Educator in Residence P.J. Fleck to share lessons of football, life in March 3 talk

BleedGopher

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per NIU Today:

P.J. Fleck will never forget his semester as a student-teacher at Clinton Rosette Middle School.

It was Spring 2004, and the wide receiver for the NIU Huskies football team had tried to postpone that classroom immersion – he was training for his shot at the NFL, after all – but Professor Pamela Farris put her foot down.

Her words to Fleck were to the point.

“She said, ‘No, you’re not. You’re finishing school,’ ” says Fleck, who earned his B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education that May, “and if you knew Pam Farris, you know that you did what she said.”

And so began a period when Fleck rented two apartments, the one he still had in DeKalb and the one in Oak Brook where he actually slept.


Each morning, the future head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers rose at 4 a.m. for his first workout of the day. By 5:20 a.m., he was driving to DeKalb to begin a full day of student-teaching around 6:45 a.m.

When school dismissed in the afternoon, Fleck hopped back in the car, returning to Oak Brook for his afternoon workout. He followed that with planning for the next school day – and the next school week – before a final nighttime workout and five hours of sleep before it all began again.

That schedule “tested my commitment,” he says, but his perseverance throughout those months confirmed to him that he could return whatever life punted his way.

“I’m going to be prepared if I go to the NFL, and then I’m also going to be prepared if I’m going to be an educator and teach,” Fleck remembers thinking. “That’s why I feel like I can handle anything – because of what I went through as a student-teacher.”

Fleck would go on to accomplish both, of course.

He signed as a free agent in 2004 with the San Francisco 49ers and played pro ball for two seasons in the City by the Bay, and, throughout a coaching career that began in 2006 at Ohio State, he has taught the skills of football and life to hundreds of young men.

Now Fleck, named the NIU College of Education’s Spring 2021 Educator in Residence, will talk about “Winning in Football, Winning in Life” during a free, online keynote address from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 3. → RSVP online!


Go Gophers!!
 

#2Gopher

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I doubt that most people would have done both. They would have clearly done one or the other. This was a commitment.
 
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