I went to bed Thursday night thinking Mark Coyle was in a good spot in his search for a new football coach. His two final choices were reportedly Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck and former LSU coach Les Miles.
Coyle couldn't go wrong with either choice in his first major hire as Gophers athletic director.
Coyle settled on Fleck, which seemed to be his top choice from the beginning, and now the healing can begin for the Gophers football program and fan base, starting with Fleck's arrival to the Twin Cities later today.
Fleck's Row The Boat mantra and quirky motivational tactics will draw a lot of attention, but we shoudn't lose sight of something else.
Fleck also has a track record of running a successful program.
Western Michigan went 13-0 this season and played in the Cotton Bowl, losing to Wisconsin.
The Broncos finished 9th nationally in scoring offense. They were 15th nationally in scoring defense. They were tied for first in turnover margin. They committed the fewest turnovers in all of FBS with only 8. They had the second-best third-down conversion rate in college football. They ranked 21st in penalties per game.
This is substance. This is why Gophers fans should be excited.
Fleck became a hot name in college football because of Western Michigan's historical season and his Row The Boat catchphrase. His hiring by Coyle will make a splash nationally and be well-received.
Fleck deserves a chance to see if he can duplicate that success in the Big Ten.