MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – University of Minnesota football coach PJ Fleck will be featured in a four-part series on ESPNU next month as the Gophers begin fall practices, the school announced Thursday.
The series will debut Aug. 2 and is called, “Being PJ Fleck.” All four episodes will be 30 minutes long and will chronicle Fleck’s first months on the job at Minnesota.
Fleck, 36, was named the Gophers football coach on Jan. 6. He spent four seasons at Western Michigan before coming to Minnesota. He led Western Michigan to a 13-0 regular season last year and a MAC championship. The season ended with a loss to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.
He takes over for Tracy Claeys, who was fired by Athletic Director Mark Coyle days after the Gophers, without 10 suspended players, beat Washington State 17-12 in the Holiday Bowl. The Gophers finished the season 9-4, but it was a year marred by players involved in an alleged sexual assault after their season-opening win over Oregon State.
The 10 suspensions were appealed, and four players were ultimately expelled. Others were reinstated, and no criminal charges were ever filed in the case. The football team held a brief boycott of the bowl game after not being given reason for the 10 suspensions. The boycott ended days later.
When Coyle hired Fleck, he said it was a move to “shake the tree.” He felt the football program needed a new face, a new leader and someone who could reinvigorate the fan base.
The four-part series will air at 8 p.m. each Wednesday, starting Aug. 2, on ESPNU. Big Ten Network will also air each episode after its original appearance on ESPNU.
The Gophers begin the PJ Fleck era hosting Buffalo at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at TCF Bank Stadium.