The Athletic article on P.J.


Well-known member
Oct 11, 2015
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Again with the sixth grade teacher thing...he was for about enough time for a cup of coffee.


Active member
Nov 12, 2008
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Again with the sixth grade teacher thing...he was for about enough time for a cup of coffee.
Seems to have bee enough time to create a real impression on him.

Here's the opening of the article. The quoted part is a VERY small part of a very long article.

"MINNEAPOLIS — Sixteen months after getting hired at the nation’s sixth-largest campus, the former sixth-grade social studies teacher is talking about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and how the New Deal brought this country out of the Great Depression.

He is talking about Winston Churchill, the British Bulldog, and how he saved London even after so many people had given up on him. He is talking about Gen. George Patton, and how he brought tank warfare to World War I.

He is talking about Rosa Parks, about Gandhi, about Harriet Tubman — “It’s amazing what she did and the amount of successful trips she had on the underground railroad and how many times she was never caught. But the risk that she took to save other people …”

There are lessons about Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., about John F. Kennedy and Oprah Winfrey. Tutorials on Jackie Robinson and Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. There is even an explanation — amazingly, a necessary one — for why George Washington is on the wall that greets visitors inside this newly minted office.

“It’s amazing. The kids sit there and say: ‘Yeah, that’s the Geico commercial,’ ” P.J. Fleck says. “Nah, that’s our first president crossing the Delaware.”

Cue the eye-rolls from rival recruiters, the tsk-tsks from the traditionalists. In January, Fleck’s Minnesota program moved into the David and Janis Larson Football Performance Center, which comprises one-third of the school’s $166 million, 336,000-square foot Athletes Village. Literally, figuratively and financially, this complex is a far cry from the half-offices, half-luxury boxes inside Western Michigan’s Waldo Stadium that Fleck and his crew inhabited less than two years ago. (And those were actually impressive by Mid-American Conference standards.)

The second-youngest coach in the country wanted his new digs to project some of the same themes of his old ones. Instead of hand-slapped letters making up one of his favorite mottos — Who’s glad? How glad? Who’s mad? How mad? — Fleck had the creed plastered as part of a massive lamination facing him across from his desk. Long obsessed with presidents, he made a handful of them a part of this wall-sized mock-up, one that features pictures of those whom he calls 19 of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, from all walks of life.

His WMU office already had the feel of a junior-high classroom, so why not expand upon that? Personal and program accolades would be featured as they are practically everywhere else, sure, but how could he share his personal interests with the recruits and parents who are most likely to take note?....
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