FINAL UPDATE 7:35 AM CT
Several media organizations in the Twin Cities are reporting that the Gophers are very near to finalizing a deal with Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck to become the next Gopher Football head coach. The rumors began earlier this afternoon that a deal was getting closer and closer, and the rumors got seriously hot and heavy about 6:00 PM when KSTP’s Joe Schmit tweeted the following:
There are a lot of rumors out there but I believe that PJ Fleck will be named the Gopher head coach tomorrow..— Joe Schmit (@JoeSchmitKSTP) January 6, 2017
Schmit was the media member who first reported that Mark Coyle and Eric Kaler among others had flown to Chicago yesterday to meet with at least Fleck’s agent, if not Fleck himself. Several people did question Schmit’s report, so to try and prove his credibility, he then tweeted out this:
By the way if you want to check the record, I was the guy who broke the Jerry Kill story when he became the head coach.— Joe Schmit (@JoeSchmitKSTP) January 6, 2017
Then approximately 9:00 PM Joe Christensen of the Star Tribute tweeted out a link to an article where he states that Minnesota was closing in on a deal with Fleck with a potential announcement on Friday, but that the contract was not yet finalized.
Then, just three minutes later at 9:03, Fox 9 dropped the most definitive tweet of the day/night.
FOX 9 has learned through multiple sources that PJ Fleck has a tentative agreement with #Gophers to be the next head coach. 6-yr, $21M range— FOX 9 Sports (@Fox9Sports) January 6, 2017
Of course the word tentative is key in that tweet, but that is the strongest language we have seen from a Twin Cities media source that a deal is very very near.
We will keep an eye out for any other confirmation by any other Twin Cities sources, but it is looking more and more likely that PJ Fleck will be announced as the next coach of the Gopher Football program sometime on Friday.
UPDATE: 11:55 PM CT
Multiple western Michigan local news sources are also putting out reports that seem to suggest Fleck is coming to MN.
ITS OFFICIAL: PJ Fleck is leaving WMU for Minnesota head coach position.— WZZM 13 On Your Side (@wzzm13) January 6, 2017
SOURCES: Fleck to Minny done deal. WMU players held players only meeting Thurs. night and they are NOT happy. Some feel used and betrayed...— Jamal Spencer (@JamalWZZM13) January 6, 2017
Multiple players felt Fleck preached "Those that stay will be champions" but they were upset because he jumped ship the second they lost. https://t.co/voG4GbjGsL— Jamal Spencer (@JamalWZZM13) January 6, 2017
Multiple players say they didnt bail when they only won 1 game. Fleck preached staying together and they feel hurt he left as soon as he did https://t.co/gqRheet5Js— Jamal Spencer (@JamalWZZM13) January 6, 2017
Two different national media sources disagree (Rittenburg and Bruce Feldman had tweets drop at the same minute saying they heard no deal yet) so we’re officially into MN/WI local media vs. national media.
This doesn’t have to mean one is wrong. The national media tweets being so well timed suggests a single leak to multiple outlets. Could be Fleck’s agent angling for a final piece to the deal or something else. Or it could be bad news. We won’t know until we know. For now though, I (GoAUpher) am feeling pretty good still.
UPDATE 12:01 AM CT
More from MN...
Confirmation out of Kalamazoo that players meeting at W. Michigan were notified tonight of Fleck's departure and are obviously distraught— Eric Perkins (@PerkatPlay) January 6, 2017
UPDATE 7:00 AM CT
Overnight there was some drama as Fleck’s wife tweeted out that the players hadn’t met. The tweet was deleted. A Detroit newspaper reporter also said he heard no deal overnight. Then this AM, Pete Thamel from SI had this:
And then KFAN had this:
According to KFAN, the announcement should come around 9am CT. Sooooooooo...we’ll see.