P.J. Fleck is about to be rewarded for leading the Gophers football team to its best start to a season in nearly 80 years.
A new deal for the coach is in the works, a source with knowledge of the situation said Monday evening, and is close to being done.
Fleck has taken the Gophers to 8-0 with a No. 13 ranking, on the precipice of their biggest game in decades when No. 5 Penn State visits TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. The coach, in his third season, signed an $18 million contract for five years in 2016. He garnered a one-year extension in November 2017 and another in December 2018 to keep him with the Gophers through 2023 for a total of $25.5 million.
Fleck’s $3.6 million salary for this season ranks 37th among all 130 FBS coaches and 11th among the 14 coaches in the Big Ten, according to USA Today.
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.
Purdue’s new contract with coach Jeff Brohm ahead of this season could foretell what could be in store for Fleck. Brohm signed a similar deal to Fleck’s when he took the job a month before the Gophers hired Fleck, but Brohm earned a new contract worth $36.8 million through 2025 ahead of this season.
Fleck has been a head coach for seven years, taking Western Michigan from 1-11 in 2013 to 13-1 in 2016. In three seasons at Minnesota, he has taken the program from 5-7 to 7-6 to 8-0 in 2019.
The Gophers’ most recent victory was Fleck’s 50th, making him at 38 the second-youngest active FBS coach to reach that milestone. He is a hot commodity on the coaching market, especially with jobs already opening up. For instance, Florida State inquired about Fleck after firing Willie Taggart on Sunday, a source told the Star Tribune.