PJ Fleck is officially leaving Western Michigan to become the new head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Fox 9 in Minneapolis and ESPN have reported the tentative agreement between Fleck and Minnesota while the now former Broncos head coach released a statement announcing the tough decision he had to come to leaving Kalamazoo.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to leave Western Michigan University for the head football coaching job at the University of Minnesota,” Fleck said in a statement to WMMT in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “Although I am grateful for and excited about this opportunity, this was a very difficult decision to make; one that involved much introspection and prayer. Heather and I love Kalamazoo and the Western Michigan University family of staff, students, alumni and fans. I simply feel called to take on this new challenge and to start a new chapter in my family’s journey. I am proud of what we have accomplished together in Kalamazoo. I feel we have left WMU football in a much better place than when we arrived here. That was our mission. I’ll always be your fan and friend. RTB PJ.”
Fleck, who guided the Broncos to a 13-1 season after a 24-16 Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin takes over a Golden Gophers team from Tracy Claeys who suffered some of the initial consequences of a sexual assault scandal involving 10 players. This included backlash from the team who threatened to boycott the Holiday Bowl. Ultimately Fleck will be tasked with trying to piece back together the Minnesota program and salvage the recruiting season given the tardiness in hire at this point in the Gophers’ offseason.
For his credit, Fleck finishes his time at Western Michigan compiling a 30-22 record in four seasons including three bowl appearances.