With Minnesota 8-0 and off to their best start in almost 80 years, the Gophers and head coach PJ Fleck are closing in on a new deal, according to the Star Tribune.
From the article:
"The source would not disclose specifics of the negotiations, only that Fleck and the Gophers have been in discussions for a while and are quite far along in the process. Athletic director Mark Coyle could not be reached for comment. Fleck’s agent, Bryan Harlan, declined to comment."
With openings are Rutgers (where Fleck cut his teeth as a wide receivers coach in 2010) and Florida State, Fleck's hot start at Minnesota has seen his name pop up in coaching search circles.
Back in 2016, Fleck left Western Michigan after a 13-1 season and signed a five-year deal with the Gophers worth $18 million. He signed one-year extensions in late in both 2017 and 2018 that currently take him through 2023 and account for a total of $25.5 million. The $3.6 million figure annually ranks him among the bottom of Big Ten coaches, at 11th out of 14.
After a slow, methodical build at Western Michigan where Fleck went 1-11 in year one before jumping to 8-5 for two straight years and then the 13-1 season and Cotton Bowl appearance, Fleck took over at Minnesota heading into the 2017 season. His first year with the Gophers ended in a 5-7 season, last year they showed improvement to 7-6 with a bowl win, and this season they're off to a hot 8-0 start with a big match up looming this weekend against undefeated Penn State.
Now an architect of two rebuilds as a young head coach, it will be interesting to see what the buyout figures look like and if they're enough to keep Fleck in maroon and gold if the right fit came calling.
More importantly - will Fleck actually put pen to paper before another suitor comes with an offer he can't refuse?
Update: Yahoo's Pete Thamel reports a deal is in place for a 7-year contract with raises for himself and his assistants.