On UCLA interest, Gophers coach P.J. Fleck says he loves being at Minnesota

20 March 2024

Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck turned a question Wednesday about his name coming up in the UCLA head coaching search back to the U.

“I love being at Minnesota,” Fleck said in a news conference to kick off spring practices. “I don’t know what else to say after that.”

Fleck, who is entering Year 8 at Minnesota, went back to a line he often uses about a desire at Minnesota to have “cultural sustainability.”

Fleck’s name was mentioned immediately when UCLA head coach Chip Kelly left the Bruins and became Ohio State’s offensive coordinator on Feb. 9.

Fleck was considered a top candidate at UCLA, which enters the Big Ten Conference next season. ESPN said more than 10 coaches were interviewed for the position.

During that weekend in early February, Gophers AD Mark Coyle had conversations with Fleck and the U’s Board of Regents on that Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10. Fleck posted on social media that Saturday evening.

“Honored to the Head Football Coach at Minnesota!! Ready for an ELITE 2024 season,” Fleck wrote. “Now, back you our wedding anniversary trip!!” Fleck, 43, is 50-34 at Minnesota, including 6-7 in 2023.

Last week, the U’s board of regents approved a contract amendment for Fleck that includes $5.7 million in annual retention bonuses over the next six years of his deal.

Fleck’s annual salary remains at $6 million per year, and he will now receive a $700,000 bonus on Dec. 31, 2024. That bonus goes up $100,000 each year to reach $1.2 million in the final year of his contract (2029).

RELATED: Check out details of Fleck’s new bonus and buyout structure. 

Fleck’s buyout, if he were to leave for another coaching job or  move into broadcasting, increases to $7 million from $5 million for 2024, per the amendment.

The Gophers will play UCLA in the Rose Bowl in October.

“Told you we would go to the Rose Bowl,” Fleck joked.

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