2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search Favorites: #3 Phillip John "PJ" Fleck
Candidate Tier: MAC, Realistic, Semi-Stretch, Favorites, Rowboatest, and Insane. All of the above.
Overall Rank: #3
Who Is He?
PJ Fleck demands that you row the GD, MFing boat. Row it. ROW ITTTTTT!!
Fleck is a certifiably crazy person but he is just so much damn fun. As our own Boilerdowd put it, yes, he’d be intriguing, but he’s all motivation, right? Does he have the recruiting skills or X’s and O’s ability to compete in the Big Ten against world class recruiters and coaches? Hard say, but damn if his players don’t respond to him at Western Michigan.
PJ is just 35 right now and is in his fourth season as head coach. He went 1-11 in his first year, then 8-5, 8-5 and is now 7-0. He also demands that you row the boat, as mentioned, a mantra that makes little sense for the “Broncos” and would be equally weird for a place with a locomotive as its mascot. Regardless, we’d all be excited to see what he’d do next and if wins followed, we’d all be rowing over to our checkbooks.
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
Because he would energize fans, alums, players, staff, absolutely everyone. He’d work hard and would have more resources (yes, even at Purdue) than he does at WMU. And if this season continues on the track it’s on, recruits will see his success and want to play for the young, fun, successful energetic guy. He’ll be able to tap into the “overlooked” guys who want to put it in Michigan’s face, for example. That’s how Joe Tiller succeeded – that and an innovative offense. Fleck will need the right assistants, which he’ll have the budget for.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
He’s still not that experienced and it’s a tall order to go from competing against MAC rivals to competing, again, against crazy Harbaugh, Urban, Dantonio, etc. He’s another MAC hire which is what Darrell Hazell was. So while he’s in the pool that Purdue swims in, he might be like some of their other bargain hires.
Would he come to Purdue?
Yes, it’s certainly possible. As you’ll hear us point out again and again, for guys wanting a Power 5 job, there are only so many that become available each year. For 2017, it looks like the only Big Ten job will be in West Lafayette, so that alone helps increase the potential odds. He also makes only $392,000 per season, so one would assume that a bump to, say, $2M would make him even more crazy to motivate guys. Point is, he’s in the budget. All depends on if other schools start driving that price up.