PJ Fleck doesn't care if people make fun of 'Row the Boat'

Fleck is using his platform to inspire and motivate.
Publish date:

P.J. Fleck cares so much about his "Row the Boat" mantra that he paid $50,000 of his own money to secure the rights to the slogan from his former employer, Western Michigan University. 

Fleck, now in his second year coaching the Gophers football team, has the never-give up mantra plastered throughout the U of M's new football facilities and he doesn't care if someone doesn't like it. 

"To think back, it was one thought that stemmed from adversity that kind of took a while to develop," he said during his press conference leading up to Minnesota's season opener Thursday night against New Mexico State. "When I unveiled it people kind of made fun of it, and people still do. But at the end of the day that's always going to happen when you say here I am as a person and you share yourself with other people." 

Fleck spent more than two minutes answering the Row the Boat question, and offering a reminder that the mantra is about more than just football. 

"As a football coach you have a platform, and what you do with that platform is very powerful," he said. "Yes, wins and losses are going to be judged on me as a football coach, but me as a person and somebody who's a public figure, I wanna be looked at as somebody who can bring hope and motivation and inspiration to people who are dealing with things where maybe they have nowhere else to turn. 

"Maybe they need something else, they need a jump start. And if they can look at our program, then we're doing our job. Then I'm doing my job as a head football coach." 

You can watch Fleck's response about Row the Boat in the video below beginning at the 12:25 mark. 

Fleck and members of the Gopher football team make it a priority to visit kids at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, and in July the hospital unveiled a "Row the Boat Wall to help inspire and lift the spirits of kids, afterward spending a couple of hours hosting a BBQ with patients and staff.  

Next Up

soda pop

MDH finds 'troubling' trend in how many sugary drinks students are consuming

Nearly half of students have a sugary drink a day. Health officials recommend limiting it to one per week or fewer.

Rent, mortgage, house, key, door

Minnesotans have till Dec. 7 to apply for housing assistance

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Penny Flanagan issued a press release urging Minnesotans behind on bills to apply


Dec. 4 COVID-19 update: 61 deaths, hospitalizations drop day-over-day

The update includes new data on cases, deaths, positivity rates and hospitalizations.

Kevin Nokels

Mystery over Duluth hospital CEO's sudden departure

Kevin Nokels stepped down this week, after less than 18 months in the role.

lola missing dog

1 dog still missing after woman's vehicle was stolen in Minneapolis

The woman was dropping her daughter off at daycare when someone stole her car with her two dogs inside.

Zachary Robinson

St. Paul man pleads guilty to murder of woman pregnant with his child

The 27-year-old will spend the next five decades in prison.

fire, firefighter

Fire at southern Minnesota farm kills 2,000 pigs

The fire started around 8 a.m. Thursday.

Minnesota Sex Offender Program Moose Lake

Man at Moose Lake sex offender facility dies from COVID-19

It's the first COVID-related death of anyone in Minnesota's sex offender program.

Chris Hovan

Charges: Ex-Viking Chris Hovan drove drunk with child in the vehicle

His blood-alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit, charges say.

Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz to address Minnesotans about COVID-19 on Friday

The number of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities have been increasing after outbreaks at the facilities slowed 'significantly' over the summer.


Fleck responds to Kill: 'I'm really sorry that he feels that way'

Fleck said Kill's comments saddened his entire family.

Fleck, Gophers land high-profile recruit out of Illinois

Jason Bargy is a 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end.

Watch: Fleck surprises Gophers with Beyonce, Jay-Z tickets

The skit they put on for the surprise is phenomenal.

Elite news: Gophers will legally 'Row the Boat' with P.J. Fleck

P.J. Fleck is getting legal ownership of "Row the Boat." He's so elite.

Elite news: Gophers will legally 'Row the Boat' with P.J. Fleck

P.J. Fleck is getting legal ownership of "Row the Boat." He's so elite.

Fleck still not naming starting QB for border battle at Iowa

Just like last week, Fleck is keeping everyone guessing.