P.J. Fleck, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers coach, was introduced as Western Michigan University’s new head football coach to the media and members of the WMU family at a press conference earlier this afternoon by President John Dunn and Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard.
“This process has been energetic and exhausting…but this is what we had to do to find the right leader,” said Beauregard.
Fleck succeeds Bill Cubit to become the 15th coach in program history. At 32 he is currently the youngest head coach in major college football.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be your 15th head football coach here at Western Michigan University,” said Fleck. “I will do everything in my power and my staff and our community, we will do everything we possibly can to bring success on the field and off the field, and I promise you that.”
Fleck will finish out the season with the Buccaneers before permanently relocating to Kalamazoo. He said that once he gets here he will act swiftly to hire an offensive and defensive coordinator. Fleck already has a list of candidates for these positions.
Previous experience within the Mid American Conference as both a player and assistant coach will give Fleck a unique perspective on his new job. Fleck was a wide receiver at Northern Illinois University before spending time on their coaching staff.
Having formerly recruited against Western Michigan, Fleck is aware of the challenges he will face recruiting for the Broncos. He said he also knows the benefits of his new school and how some of these can help him attract potential recruits.
Fleck said that he heard a great deal about the Haworth College of Business while recruiting against WMU, and that he now plans to use that to his advantage. He also spoke about Waldo Stadium and said that his wife loves the entrance from high above the field and how it is nestled into the hillside. Fleck said that out of all the college and professional stadiums he has been in, Waldo in one of the most unique.
The Sugar Grove, Ill. native was raised in the Mid West and has a plan to recruit players from the area. He wants to recruit primarily within a six-hour radius of Kalamazoo. He said the main reason for this is so that friends and family members of the student athletes will be able to come to Waldo and watch their loved ones play. He hopes this will grow and strengthen the fandom for Bronco Football.
Fleck is a family man himself with a wife and two kids. Tracie, his wife, just gave birth to their daughter, Paisley, last night. The couple also has a boy they call C.J.
“My son Carter, little Bronco, he went from saying ‘go Bucs’, to ‘go Broncos’ in about 10 minutes,” said Fleck.
During his introductory remarks Fleck was energetic and enthusiastic, bordering on aggressive. The press conference had the feeling of being in a football locker room at halftime while the coach is giving an impassioned speech to rally his players.
Fleck was indeed trying to rally the assembled crowd, numbering approximately 200, and said that it is his responsibility as well as those in the room to see that Waldo Stadium is filled to capacity during every WMU home game.
Fleck’s first game as head coach will be Aug. 31, in East Lansing, Mich. when the Broncos take on the Michigan State Spartans.