Big Ten Media days are fun again! For me at least, P.J. Fleck is a breath of fresh air for an event I dreaded having to cover from afar as a Minnesota blogger. Media Days has always been the event where Kill or Claeys was put right before Meyer or Harbaugh. As a result, the media in attendance tried really hard to get the presser over with ASAP and get on to the guy they really wanted to talk to. Add in the fact that nothing of major interest ever seemed to be shared and I found myself more excited to mock Tim Beckman than cover my own team. No longer.
While I wouldn’t claim that today’s Gophers news has been extremely weighty or impactful, it has been fun. And to me, that’s what a giant PR event should be, FUN!
Here’s a quick look at the off-beat things we’ve learned so far.
Coach Fleck continues to be a snappy dresser
P.J. Fleck said he wore this jacket in honor of Sid. Called it his "Sid Hartman jacket." pic.twitter.com/2ESTrXBiXA— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) July 25, 2017
He called it his Sid Jacket.
This is perfection.
Also, as a noted bold pants enthusiast the choice of maroon makes my heart leap with joy. One of my favorite things about media days is the “best dressed” list for the players. Having a coach who is willing to join in only adds to the fun.
He came out of the gate strong
If you’re going to lead off the day, you gotta set the tone. And boy did Fleck set the tone. Here’s a quite list of quotes I loved:
“I'm not sure if this was by design to make me go first by waking everybody up.”
Don’t worry coach, mission accomplished.
“Just want to say hi to my kids -- Gavin, Carter, Paisley and Harper -- at home. They're watching right now. Just want to say hi, and, Harper, quit hitting your sister. Please don't do that anymore.”
I busted out laughing at my desk for this one. The way he said “please don’t do that anymore” was just priceless.
“The biggest challenge [Steven Richardson] had was finding a suit that fit. When you see Steven, he's so wide up top and he's got this little skinny waist.”
YES. The rando college coach ribbing.
“But I don't know what [Being P.J. Fleck] is going to be like. I don't know if this is going to be like the Kardashians or they're going to spin it that way or it's going to be a little bit tamer.”
Topical references are topical.
Numbers are in: P.J. Fleck spoke 2,903 words in 15-min. session. Without removing time for questions, that’s 3.2 words/second. #B1GMediaDay— Brandon Vogel (@brandonlvogel) July 25, 2017
He shaved his head because he lost a bet with his wife
“I lost a bet to my wife, first and foremost,” Fleck told SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner. “And then she’s always said she never wanted me to be a head coach one day that is 10 years past wanting to be able to cut his hair. You know, like, ‘Man, that guy should need to cut his hair.’ I don’t wanna be one of those guys.”
Fleck said he shaved it along with his sons before a family vacation to Disney World this offseason. But he wouldn’t say the terms of the actual wager.
“No. I’ll keep some things a little secret. I did lose, which means always listen to your wife, because she’s probably always right.”
Ok, Fleck really gets me. Hair bets are the best kind of pride bets. I had one with a Badger fan college professor back in 2003 that would have involved him cutting off his shoulder length hair but he backed out. (sigh)
He gets the people going
The STrib had a fun roundup of the media’s reaction to Fleck’s presser on Twitter and all I could think of what this Blades of Glory scene. I know that the “Chazz” element of Fleck’s personality doesn’t work for everyone. But it works for me.
I’ve said it before, but in my opinion following college sports should be fun. It should be a lot of fun. And I’m not afraid to embrace that fun coming from our head coach having a big personality. I loved Coach Kill, but to be honest my favorite Coach Kill moments were when he got goofy. I don’t need “aw shucks” all the time. I’m a goofball at heart and if my team’s coach can be to then I’m all set.
Yes, whether he wins or loses will determine how we feel about Fleck in the long term. But since we we don’t know anything about what will happen yet I’m going to sit back and enjoy this boat ride.