It's only appropriate that P.J. "Row the Boat" Fleck landed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where handing out oars makes a lot of sense.
Fleck arrived at Minnesota in January, replacing Tracy Claeys after the rookie head coach won nine games in a season marred by his support of players involved in sexual assault allegations. Four years ago, no one knew who P.J. Fleck was. He was a 32-year-old former Northern Illinois, Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' assistant who took over a Western Michigan program with just three bowl appearance since 1989 and no 10-win seasons in history.
After transforming the Broncos from a one-win team in 2013 to a 13-win, Cotton-Bowl-playing team in 2016 with remarkable enthusiasm and player development, he's trying to do the same at Minnesota as one of the most visible coaches in America.
"We’re going to be A NAME one day, like, A NAME," he told 247Sports earlier this month. People might not look at us as a powerhouse now, but eventually people will look at us as A if not, THE NAME in college football. That’s our vision and those are the type of people we have to bring in here. Without those people with that vision, there’s no way we can do that.”
And that vision also includes his personal mantra, "Row the Boat", which is splattered around the facilities, marketing materials and now — thanks to Fleck — campus. Fleck, his wife Heather and a couple staffers, cruised around their Minneapolis campus to deliver custom "Row the Boat" oars to local business.