This addresses the question of why do it now, after getting pantsed by the Nerds and likely getting pureed by the team from the East: you can pretty safely bet Fleck will have the plane gassed up and on the runway for recruiting visits within 90 minutes of helping the team re-atomize themselves after being reduced to quarks on Saturday. It may not be a big deal to me or you, but optically it’s an important selling point Fleck can take on the road with him now that wouldn’t be there but for today’s announcement. And we need all the selling points we can get at this point. The timing of this is hugely important given the new early signing period – the less reason our top recruits have to bail, the better. AND, he can make many of the same assurances to the 2019 class (hey, Hank!), the recruiting of which will begin in earnest next week (yo, Max!).
Second, and I know this will be hard for many of you to digest, Fleck is a coach that is in demand. He’s won big at previous destinations, is young, dynamic, can recruit and has a national brand. Yes, five wins this season is less than what we were hoping for; but from the outside looking in, ADs at programs looking for a coach will see that winning hasn’t exactly been a given for coaches at Minnesota and believe they can snag him with the promise of a better opportunity to win championships and secure his employment for the long term. Coyle’s extension of Fleck’s contract mitigates that risk for this offseason.
This is not Coyle being bullied. This is not a sign of panic or doubling down on a bad decision. This is good business. You may not like Fleck’s style. You may not care for his tone regarding culture. You may be very upset with some of the performances this season. The fact of the matter is, other teams were going to try to poach him, the idea of which creates uncertainty around the program and the AD as a whole. Uncertainty is very bad for business. Coyle eliminated that uncertainty with the extension this morning and business can now return to normal.
That’s all I’ll say about the extension. If you want to freak out about it, more power to you. You’ll get side eye from me for going Chernobyl about that when we’re about to get piston-dicked by our most hated rival for the 275th time in a row. But I’ll be so high on duster nothing will matter except cheese curds and hallucinating that we won the Axe, I’ll probably just ignore you anyway.