P. J. Fleck
|P. J. Fleck|
November 29, 1980 |
Sugar Grove, Illinois
|Alma mater||Northern Illinois University|
|Northern Illinois (NCAA)
San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Ohio State (GA)
Northern Illinois (WR)
Northern Illinois (OC)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WR)
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
* All-MAC wide receiver (2003)
Phillip John Fleck (born November 29, 1980) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head coach at Western Michigan University. Fleck played as a wide receiver for Northern Illinois University from 1999 to 2003, and the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL from 2004 to 2005.
Fleck started his playing career at Kaneland High School located in Maple Park, Illinois where he helped the Knights win back to back, undefeated state championships in 1997 and 1998. He set a state record with 95 catches for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. For his career, Fleck caught 199 passes for 3,121 yards and 34 scores with at least one catch in 40 straight games. Fleck also lettered in varsity track and basketball.
Upon graduation, Fleck attended Northern Illinois University where he played wide receiver under head coach Joe Novak. As a senior, he led the Huskies with 77 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns, a reception total that still ranks second on the school's single-season list. Fleck still owns the school record for career punt returns (87), is second in punt return yards (716), ranks third in career catches (179) and is fourth in receiving yards (2,162). He was a second team Academic All-American as a senior and was twice voted team captain by his Huskie teammates.
Fleck was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco 49ers following the 2004 NFL Draft. 49ers head coach Dennis Erickson labeled Fleck a "frickin' warrior" during the first days of rookie training camp. Fleck spent a majority of the 2004 season on the 49ers practice squad before being promoted to the 53 man roster and appearing in the 49ers' final game of the season. Playing special teams, he registered a tackle and returned one punt for ten yards Fleck spent the 2005 season on injured reserve after suffering a significant shoulder injury during the preseason. In the summer of 2006, Fleck was released by the 49ers. The day he was released, 49ers head coach Mike Nolan noted that coaching could be in Fleck's future, stating "If that's something he wants to do, I think he'd be very good at it."
Assistant coaching career
Fleck began his coaching career in 2006 as an offensive graduate assistant at Ohio State University under head coach Jim Tressel. He worked directly with the Buckeyes' tight ends and assisted with the special teams.
In 2007, Fleck was hired by Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak as wide receivers coach, replacing Carnelius Cruz. Fleck was retained as wide receivers coach by new head coach Jerry Kill in 2008.
On February 2, 2012, he was hired as the offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois University. Coach Dave Doeren said the following about Fleck's hiring, "We spoke at length about why this is the right place for him. It was very evident to me that he bleeds NIU, and he would have tremendous pride and passion working not just for me, but for the university to help continue what we started last year, and really what he started here as a player. His recruiting abilities and passing game expertise, working alongside Coach Carey as our run game coordinator, will be a great combination for our offense." Just one day later, on February 3, 2012, Fleck abruptly resigned the NIU position to accept a position as wide receivers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. The move reunited him with Schiano, who had recently left Rutgers for the Buccaneers head coaching job.
Head coaching career
On December 17, 2012, Western Michigan University announced the hiring of Fleck as the new head coach, making him the youngest head coach and the first ever head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of college football born in the 1980s. Fleck signed a five-year contract worth $392,000 per season that includes an assistant coaches' salary pool of $825,000. The previous head coach, Bill Cubit, earned $375,000 per year with an assistants' salary pool of $723,000. With the increased budget, Fleck intends to hire a dedicated recruiting coordinator – a first for the WMU football program. Other candidates expressing interest in the job included Syracuse defensive coordinator (and later head coach) Scott Shafer, and Kent State offensive coordinator Brian Rock, both former WMU assistants. WMU had also been in contact with Indiana State head coach Trent Miles and North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl, both of whom declined interest or withdrew from consideration
One of Fleck's first actions as head coach was to rescind scholarship offers to incoming players who had verbally committed to Western Michigan. The withdraws occurred weeks before the national signing day, and left players unable to arrange other division I scholarships as slots were already filled at other schools. "I know if it was me, I would be ticked," Fleck said of the players who had scholarship offers pulled. "I also know if it was me, I would have showed up in the office of the head football coach, telling him I was dying to still be here." Fleck started his position during a dead period when recruits are not allowed to have face-to-face contact with coaches.
Fleck made headlines in early 2013 when he and his wife Tracie participated in a polar bear plunge held on the Western Michigan campus. The event raised funds for the Michigan Special Olympics, and led Holly Anderson of Sports Illustrated to proclaim Fleck as "the best new hire" for 2013, if only for generating interest in the program.
Fleck's first season as Broncos head coach resulted in a final record of 1–11 (1–7 MAC). It was the worst season since 2004, when the Broncos went 1–10 (0–7 MAC). Injuries, youth and inexperience, discipline, and execution led to poor play. Low-lights included a home loss to Nicholls State, a blowout loss to Iowa, and a homecoming loss to Buffalo. The team improved their play late in the season, with a road win against UMass, and close home losses to in-state rivals Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.
Head coaching record
|Western Michigan Broncos (Mid-American Conference) (2013–present)|
|2013||Western Michigan||1–11||1–7||t-5th (West)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.|
Fleck is a 2004 graduate of Northern Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Fleck is married to the former Tracie Striebel. The couple has a son, Carter Joseph (C. J.), and a daughter, Paisley. Paisley was born on December 17, 2012, the same day Fleck was announced as the new coach at Western Michigan University. Their 2nd child, a son named Colt, passed away shortly after birth because of a heart condition.
Fleck and his wife annually host the P. J. Fleck "Live Your Dream" Football Camp that benefits the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation (Friends of Carra), Alopecia Foundation (Locks of Love), Coach Kill's Cancer Fund, and the P. J. Fleck Scholarship Fund.
- "Western Michigan hires P.J. Fleck as new football coach". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- "NIU Bio P.J. Fleck". Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- "49ers | Fleck Making Impression in Camp – NFL Hot off the Wire". Kffl.com. August 18, 2004. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- P.J. Fleck (1980-11-29). "P.J. Fleck: Game Logs at". Nfl.com. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "P.J. Fleck NFL Football Statistics". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "P.J. Fleck latest news and rumors". Kffl.com. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Archive". Daily Chronicle. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- "Fleck, Uremovich Return to NIU as Doeren Completes Coaching Staff". Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- "Blog Archive » The Influence Of P.J. Fleck – Tampa Bay Bucs Football". JoeBucsFan.com. August 8, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- Courtesy WMU Athletic Media Relations (November 1, 2011). "New Western Michigan football coach P.J. Fleck brings an 'upbeat' style to Broncos". MLive.com. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- "Western Herald – P.J. Fleck annouced as 15th WMU head football coach". Westernherald.com. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- Matt Gade (November 1, 2011). "WMU football coach P.J. Fleck will make slightly more than Bill Cubit; AD vows six-figure increase in assistants' salary pool". MLive.com. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- "Scott Shafer to take over for Doug Marrone at Syracuse, reports say". Espn.go.com. January 10, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- Michigan Set your local edition ». "Report that Western Michigan had hired Indiana State football coach Trent Miles denied by WMU AD Kathy Beauregard and Miles". MLive.com. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "New coach, no scholarship: 'I'm sorry, we don't want you,' is first thing Indy-area recruit told". April 29, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- Watson, Graham (June 5, 2013). "Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck takes the polar plunge for charity". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "The Switzies: Awards for college football's 'best' in the 2013 offseason". College-football.si.com. May 10, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "P.J. Fleck Profile". Niuhuskies.com. Retrieved December 19, 2012.