The Golden Gophers might officially have their new head coach in place before the weekend, and it won’t be Les Miles.
It was reported late Thursday night that Minnesota and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck had reached a “tentative agreement” for Fleck to become the Gophers’ next head football coach. Friday morning, there were multiple reports that the two sides were close to finalizing a deal, and Fleck’s hiring could be announced by the the same day.
Here’s a roundup of multiple reports confirming the Fleck news Friday morning:
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 6, 2017
— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) January 6, 2017
Can confirm earlier reports that P.J. Fleck & Minnesota are finalizing deal for Fleck to leave Western Michigan for Minnesota
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) January 6, 2017
USA TODAY Sports can confirm that PJ Fleck will be the new Minnesota coach, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 6, 2017
WMU coach P.J. Fleck confirms to Newschannel 3, CBS News, WWMT, West Michigan he is taking the job at the University of Minnesota.
— Kirk Mason (@KirkMasonWWMT) January 6, 2017
Minnesota’s job came open after the school fired Tracy Claeys on Tuesday. Claeys publicly supported his players’ decision to boycott last month after 10 teammates were suspended in connection to a school investigation of an alleged sexual assault. Claeys coached the Gophers to a 9-4 season and won the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27, but he was let go a week later.
Fleck, on the other hand, is coming off a 13-1 season at Western Michigan, where he completely turned around the Broncos program. WMU was 1-11 in Fleck’s first season (2013) but has gone to a bowl game in each of the last three seasons, including Monday’s Cotton Bowl.
Fleck, 36, was one of the hottest names in coaching searches this season, and it looked like he was going to stay another season in Kalamazoo until the Minnesota job opened up.
Updated from an original story by Land of 10’s Stephen Pianovich.