P.J. Fleck will be on a flight from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Minneapolis today where he'll be introduced as the new head coach of Golden Gophers football at 3 p.m.
"P.J. is a proven winner and a strong leader," Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement. "He's built a unique, positive culture that gets the best out of his students on the field and in the classroom. His infectious energy and passion make him a terrific coach and dynamic recruiter. I am excited he will be leading the Gophers for years to come."
Fleck, 36, is fresh off a Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin as his Western Michigan Broncos finished the 2016 season 13-1 and will likely be in the final top 25 polls.
He has a storm’s energy and so much charisma he could give it out in bags and keep plenty.
So who is this guy?
He's the hottest rising star in college football coaching. The Washington Post described him like this:
"He has a storm’s energy and so much charisma he could give it out in bags and keep plenty. His voice has preceded him, because through practice he has pushed a button and interrupted the Smashing Pumpkins or Kid Ink or the Beastie Boys’ eternal “Intergalactic” with instructions such as, “You’re always auditioning! Every play!”"
He's the guy with his own football language, which he called "Bronconese" at Western Michigan, according to MLive.com.
He's the guy who promotes failing.
“We promote failing every single day in the most positive way you can imagine,” Fleck told the Washington Post in 2015. “Failing is growth. Failing is amazing.”
He's the guy whose pregame speeches get national attention.
He's the guy whose expertise is on the offensive side of the ball. He ran a spread-option offense at Western Michigan with the goal of getting the ball into his best player's hands as often as possible, according to SB Nation. Western Michigan's offensive ranks improved every year under Fleck, rising all the way up to No. 11 in the nation this season. They had a 3,500-yard passer, 1,300-yard rusher and a 1,500-yard receiver.
He’s a very spiritual and intense guy from the western Chicago suburbs, according to the Chicago Tribune. Western Michigan trademarked his “Row the Boat” mantra, which he says is a “never give up” mindset.
According to The Detroit News, Fleck listened to previous offers but didn't want to go to Purdue and Oregon didn't want him. The only way he was going to leave Western Michigan was for a head coaching job in the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12 or PAC 12.