Western Michigan will have a tough row to hoe — or boat to row, as the case may be — in retaining their outstanding young head coach, a possibility the university’s president has publicly acknowledged.
Outside of Houston’s Tom Herman, P.J. Fleck will likely be the hottest young commodity on the coaching carousel in the coming weeks — and rightly so. WMU, at 7-0, is off to its best start since 1941, and ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in its history.
Fleck will undoubtedly have his share of suitors as the carousel picks up speed over the next month, and has already been mentioned as a possibility at Purdue. During an interview earlier this week, WMU president John Dunn was seemingly resigned to losing the 35-year-old head coach to someone at some point in the not-too-distant future.
“Whatever ultimately happens we wish him (the best) as well as we’ll recover and move on,” Dunn, who is set to retire in June of 2017, said according to mlive.com. “I think the commitments we’ve made to P.J., I think he appreciates deeply and he’ll be very thoughtful and he’ll be very fair.”
At $800,000 Fleck is already the highest-paid head coach in the MAC. When speaking of bumping up that pay in an attempt to entice the coach to stay, Dunn responded that he’s “quite confident those conversations have occurred already.” That’s all well and good, but any Power Five program that chases Fleck would be able to triple or even quadruple what the coach is currently making or what he would be making with an enhanced package from WMU.
Dunn, then, is hoping the current situation appeals to Fleck’s non-monetary side.
“The idea that money is important, we never want to negate or argue against that, but there’s also a quality of life and a level of happiness,” said the president.
Nice try, Mr. President. And prepare your goodbyes accordingly.