Let’s Flecking Go! A Row the Boat Story
The boys at ProMathletics have a serious Bromance and admiration for PJ Fleck. We spotted the fearless boat captain’s talent well before the 13-0 season at WMU and the mini-series “Being PJ Fleck” aired. Speaking of, if you are not watching Being PJ Fleck, you are doing yourself a disservice as an American, a man, and a football fan. Seriously, find 2 hours and binge watch the 4 episodes. It may very well change your life, and at a minimum give you an admiration for a man that most players would kill to play for. Warning: if you watch this with your significant other he will start a small fire in her panties and you’ll be Flecking by the end of the first episode.
After a full immersion in the world of Phillip John Fleck, you’ll likely want to cure cancer, fight crime, run through a wall, take up coaching, and Row that f*cking Boat! The most amazing thing about him as a coach and person is the story. Like most of the great talents in this game, they made it on their own from their personal drive and ability to overcome challenges and adversity in life. He wasn’t given a head coaching job after a stellar career as an assistant, or handed it because of his involvement with a big program and high profile resume. He landed the WMU job because he coaches and demands, and his players prepare and perform.
PJ is no different then you and I, and is responsible for his own course in life. He’s a small town guy from Maple Park, IL that lead his high school football team to back to back undefeated and state championship seasons. After a stellar High School career, he only received one Division 1 scholarship, and that was to Northern Illinois, a program at the time that was coming off a 2-9 campaign. By the time PJ left, they went on to win the MAC, get as high as # 12 in the AP poll, and he left his name in the record books as one of the schools all-time great receivers. A short NFL career led him back to the college coaching gridiron and eventually on to the Head coach at WMU.
In his time at Western Michigan, he took a program from 1-11 in his first year to 13-1 by his 4th season. They won the MAC for the first time since 1988, participated in a big time bowl game for the first time in school history, and produced arguably (on paper) the greatest receiver in NCAA history in Corey Davis. The MAC is no stranger to producing great coaches in the early stages of their careers. PJ joins Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, and Brian Kelly as former MAC head coaches who left for bigger jobs. Not sure if you noticed but besides Dabo Sweeney and Jimbo Fisher, that list includes the top 5 coaches in the game at the moment. PJ has the markings of the next big time coach in college football.
He’s a players’ coach, not an arrogant figured head like the impeccable douche down in Tuscaloosa. He cares deeply about making a player’s time in a program something extremely memorable, impactful, and most importantly, bigger then themselves. It’s not very often you see a Big Ten head coach, his wife, and some of their best players spending one of their off days in the pediatric oncology unit giving patients coins of prayer and Row the Boat motivational talks. This guy is a special and generational talent that is far more then a football coach, he’s the face of what football is really all about…winning on the field and in life! I’m not talking about the Charlie Sheen type of winning, I’m talking about the good, humble, and meaningful winning that makes you get out of bed every morning.
PJ inherits a Minnesota team coming off an 8-4 season that end with some political and coaching turmoil. That has quickly been cleaned up and swept under the rug. He’s already landed some talented recruits and a monster transfer in OJ Smith from Alabama. This program is on a rocket ship of destiny to a winning season and more. I’m not ready to say take them to win the National Championship, at least not this year, but I would bet that they make the playoff in the very near future, and win the BIG Ten West by the end of his 3rd Season.
They open the season at home this week against Buffalo. The current line of (-25) certainly has to make you think. That’s the same Buffalo team that lost 38-0 to his Broncos last year in Kalamazoo in the middle of a snow storm! Buffalo is coming off a 2-9 season and continues to be the perpetual doormat of the MAC. The Buffalo offense last year averaged 16.5 ppg, that was good for 124th of 128 teams. Should be a nice Minnesota early fall day and the unveiling of a sleeping giant in the Golden Gophers. We haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but we highly doubt PJ’s going to let us down in his BIG Ten debut.