Chart: P.J. Fleck completes Minnesota coaching staff
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday January 15, 2017
P.J. Fleck has quickly completed his full-time staff at Minnesota.
A week after getting the job, he has his nine full-time assistants. Fleck is coming off a 13-1 season at Western Michigan and takes over a Minnesota program coming off nine wins.
Much of the Gopher staff followed Fleck from Kalamazoo, while some others come from various spots. Roles haven't been made official yet, but these are the reported ones. Here’s the 2017 Minnesota staff:
Five full-time coaches have followed from WMU, including four on the offensive side, and MLive reports strength coach Dan Nichol has resigned, meaning he’s expected to join the Gopher staff.
Offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca was a Broyles Award nominee last year and directed a WMU offense that averaged more than 41 points per game this year.
The other offensive coaches followed, including running backs coach Kenni Burns, wide receivers coach Matt Simon, and offensive line coach Brian Callahan, who reportedly will handle tackles and tight ends. Ciarocca and Callahan spent four years at WMU, Simon spent three, and Burns spent one. Special teams coordinator Rob Wenger also spent four years with Fleck.
The lone outside offensive hire is Ed Warinner. At Ohio State, Warinner directed an offense that reached the College Football Playoff this year, but they were shut out by Clemson, and Urban Meyer hinted that changes could come. He stays in the Big Ten, but moves to the West with the Gophers. It's possible he could have a co-offensive coordinator title.
Fleck turned to the SEC for a defensive coordinator, hiring Robb Smith from Arkansas. Smith produced a top-10 scoring defense at Arkansas in in 2014, but it fell in each of the next two years. Smith and Fleck worked together at Rutgers under Greg Schiano, so there’s familiarity there. A linebacker coach hasn't been listedn, but Smith has a background in defensive backs and linebackers.
Fleck also hired Maurice Linguist out of the SEC to coach defensive backs. Linguist spent one year at Mississippi State and previously coached at Iowa State and Buffalo.
Bryce Paup will coach the defensive line. The former NFL defensive player of the year coached high school ball in Wisconsin before joining Northern Iowa as defensive line coach in 2013. Previous linebackers coach Mike Sherels hasn't been retained, but may remain at Minnesota as a 10th assistant, an off-field staffer or in a different athletic department role, per the Star-Tribune.
The Fleck era next fall will begin with games against Buffalo, at Oregon State and Middle Tennessee.
The potential addition of a 10th assistant coach could change things, but for now, keep track of new FBS staffs here.