1. Storybook season: Fleck’s Western Michigan Broncos came out of nowhere to run the table (13-0) before the bowl season and earn a No. 12 national ranking. They made it from Kalamazoo to the Cotton Bowl, where their run ended in a loss to Wisconsin.
2. What’s #RTB?: That’s the social media hashtag that now follows Fleck everywhere — it stands for his “Row The Boat” motivational mantra. Why rowing? “We can’t see the future but we can see our past,” he said in 2013.
3. A Kill guy: Fleck was one of two coaches retained at Northern Illinois when it hired a new coach by the name of Jerry Kill in 2008.
4. Inspired by tragedy: On Feb. 9, 2011, Fleck’s second son, Colt, died from a heart defect shortly after he was born. Fleck then realized, he said in November, that his life “wasn’t about me. It was about honoring my son.”
5. The P and the J: His full name is Phillip John Fleck. He is from Sugar Grove, Ill., and was born Nov. 29, 1980.
At Western Michigan (30-22)
2013: 1-11, 1-7
2014: 8-5, 6-2 Lost to Air Force 38-24 in Potato Bowl
2015: 8-5, 6-2 Def. Middle Tenn. 45-31 in Bahamas Bowl
2016: 13-1, 8-0 Lost to Wisconsin 24-16 in Cotton Bowl
Other coaching stops
2006: Ohio State, graduate assistant
2007-08: Northern Illinois, wide receivers coach
2009: Northern Illinois, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator
2010-11: Rutgers, wide recievers coach
2012: Tampa Bay (NFL), wide receivers coach
As a player
Fleck was Northern Illinois’ top receiver his senior season in 2003, surpassing 1,000 yards. He spent two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, mostly on the practice squad or injured reserve. He appeared in one NFL game.
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