Minnesota has found its new coach: Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck.
One of the hottest coaching names this season will take over after going 13-1 with the Broncos this past season. The 36-year-old coach went 30-22 in his four seasons there, including a Cotton Bowl appearance this year against Wisconsin.
He was his enthusiastic self on Friday.
P.J. Fleck at Friday’s introductory press conference:
- Opened up by joking that “Ski-U-Mah meets Row The Boat.”
- Why Minnesota? Because he has a vision of winning the Big Ten West, the Big Ten title, Rose Bowls and a national championship.
- Thanked Western Michigan. “Change is a difficult time” for everyone involved, especially the players.
- Apologized to WMU leaders for leaving, but he said he had to chase his dream and that the University of Minnesota is his dream.
- Said he didn’t get to play in the Big Ten (he played at Northern Illinois) but that it’s been a dream to coach in the Big Ten.
- Fleck said former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill taught him how to care for players. Fleck coached with Kill when Kill was Northern Illinois’ head coach.
- “Why not the University of Minnesota? Why not?”
- Fleck said recruiting is the No. 1 pipeline and lifeline for a program.
- He said he’s not here to change tradition, but to change the culture. “I eat difficult conversations for breakfast.”
- “Everyone wants change until change arrives. Well, I’ve got news for everyone. Change has arrived.”
- “My entire life has been about running into the fire” not away from the fire.
- “We will find a way to out-care everybody else.”
- Fleck said the players didn’t pick him, but he picked them.
- When asked about the Gophers’ boycott/suspension related to alleged sexual assault, Fleck said his focus is on the team now, not back then.
- When asked about a now-former player at WMU getting questioned in a sexual assault case, Fleck said he had no knowledge of it.
- Fleck said he’ll look into staff decisions starting Friday night.
- The coach said he wants to bring “Row The Boat” to Minnesota but he’s also embracing Minnesota’s “Ski-U-Mah.”
WATCH: P.J. Fleck’s introductory press conference
"You’ve got a canoe, which is a boat! You’ve got a paddle, which is an oar! And we’ve got the Northern Star, which is a compass!” #B1GTalk
— Big Ten Talk (@CSNBigTen) January 6, 2017
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) January 6, 2017
PJ Fleck is already talking about B1G West titles, B1G titles, Rose Bowls and National Championships.
Nothing will change this dude. pic.twitter.com/9W22ASv4Id
— Dom Garrett (@DomGarrett) January 6, 2017
So, just how did @Coach_Fleck end up at Minnesota?
— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) January 6, 2017