With much recent speculation surrounding the Gophers’ football head coach with his contract, P.J. Fleck and Minnesota’s athletics director got an extension finalized Tuesday, according to a release from Gophers Athletics.
Fleck signed a contract extension of seven years to take him through the 2026 season with the Gophers’ program. The extension has yet to be finalized as it needs to be approved by the University’s Board of Regents at their next meeting in mid-December.
Fleck had given some hints on his weekly radio show on KFAN that he and Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle had been in talks for quite some time on this extension. The deal wasn’t officially signed until after that radio show on Tuesday, before Fleck’s weekly media availability.
“His pay will go to $4.6 million [per year],” Coyle told the media on Tuesday. “The buyout if [Fleck] leaves in year one is a $10 million buyout if he left Minnesota and we guarantee 65 percent of the contract.”
The extension comes before the biggest game in his tenure with the Gophers, a battle of undefeated teams between Minnesota and Penn State. Fleck coached Minnesota to a 5-7 record in his first season and improved to 7-6 in Year 2, highlighted by a victory over Wisconsin — the first time the Gophers beat the Badgers in 15 years.
Now, Fleck is in the midst of his third season at the helm and is trying to keep his squad undefeated against the No. 5 Nittany Lions.
Fleck’s new salary of $4.6 million is a $1 million increase from his current rate and would rank him seventh in the Big Ten for coaches’ salaries, if it were compared with the rates each coach is making this season, according to USA Today.
The increased years should help with recruiting efforts, while the increased buyout number in the first year should work in favor of the school to keep other teams from luring Fleck away to coach at another program.