Western Michigan’s PJ Fleck Named Gophers Head Football Coach
Fox 9 has confirmed that PJ Fleck has been named Gopher Head Football Coach
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP- FOX 9) – The Gophers officially announced PJ Fleck as their new football head coach Friday morning. The University of Minnesota and Fleck agreed to a five-year term. There will be press conference at 3 p.m. at the University of Minnesota to introduce Fleck. Fox 9 first learned of the hire Thursday night from multiple sources.
Statements from PJ Fleck
Fleck released the following statement to Newschannel 3 in Kalamazoo: “It is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to leave Western Michigan University for the head football coaching job at the University of Minnesota. Although I am grateful for and excited about this opportunity, this was a very difficult decision to make; one that involved much introspection and prayer. Heather and I love Kalamazoo and the Western Michigan University family of staff, students, alumni and fans. I simply feel called to take on this new challenge and to start a new chapter in my family’s journey. I am proud of what we have accomplished together in Kalamazoo. I feel we have left WMU football in a much better place than when we arrived here. That was our mission. I’ll always be your fan and friend. RTB PJ.”
Fleck released the following statement to the University of Minnesota:
“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!”
Statement from Athletic Director Mark Coyle
“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 Coyle. “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.”
PJ Fleck’s coaching resume
Fleck played college football at Northern Illinois from 1999 to 2003 and played two NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006 before returning to Northern Illinois in 2007. Fleck coach wide receivers at NIU, including several seasons under former Gophers head coach Jerry Kill.
Fleck moved on to Rutgers for the 2010-11 seasons before following head coach Greg Schiano to the NFL for one season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers coach.
In Dec. 2012, Fleck was named head coach at Western Michigan, where he led the rebuilding of the Broncos football program, including a No. 15 ranking in the College Football Playoff poll and an appearance against Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.