Ahead of its meeting with No. 5 Penn State on Saturday, the University of Minnesota announced a contract extension with football head coach P.J. Fleck, pending Board of Regents approval.
The University officially announced the seven-year extension on Tuesday afternoon, ensuring that Fleck will remain on the sidelines at TCF Bank Stadium through the 2026 season. Fleck's base salary will increase to $4.6 million with a $10 million dollar buyout.
"Thankful for the support of the university and our entire community," Fleck said. "The contract is really the result of tireless effort of so many people, not just the head coach. The head coach is only as good as the people around him."
Late Monday night, details began to emerge about the possibility that the University and Fleck were nearing an extension, according to the Star Tribune.
"This has been a few weeks in the making," Fleck said. "You have other people doing it for you, so I wasn't really dealing with it. It never takes away from your game plan, focus or vision."
It's no surprise that the Gophers decided to give Fleck a new deal to remain with the program. Speculation emerged that linked Fleck to other coaching jobs at high-profile programs such as Florida State, which fired head coach Willie Taggart earlier this week. However, Fleck said he never gave any thought to departing. Instead, he says he wants to continue building a culture within the program.
"You look at what Kirk Ferentz and Hayden Fry did at Iowa, that's what I feel like the University of Minnesota is missing," Fleck said. "And I feel like somebody has to do that. We came here because we felt like it was our mission, because we were called to it."
Fleck earned his new contract by leading the team to its best start in almost 80 years, going 8-0 heading into their game against Penn State.
Since coming to Minnesota in 2017, Fleck has lead the Gophers to a 20-13 record, their first win over Wisconsin in 15 years and victory over Georgia Tech last season in the Quick Lane Bowl. They have won their last 10 games in a row, dating back to the 2018-19 season.The University of Minnesota's Athletic Director Mark Coyle said he has been impressed with Fleck's ability to achieve the goals he set for the program when he was hired.
"He laid out a very specific plan for what he was going to do at Minnesota," Coyle said. "He has not missed any of the things he's talked about."
With contract negotiations completed, Fleck's next goal will be defeating Penn State on Saturday, an opportunity that has him and his players excited.
"It's really cool when you have the whole state and across the nation excited about Gopher football," said quarterback Tanner Morgan. "It means a lot for our fans and this tremendous university."