Michigan State Interested in PJ Fleck as Next Head Coach
PJ Fleck and the Minnesota Gophers will play in Evanston, IL on Saturday night vs the Northwestern Wildcats, in what they hope will be a rebound victory, after they suffered their first loss of the 2023 season in week 3, vs North Carolina.
It’s a swing game in the Gophers season. If they win, Minnesota will go into its final non-conference game vs Louisiana as a 3-1 team, with all of its 2023 goals still ripe for the taking. A loss vs a crumbling Northwestern program would send the fanbase and local media into full-panic mode.
Michigan State interested in PJ Fleck as their next head coach?
But the more important Dinkytown development, this week, involves the long-term future of the Minnesota Gophers football program and arises from the ashes created on the eastern side of the Big Ten, in East Lansing, where Michigan State head football coach, Mel Tucker, was just fired.
According to insider reports, both nationally and locally, Michigan State interested in PJ Fleck as their new head coach. Not only did The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman include Fleck in his list of Spartans’ potential replacement candidates earlier this week, PJ was the only one his sources indicated real interest in, from the Spartans side.
Word is the Spartans have some interest in Fleck, who has done a nice job bringing a lot of stability to a program that was reeling when he left Western Michigan. The 42-year-old is 46-28 at Minnesota, and that includes an 11-2 season and a top-10 finish in 2019. He has a good job in the Big Ten, but it’s worth noting that MSU is a program that has reached the College Football Playoff before so it wouldn’t shock us if he’d consider it.Bruce Feldman – The Athletic
On Thursday, local insider Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP) told the Mackey & Judd podcast that Michigan State is expected to come for PJ Fleck as their next head coach. It may not lead to anything more than another pay raise for Fleck at Minnesota, but they’re interested over in East Lansing, nonetheless.
“Michigan State will need to hire a head football coach after [Mel Tucker’s firing]. I’m just telling you, connecting some dots, that there is Spartan’s interest in PJ Fleck. Now, to me, what the end game can be here is Brian Harland, Fleck’s agent, can find a way to get the [University of Minnesota] to pay him more.”Darren Wolfson – Mackey & Judd (SKOR North)
Michigan State interested in PJ Fleck: Should Gopher fans worry?
Of all the opportunities PJ Fleck could take, in order to leave the University of Minnesota, I’m not sure Michigan State would be his choice. In that sense, I agree with Doogie. Most likely, Fleck and his agent will use the Spartans interest to get a pay raise at the U of M.
With that being said, PJ started his head coaching career at Western Michigan so he has a strong in-state connection and an established recruiting pipeline that shouldn’t be overlooked. This is definitely something to monitor as the season moves forward.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan