Phillip John “P.J.” Fleck became the youngest head football coach among major NCAA Division I programs when Athletics Director Mark Coyle introduced him as the new head coach of the Golden Gophers on January 6. Fleck, 36, joined Gopher football after four years as head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos. His five-year contract pays $3.5 million per year. He was hired following the dismissal of Tracy Claeys.
Fleck immediately embarked on a frenzied recruiting drive that culminated in the introduction of 25 new Gophers on national signing day February 1. But his recruiting philosophy, he says, extends beyond bringing new players into the program.
“We are going to recruit our student athletes every single day with the positivity and energy of University of Minnesota football—every day, to think of the University of Minnesota as the greatest place on earth. We’re also going to recruit the finest student athletes in the country, because we want to fill the Bank every single game.
“This has to be more than football. I am more than football. Our kids will be more than football. I’m so proud to be your head football coach. I’m so honored to lead these young men into a new era and I look forward to the challenge of that leadership role.”