P.J. Fleck offers soft landing for 3 of Kyle Flood's Rutgers assistants at Minnesota
Three former Rutgers coaches who were out of work in 2016 following the dismissal of Kyle Flood and all his assistants have resurfaced in smaller roles at Big Ten rival Minnesota.
Norries Wilson, who was Flood's assistant head coach and offensive line coach, is the latest to join P.J. Fleck's staff, as first reported last week by CoachingSearch.com. He is the Director of Player Development, overseeing the day-to-day operation for the football student-athletes and working in conjunction with the coaching, recruiting, academic and communication staffs.
For Wilson, it's an opportunity to return to his alma mater, where he was a captain and two-year starter in the 1980s. He also wrestled for the Gophers and broke into coaching as a graduate assistant on the football staff in 1989-90.
Fleck, who was Rutgers wide receivers coach in 2010-11, has surrounded himself with other former colleagues from Piscataway.
The former Western Michigan coach brought offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca -- a candidate for the 2016 Broyles Award -- and wide receivers coach Matt Simon along with him when he made the move.
Ciarrocca was Rutgers offensive coordinator in 2009-10, while Simon was at Rutgers working in player development and coaching wide recevers from 2012-13.
Fleck's big addition was landing former Rutgers and Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith to call plays for his defense. Smith left Rutgers after the 2012 season -- when the defense fueled the run to a Big East co-championship -- to join Schiano with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While the New England Patriots are "Rutgers North," Minnesota could earn the nickname "Rutgers West." The schools don't meet again until 2019 in Piscataway.