college sports to lead their program. Former Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck accepted a position to take over the embattled Minnesota program knowing there was a lot of work to do to bring the program to prominence.
While the team would need to succeed on the field, it would be essential to his success that the culture around the program be changed. In the wake of the sexual assault scandal players which led to ten players being suspended, a temporary boycott and a coach supporting-coach gets fired fiasco, it will take diligent effort to make Minnesota’s environment a positive one.
Fleck, who was formally introduced as the head football coach on Friday afternoon at a press conference, has come like a storm of optimism. In his speech, he spoke with enthusiasm and appeared to welcome the challenge that awaited him. As well as he spoke, though, this wasn’t the room that was going to be toughest for him to win over.
In speaking with his new players, Fleck expressed his desire to be here and coach them.
“Guys, you did not pick me, but I picked you,” he said.
The players seem to be getting on board with their new coach. Carter Coughlin tweeted his support of his new coach.
We can't change what has happened because it's in the past, we can only focus on the future. I'm excited to be led by Coach Fleck! Ski-U-Mah
— Carter Coughlin (@Cmoe34) January 6, 2017
With many players in the locker room upset over the decision to fire Claeys, it might take a while for everyone to buy in to Fleck and his position as head coach.
If he is able to replicate the success he had at Western Michigan, though, it will speed things up considerably.
Photo Credit: Twitter/Minnesota Football