P.J. Fleck was able to flip a number of recruits from Western Michigan to Minnesota after accepting the Golden Gophers head coaching job. Fleck also added multiple former Broncos assistants to his new staff, but that may not be the biggest thing he will bring with him from Western Michigan.
According to Fleck, he is attempting to bring his “Row The Boat” catchphrase to Minnesota.
The “Row The Boat” mantra is currently trademarked by Western Michigan trustees.
“We’re working on it,” Fleck said, via ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. “There’s just some things to go through, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to bring it with me.”
The mantra is very personal to Fleck, who started using the saying after the loss of his second child shortly after his birth. “Row The Boat” is meant to be inspirational, urging people to continue rowing the boat no matter what happens. In essence, never give up.
Because of the deep personal ties, Fleck hopes the two sides can come to an agreement.
“When we first put it out there, you had to be able to have a trademark and licensing, I think it was with the university, or you can’t sell it as a university logo through the NCAA rules,” Fleck said. “So they basically own those rights to it, and that was something that I gave them the ability to do, because I never saw a dollar from it, never saw a cent from it, but we were able to create some type of culture.
“Again, it comes from a very personal, personal tragedy in my life and that’s where ‘Row the Boat’ came from. … So, I really hope they do see that, and they are willing to allow me to take that, but we’ll see as we move forward. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with it, but I really hope because of what it means, that I have the ability to at least purchase it, take it with me, and continue to change other people’s lives through tragedy, through adversity, in just a different area.”
While the mantra became part of the Western Michigan football program’s culture during its undefeated regular season in 2016, you can only hope Fleck is able to retain the phrase and continue rowing the boat at Minnesota.