PJ Fleck reunited his Gophers football team after Wednesday morning practice for a quick ceremony. He then pulled out a pen and signed a contract that could keep the coach in Minnesota through the 2028 season.
“I just told them why we signed it and what we did,” Fleck said. “It’s about them and thank them and everything they do.”
The $ 35 million seven-year contract adds two years to Fleck’s last deal in 2019 and includes an average salary of $ 5 million.
This year, Fleck’s total compensation is $ 4.65 million. His new contract, awaiting approval from the Board of Governors, will put him in a four-way tie for fifth among Big Ten coaches, behind Ohio State’s Ryan Day ($ 6.75 million), Penn State’s James Franklin ($ 6.7 million), Pat Fitzgerald from Northwestern ($ 5.75). million) and Mel Tucker of Michigan State ($ 5.63 million).
“It was important for me to send a message to our fan base, to send our message to our recruits, to our current student-athletes, that we are committed to football, we are committed to victory at a high level, and we are committed to doing the right things.”
Fleck’s salary would match the 2021 salary of Scott Frost of Nebraska, Kirk Ferentz of Iowa and Jeff Brohm of Purdue, who all earn $ 5 million.
Along with Esperanto to build a long-term program, Fleck wanted to end any talk about him leaving for other jobs. In past years, his name has been mentioned in openings at Florida State and Tennessee. When USC fired Clay Helton early this season, Fleck was mentioned in media speculation as a potential candidate.
“When things start to happen, especially when you know you want to be somewhere, you make that happen and eliminate the outside noise because that can be a distraction for your players,” Fleck said. “I don’t want to be. That distraction. ”
The university received protection from Fleck, 40, leaving early for another job in the form of increased ransoms. If Fleck left for other coaching work by December 31, 2022, he would owe the university $ 10 million, and it would still be $ 7 million next season, followed by $ 5 million in 2024 and declining from there.
His previous redemption for this year was $ 4.5 million, and it was to drop to $ 3 million over the next two years.
“That’s helpful, and PJ is genuine when he talks about wanting to be here,” athletic director Mark Coyle said. “… From an institutional perspective, having that high purchase obviously provides the protection.”
Within the contract: Salary, redemption and personnel
Fleck, an Illinois native, emphasized his affinity for the Twin Cities area as a reason to get involved.
“I totally love the state of Minnesota,” he said. “My wife [Heather] loves to live here, our kids love to be here, and it’s a really special place. It is a home for us. … We can live here, not just make a living. And that’s very hard to find in our profession. ”
Fleck and Coyle began pre-contract negotiations this summer, and negotiations have resumed in the last few weeks.
“It was important for me to send a message to our fans, to send our message to our recruits, to our current student-athletes, that we are committed to football, we are committed to victory at a high level, and we are‘ Committed to doing the right things, ’” he said. Coyle, who hired Fleck in January 2017 with an original five-year, $ 18 million deal, then gave the coach one-year extensions in November 2017 and December 2018 and the seven-year deal in 2019.
Comforting the minds of the recruits was also positive for Fleck.
“Whatever you hear, whatever people are recruiting against us, whatever you hear outside, the guesses, that’s why you’re doing it now,” he said. “You put that to bed.”
Fleck’s previous deal called for an annual $ 50,000 raise that would push his salary to $ 4.9 million by 2026. Now, he will earn as much as $ 5 million annually until 2028.
Fleck’s new deal has also increased pay for assistant coaches and employees, who will share an additional $ 350,000 starting Feb. 1.
The contract has incentives for achievements such as winning the Big Ten championship ($ 150.00) or winning or finishing in a first-place division tie ($ 100,000). Two new incentives bring in $ 100,000 each for winning eight and nine regular-season games.
“We can live here, not just make a living. And that is very difficult to find in our profession. ”
The Gophers are 6-2 this season and sit on the Western Division of the Big Ten with a 4-1 record entering Saturday’s home game against Illinois.
On Tuesday, they were number 20 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season. In 2019, the Gophers went 11-2, won the Outback Bowl and finished No. 10 in the final Associated Press Top 25, their best poll showing since 1962.
Fleck is 32-21 overall at Minnesota, including 24-10 in his past 34 games.
“I said from Day One, ‘We’re not going anywhere, we’re not going anywhere,’ ‘Fleck said.” This just keeps proving that.’ ‘