The tagged beam outside the window of P.J. Fleck’s office caught his eye. The message left for the new Gophers football coach read “Row the Boat.”
Fleck’s signature slogan is written in what appears to be black marker in all caps and the “o’s” subbed with holes in the steel. Fleck tweeted a photo of the beam and wrote,“Love seeing the ELITE people working on the new Athlete's Village ROWing The Boat with us!! Thanks for the message!!”
Fleck and the construction crew of the $166 million athletes village have struck up a special bond since he settled into his new office. Anytime the coach looks out his window and acknowledges the crew, they respond with a rowing motion.
The view from Fleck's office reveals the significant progress the construction crew has made on the project this winter. The athletic department this week released a video showcasing the progress and renderings of the final product.
In the video, Fleck tours the site and university president Eric Kaler celebrates with the construction crew by signing one of the massive steel beams. The highlights also show the David and Janis Larson Football Performance Center beginning to take shape.
Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino also recently toured the site and is looking forward to selling the facilities to future recruiting classes.
“I’m looking right now at a new practice facility that I just toured a couple days ago, so I think this thing can get to the next level. You have to remember, we built this team – and we haven’t arrived yet – without having a lot of great resources,” Pitino said last week. “Now that we’re getting those, I just think recruiting can really take off. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to. You’re looking at a great student-athlete experience that we’ve always had here. And that’s a major selling point for us. Now you add more than $100 million in facilities just for student-athletes. That’s going to add a great deal to the program. That’s something I’m extremely excited about selling going forward."
Watch the progress video and see the view outside of Fleck's window here: