The success of the Gophers football team already has caused speculation that some big-time programs with head coaching openings could pursue P.J. Fleck after the season.
But it apears the University of Minnesota is working to make sure that doesn’t happen. Fleck, according to the Star Tribune, is nearing a new deal with the university. The Star Tribune’s source did not provide any details of what Fleck’s new contract might look like.
The Gophers are 8-0 this season, ranked 13th in the country and hold a two-game lead on Wisconsin and Iowa in the Big Ten West. They will play host to Penn State on Saturday morning in one of the biggest games the program has played in years.
Fleck agreed to a five-year, $18 million deal in 2016, was given a one-year extension in November 2017 and another in December 2018 that put him under contract at Minnesota through 2023 at $25.5 million. Fleck’s $3.6 million salary for 2019 ranks 37th among 130 FBS coaches and 11th out of 14 coaches in the Big Ten, according to USA Today.
Fleck’s name already emerged as a candidate for the Florida State job after Willie Taggart was fired on Sunday. The 38-year-old Fleck is in his third season at Minnesota after spending his first four seasons as a head coach at Western Michigan.
The Gophers were 5-7 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten in Fleck’s first season before improving to 7-6 and 3-6 last season and beating Georgia Tech, 34-10, in the Quick Lane Bowl. This season, the Gophers are 5-0 in the conference with four games remaining and are in the driver’s seat to reach the Big Ten title game on Dec. 7 in Indianapolis.