The University of Minnesota and head football coach P.J. Fleck have agreed to a contract extension that will keep Fleck in Maroon and Gold into 2023. The extension will become official pending approval from the Board of Regents at its December meeting.
“It’s an honor to coach at the University of Minnesota and in the Big Ten,” said Fleck. “Mark Coyle and I share the same goal of building a championship culture and team at Minnesota. It’s a goal that we are working on daily together and one that we will achieve. I am proud of how hard our young men have worked to improve this season on living a holistic life. They have taken great strides in bettering themselves athletically, academically, socially and spiritually. I look forward to leading them and watching them grow on and off the field as we continue to move this program forward.”
Fleck was hired by Minnesota on Jan. 6, 2017, and has accomplished a list of firsts in less than a year on the job. Fleck’s five wins this season are the most by a first-year head coach new to the program since the legendary Murray Warmath won seven games in 1954.
Fleck won his Gopher debut against Buffalo, which made him the school’s first head coach to win his debut since John Gutekunst in 1986 (before Fleck, Minnesota’s six most recent head coaches all lost their first game). Minnesota’s dominating 48-14 win at Oregon State made Fleck the first Gopher coach to win his first true road game at Minnesota since 1954 when Warmath and the Gophers won 46-7 at Pittsburgh. Fleck also became the first non-interim Minnesota coach since Warmath to start 3-0 leading the Gophers.
Off the field, the Gophers posted a program record GPA in the spring semester and have constantly been serving and giving to the community. The team hosted a diaper drive and food drive during fall camp and hosted a turkey drive last night for families in need this Thanksgiving. Coach Fleck and his team routinely visit the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and volunteer with additional local organizations as well.
“When we hired Coach Fleck, I talked about his authentic energy and passion, and his dedication to building a unique team culture. This year, I have seen our students connect with his energy and embrace that culture,” said Athletics Director Mark Coyle. “From the commitment and hard work of our current students, to building a nationally ranked recruiting class that will be among the best in program history, I have seen the foundation of what Coach Fleck is building, and I'm looking forward to supporting him for years to come.”
Fleck, 36, is one the youngest and brightest minds in the game. He came to Minnesota after spending four years as the head coach at Western Michigan, where he was 30-22 overall and 21-11 in the Mid-American Conference. While leading the Broncos, Fleck authored one of the most memorable turnarounds in college football history. The Broncos were 1-11 in his first year in 2013, but ended last season with a No. 12 ranking, a 13-1 record, a conference championship and a berth in the Cotton Bowl.