P.J. Fleck, Minnesota Agree to 7-Year Contract Extension amid 8-0 Start

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2019

Minnesota head coach P. J. Fleck looks on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Rutgers Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)
Sarah Stier/Associated Press

The University of Minnesota announced a seven-year contract extension for head football coach P.J. Fleck on Tuesday after the Golden Gophers' 8-0 start to the 2019 season.

The 38-year-old Illinois native released a statement about his new contract:

"It is a tremendous honor to lead this team and represent the University of Minnesota and this great state. Our family absolutely loves Minnesota, and we are excited to continue to call this state home. We are building a championship culture—one that our fans can be proud of—through the academic, athletic, social and spiritual development of our student-athletes. Heather and I are so thankful to our staff, [athletic director] Mark Coyle, president [Joan] Gabel and the Board of Regents for seeing the vision we have for our football program."

Minnesota faces No. 5 Penn State and No. 18 Iowa over the next two weeks before finishing the regular season with a clash against No. 16 Wisconsin. It will be a heavy favorite against Northwestern in its other game during the final month of the campaign.

FiveThirtyEight only projects Fleck's group to have a five percent chance of making the CFP because of that difficult schedule, but that number skyrockets to 99 percent if they do the improbable and run the table.

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The strong run, which includes a 5-0 mark in Big Ten play, has boosted Fleck's stock after he posted a mediocre 12-13 record across his first two years at Minnesota. He went 30-22 in four years at Western Michigan in his first head coaching job.

In turn, his name popped up in the rumor mill related to the opening at Florida State after the Seminoles fired Willie Taggart on Sunday.

College sports fans know a contract extension guarantees nothing, but it should improve Minnesota's chances of keeping Fleck if other programs do come calling in the weeks and months ahead.

For now, however, his focus is surely on trying to set the Gophers up to pull off an upset of the Nittany Lions on Saturday to prove their unbeaten record isn't a fluke.