P.J. Fleck was a name on the rise as he coached the Western Michigan Broncos to unprecedented success. It seemed like a forgone conclusion that someone would eventually offer him enough coin and enough opportunity to leave the program that he single-handedly made relevant.
That someone turned out to be a Minnesota football program that was in desperate need of re-branding after their players boycotted the suspension of teammates tied to a Title IX lawsuit.
The Golden Gophers fired coach Tracy Claeys and named Fleck their new coach shortly after.
The details of the contract awarded to Fleck were undisclosed until now. In exchange for his football knowledge and winning pedigree, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will pay Fleck $3.5 million in his first season, with escalating $50,000 bumps in the years that follow. The total value of the contract sits at $18 million, according to ESPN.com.
Should Fleck be relieved of his duties after his first season as coach without cause, the university would owe him the sum of $9 million. The cost of his buyout drops to $3 million after three seasons as coach, and to a paltry $1.5 million after four years as head coach.
As a comparison, Tracy Claeys received a buyout of $500,000 after he was fired.
Photo Credit: Minnesota Football