PJ Fleck and Coaching Staff Receive Raises from University of Minnesota

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Minnesota
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers are coming off of their worst season since PJ Fleck’s second year as head coach. So when many across the college football world, including inside the Gopher football fanbase, hear word that the 7-year head coach and his staff got a raise today, eyebrows will raise. Here is start of the memo sent out by the University of Minnesota to Gopher media members:

The University of Minnesota and head football coach P.J. Fleck have agreed to a contract amendment, pending Board of Regents approval.

The contract amendment calls for an increased salary pool for assistant coaches and staff and adds an annual bonus for Fleck.

U of M Athletic Dept.

So, what kind of raise are we looking at? According to Regents documents obtained by local freelance writer Eric Vegoe (The Athletic, MN Hockey Mag, among others), Fleck’s increase in salary comes via yearly bonuses that start at $700K this year and run through 2029, where his final scheduled bonus is worth $1.2 million. Of course, PJ would either be fired, hired away or extended long before we ever get to that point.

PJ Fleck Receives Raise Through Bonuses

Essentially, as long as Fleck is employed under this contract and its new amendment, he will get year-over-year raises worth an average of about $1 million. This year’s bonus will make PJ Fleck the 9th (out of 18) highest paid head coach in the Big Ten and it will hit in two different payments.

Related: PJ Fleck, UCLA Wanted Each Other but Shambled Program Could Not Afford Him

The first one is worth $350,000 and it hits in exactly one week (March 8). The second comes on December 31 and it’s worth the same amount. From there, his bonus increases by nearly $1 million at the end of every year.

  • 2024: $700,000 ($350,000 on March 8 + $350,000 on December 31); 
  • 2025: $800,000 (Dec. 31)
  • 2026: $900,000 (Dec. 31)
  • 2027: $1,000,000 (Dec. 31)
  • 2028: $1,100,000 (Dec. 31)
  • 2029: $1,200,000 (Dec. 31)

Fleck’s new bonus system comes on the heels of reports a couple of weeks ago that Fleck might leave Minnesota for UCLA. We’ve learned since that those rumors were no joke and it wouldn’t surprise me if this contract amendment is directly correlated to what almost was with the Bruins.

Minnesota Gophers Assistant Staff Gets Small Raise Too

It’s no secret that Minnesota Gophers assistant coaches are underpaid and it’s become an ongoing problem for PJ Fleck each of the last two offseasons, as he has seen both his offensive and defensive coordinators ditch town for better paying Big Ten jobs at Rutgers and Michigan State, respectively.

While this contract amendment gives them a $500K raise to the assistant pool, Minnesota moves up just three spots from dead last to 15th in the conference. For context, former OC Kirk Ciarrocca and former DC Joe Rossi received individual $400K-$500K raises when they were hired away by Big Ten rival schools.

Related: Are Minnesota Gophers Assistant Football Coaches Underpaid? The Contracts Say…

Fleck ranks 5th all-time in program history with 50 total wins (29 conference wins). His .595 win percentage (50-34) is third best among head coaches in University of Minnesota football history, with at least 45 games coached. Henry L. Williams’ .786 (1900-21) and Bernie Bierman’s .716 (1932-41, ‘45-50) are the only two tenured coaches who were better at winning games than PJ. The Gophers are also 5-0 in bowl games under Fleck.

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