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PJ Fleck addresses his future at Minnesota

PJ Fleck has been a head coach for six full seasons and he's gotten either a new contract or an extension after four of them.

He did not receive an extension after his 1-11 debut at Western Michigan in 2013 -- duh -- but an 8-4 regular season in 2014 netted him an extension that made him the first $800,000 coach in MAC history. Fleck was not extended in 2015, but a 13-1 campaign in 2016 earned him the Minnesota job and a 5-year, $18 million contract.

Fleck went but 5-7 in his first season with the Gophers, which was still enough to earn him an extension, and last year's 7-6 campaign granted him another extension, keeping him under contract through 2023.

And now, with an 8-0 start and a No. 13 ranking heading into one of the biggest regular season games in school history, the iron is hot for Fleck to strike again.

Minnesota AD Mark Coyle knows that as well as Fleck, which is why, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, he's discussed a new contract with his 38-year-old head coach.

“We talked about having a program that competes academically, athletically and socially, and there is no doubt that he and his student-athletes have done just that,” Coyle told the paper.

Fleck's contract calls for a buyout of $1 million per season remaining on the contract. With four years remaining after this one, Fleck would owe $5 million if he were to depart before Minnesota's bowl game and $4 million after.

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Asked about his future on local radio earlier this week, Fleck gave an interesting answer -- particularly the last two words.

“My future at Minnesota is to make sure Minnesota is getting the attention that it deserves getting on a national level for our team, for our coaches, for our state, for our Twin Cities area,” Fleck told WCCO. “That’s my responsibility. And I know Heather [Fleck, his wife] and I absolutely love it here, and we’re very grateful to our fans and very grateful to our administration and very grateful to our community that have accepted us with open arms.

“And we’ve got a lot of things to finish here this year.”

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.