GopherIllustrated.com publisher Ryan Burns has confirmed via sources this morning that that Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck is expected to be named the next head football coach at the University of Minnesota.
P.J. Fleck is fresh off leading the Western Michigan Broncos to a perfect 12-0 regular season, a MAC championship and a birth in the 2017 Cotton Bowl. Fleck's next endeavor will be trying to lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a Big Ten championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Minnesota will announce today the hiring of Fleck, less than 72 hours after first-year Gopher Athletic Director Mark Coyle announced his decision to fire Tracy Claeys following his first full season at Minnesota and after leading the Golden Gophers to a 9-3 recording, including a 17-12 victory over the Washington State Cougars in the 2016 Holiday Bowl.
Fleck has been the head coach at Western Michigan the past four seasons, guiding the Broncos to a record of 30-22 (21-11) and three consecutive bowl games. Before arriving in Kalamazoo to lead the Broncos Fleck was the wide receiver coach for Greg Schiano with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights from 2010-2011. Fleck has already had the top rated recruiting class in the MAC conference, each of the last four years, according to Scout.com.
When Minnesota announces the hiring of Fleck, 36, it will be the Gophers fifth different head football coach since Minnesota elected to fire Glen Mason after a 10-year career at Minnesota on December 31, 2006. Sources close to the situation report the deal will be around $18 million over five years. With an average salary of $3.5 million Fleck will become the sixth highest paid coach in the Big Ten.
A news conference to formally introduce Fleck is set for today, and sources have told GI to look for a press conference around 3 PM CST.
GopherIllustrated.com will have more soon.