PJ Fleck named Minnesota coach: 'I am here to change the culture'

This story originally appeared on December 19, 2012.

Fleck was paid about $820,000 at Western Michigan in 2016, according to USA Today.

Fleck and former LSU coach Les Miles both interviewed for Minnesota's vacant coaching job this week.

On Friday, in the hours after he was introduced, six different players who were verbally committed to Fleck at Western Michigan made the flip to Minnesota, anxious for the opportunity to play in the Big Ten.

Without question, Minnesota is still a good job, even if it's a hard one.

Blessed to say I have been offered and have committed to following Coach Fleck to The University of Minnesota! "He's built a unique, positive culture that gets the best out of his students on the field and in the classroom", said Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle.

If excitement and enthusiasm is the first thing you notice about Fleck, then his age is the second. The 36-year old played at Northern Illinois during his college days, then worked on staffs under Jim Tressel, Greg Schiano, with a stint in the National Football League as well with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rucker described Fleck as a "life coach".

He spent three seasons as wide receivers coach at NIU before being hired by Schiano in 2010. This is a program that just fired a head coach for something he put on social media and is still embroiled in, if not a full-blown scandal, certainly a public relations nightmare.

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But when they are given the advantage of playing against a team with 10 men for 75 minutes, the task is nearly impossible. He said: "In the first half we weren't where we wanted to be in terms of keeping possession and creating chances.

The Minnesota Daily will update this as news develops. "So when I had the opportunity to follow him, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up". "I can't wait for my future in the twin cities (sic) with coach Fleck!" "I feel like I can lead".

"It's pretty cool that so many of us are going up there together", Schmitz said. "When I already did care for players, he taught me how to care more". He finished his junior season with 2,211 yards and 20 touchdowns.

PJ Fleck is off to Minnesota for a Power 5 job in the Big 10 and the same people he was supported by last week have turned on him this week.

Western Michigan fans have been speculating Fleck leaving the program for a few months, but nothing ever came of it.

"The thing that jumps out to me is his authentic energy and his passion", Coyle said.

"I'm the king of the toos: Too small, too short, too young, too inexperienced". But I have let that fuel me. We will have that hunger. The last four seasons in Kalamazoo, Mich., Fleck went 30-22 overall and 21-11 in the MAC. "It's our job to find a leader who will take this program forward and unite all of them in one direction, one goal". He will be 36 entering next season. He led the program to three bowl games.

As a result, the Gophers' recruiting class, which ranked 77th in the nation before Fleck's hiring, has surged to 49th. We had a lot to do with that. Our main hub is going to be the Midwest.

Minnesota isn't Ohio State or MI.

He added: "P.J., you just heard him talk".


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