Kirk Ciarrocca Turns Back on PJ Fleck (Again) and Leaves for Penn State

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What a shitty weekend for Minnesota sports and now it just got worse. I’ll never understand why these college coaching hires can’t wait until the offseason but apparently taking this new job across the street of the Big Ten, just 5 days before the biggest bowl game in 60 years, was an absolute necessity for Kirk Ciarrocca. Even worse, I have ad partners trying to sign us right now so I can’t even swear while I type this. As a media member for this team I might regret everything I type in here anyways so F it. The Gophers knew what they got when they brought me on… I’m a fan who covers his teams like the fan that he is. So, let’s rip our ex-OC.

Bullshit. That’s what this looks like.

Kirk Ciarrocca is one of the best offensive coordinators in all of college football and he’s been with PJ Fleck for all 6 years of his head coaching career. In fact, PJ Fleck saved Kirk Ciarrocca after he was fired from Rutgers because his offense was so bad that New Jersey’s Big Ten team didn’t even want him. His offense that season, finished 114th in the country. But PJ still trusting Kirk and hired him as his offensive coordinator at Western Michigan before the 2013 season. There’s nobody PJ trusted more (to a fault). They stayed together through last season but now, Kirk can’t even stick around for an extra week so he can call plays in the Outback Bowl.

In trying to figure out why Ciarrocca would leave, outside of switching for a “better” helmet, I found that Kirk grew up a Penn State fan and that he has family in the area. I don’t care. Finish what you start. I’d be less upset if he left after the bowl game… though admittedly, I still wouldn’t be happy. I get wanting to be close to home but that’s not the life of a college football coach. If that’s your priority, coach high school or a D-3 team. I think one of the reasons why this rubs me in all of the wrong areas, is because Minnesota now seems like Kirk’s backup plan. He was so close to leaving for West Virginia last offseason that the announcement was actually made, before he pulled back and decided to stay.

After so much success in 2019 and most of his offense returning, I thought Ciarrocca would stick around. Lol, look who’s an idiot now. Me.

This isn’t a promotion for Kirk. He’s taking the same job at Penn State and I doubt the University of Minnesota wasn’t willing to pay what was needed to convince him to stay. If not, then our University and Mark Coyle aren’t as far along in wanting to win as I thought.

You know what though? Fine (this was a swear word). It’s hard to sell your current kids or those of the future, on Minnesota being the only place to be, when your Offensive Coordinator (and supposed right-hand man) is trying to jump ship at every opportunity.. I have no problem with coaches leaving for promotions. A lateral move to a Big Ten team that finished with a worse record, lost to us, and plays in the east vs Ohio State every year…. isn’t a promotion. It’s the move of a guy who never really wanted to be here.

So, good riddance.

Where the Gophers go from here is the next question…

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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