P.J. Fleck Accepts Minnesota Head Coaching Job

P.J. Fleck has reportedly accepted the Minnesota head coaching job. He replaces Tracy Claeys, who was fired by the program on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers made short work of their head coaching search. Roughly three days after firing Tracy Claeys, Minnesota has hired P.J. Fleck to be the program’s new head football coach.

Fleck reportedly met with athletic director Mike Coyle on Wednesday in Chicago, and was on the short list of candidates alongside former LSU coach Les Miles, who reportedly also met with school officials on Wednesday, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, who reportedly declined the position.

The Minnesota position opened up earlier this week after Coyle and Claeys met to review this past season. While a success on the field, 10 Minnesota players were suspended by the school for the team’s bowl game due to a sexual assault scandal and investigation. In an act of unity, their teammates initially boycotted the game and received public support from Claeys. The university was unhappy with Claeys handling of such a delicate situation, and it ultimately led to his ousting.

Now all eyes turn to Fleck, the young architect of Western Michigan’s resurgence. In his first season with the Broncos, Fleck’s team won only one game. But with tireless recruiting, infinite enthusiasm, a Row The Boat mantra and the unwillingness to settle for anything less than being elite, he turned around the Broncos in four short years. Western Michigan went 11-1 this past season, running the table in the regular season and MAC title game before losing to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.

Official contract details have not been released, but Fleck is expected to receive somewhere in the range of a five-year deal worth around $3.5 million per year. That number is significantly more than Claeys’ $1.5 million per year, and lands Fleck around the middle of the pack for Big Ten coaching salaries.

UPDATE: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune confirms Fleck’s contract is worth $18.5 million over five years.

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