BREAKING NEWS: The University of Minnesota Athletic Department appears to have had a plan.
Not only that, they have executed their plan. P.J. Fleck will become the 33rd (If you only count Bernie Bierman once, and also all the split coaching jobs of the 1800’s) Head Coach of Gopher Football following the termination of Tracy Claeys earlier in the week. The first confirmation was reported by Joe Schmit of KSTP TV in St. Paul, and multiple outlets claim Fleck will receive a 6 year $21m contact.
Unlike the last actual coaching search which found Jerry Kill after allegedly every member of the AFCA and their dog turned down
n oted buffoon Joel Maturi, AD Mark Coyle set out and got his man within 72 hours of there being a need to find a man. Absolutely stunning.
Fleck comes to Minnesota with a career record of 30-22. Additionally, he has a bowl record of 1-2, wins over Northwestern and Illinois, and a loss to wisconsin, which certainly qualify him for the job. Continual improvement (going from 1-11 in his first year in 2013 to 13-1 and the Cotton Bowl this year), disgusting levels of energy and enthusiasm, and attractive offense should appeal quickly to Gopher fans.
It’ll be interesting to see how things flesh out over the next little bit. The first two issues that Fleck will need to address quickly will be his coaching staff and finding a way to improve Minnesota’s recruiting class above the one he’s leaving behind at Western Michigan.
Of the current coaches, I’d like to see Mike Sherels retained and Adam Weber given an opportunity to move up from grad assistant. Jay Sawvel would be wonderful, but tidbits of information that have reached my ears have led me to believe that he and Fleck don’t necessarily get along (they worked together under Jerry Kill at NIU).
Hopefully he’ll be able to get things organized quickly and get to work on those two tasks and finding a new catchphrase for Minnesota. Let's pray it’s not “Dig the Hole,” since Tracy Claeys did a good enough job of that already.