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Find out what makes head coach P.J. Fleck tick in our in-depth feature story
P.J. Fleck In The News
P.J. (Philip John) Fleck was named head football coach at the University of Minnesota on January 6, 2017. Fleck is the 30th head coach in the program’s history.
Fleck 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.
The Broncos were 12-0 in the regular season and posted wins against Big Ten opponents Northwestern and Illinois. Fleck then led his team to a 29-23 win against Ohio in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship game before ending the season with a narrow bowl game defeat to Wisconsin.
Fleck, 36, is one the youngest and brightest minds in the game. He was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2016 and last season he led the Broncos to their first MAC Championship since 1988.
Earning FBS Region 3 Coach of the Year from the American Football Coaches Association, Fleck was also named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award and the George Munger Award after Western Michigan became the first team in MAC history to win each of its eight league games by 14 or more points.
Fleck turned Western Michigan into a pipeline for the NFL as well. In 2016, the Broncos had Willie Beavers (121st overall to the Minnesota Vikings) and Daniel Braverman (230th overall to the Chicago Bears) taken in the NFL Draft.
In the 2017, Fleck saw three of his former players selected from Western Michigan in Corey Davis (fifth overall to the Tennessee Titans), Taylor Moton (64th overall to the Carolina Panthers) and Keion Adams (248th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers). Davis, who was the first Consensus All-American in Western Michigan history, caught 91 passes for 1,427 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016. He ended his career with 5,212 yards in four seasons, which makes him the Football Bowl Subdivision all-time career receiving record holder. Davis joined Randy Moss as the only Mid-American Conference receiver to be drafted in the first round.
Off the field, Western Michigan had a program-record seven student-athletes named to the 2016 MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete team and the Bronco team posted a 3.14 program GPA in its most recent semester.
Prior to his time at Western Michigan, Fleck served as the wide receivers coach for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and coached the receivers at Rutgers from 2010-11. He coached receivers and was the recruiting coordinator at Northern Illinois in 2009 and tutored the receivers for the Huskies from 2007-08. Fleck's coaching career began at Ohio State as a graduate assistant in 2006.
Fleck played receiver at Northern Illinois from 1999-2003 and helped lead the Huskies to a No. 10 ranking, a 10-2 record and wins against Maryland, Alabama and Iowa State in his final season. He ranks in the top five in Northern Illinois history in career receptions (179) and receiving yards (2,162). Fleck holds the school record for punt returns (87) and ranks second in punt return yards (716). He earned First Team All-Mid-American Conference in 2003 and was named Academic All-MAC and Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-American. He graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
Fleck played the 2004-05 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. He signed with the 49ers as a free agent in 2004 and spent most of his time on the practice squad before seeing action against New England late in the season. He spent the 2005 season on the injured reserve roster and in 2006 he stopped playing professionally and started his coaching career.
Fleck and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh are the only Power Five conference coaches who both played and coached in the NFL. Fleck, Harbaugh and East Carolina’s Scottie Montgomery are the only coaches in the FBS who have played and coached in the NFL.
Fleck and his wife, Heather, have four children, Gavin, Carter, Paisley (P.J.) and Harper.
2017- Minnesota, Head Coach
2013-17 Western Michigan, Head Coach
2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wide Receivers Coach
2010-11 Rutgers, Wide Receivers Coach
2009 Northern Illinois, Recruiting Coordinator, Wide Receivers Coach
2007-08 Northern Illinois, Wide Receivers Coach
2006 Ohio State, Graduate Assistant
NFL Draft Picks Who Played For Fleck
2017 - Corey Davis, WR, Round 1, Pick 5, Tennessee Titans
2017 - Taylor Moton, OT, Round 2, Pick 64, Carolina Panthers
2017 - Keion Adams, LB, Round 7, Pick 248, Pittsburgh Steelers
2016 - Willie Beavers, OT, Round 4, Pick 121, Minnesota Vikings
2016 - Daniel Braverman, WR, Round 7, Pick 230, Chicago Bears
Playing Experience: Northern Illinois (wide receiver), 1999-2003; San Francisco 49ers (wide receiver), 2004-05
Birthday: November 29, 1980
Hometown: Sugar Grove, Ill.
High School: Kaneland High School, 1999
Alma Mater: Northern Illinois, 2004 (elementary education)
Sons: Gavin and Carter
Daughters: Paisley (P.J.) and Harper
|Year By Year|
|2013||Western Michigan||1-11||-||Head Coach|
|2014||Western Michigan||8-5||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Head Coach|
|2015||Western Michigan||8-5||Bahamas Bowl||Head Coach|
|2016||Western Michigan||13-1||Cotton Bowl||Head Coach|
|Career||Four Seasons||30-22||Head Coach|
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Go down the Chicago River on a cruise with three members (Rodney Smith, Steven Richardson and Jon Celestin) of the Gopher Football team at 2017 B1G Media Days!
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