According to multiple news reports, Western Michigan University is expected to hire Buccaneers wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck as its new head coach. Fleck, 32, would be the youngest head coach in the FBS.
Fresh off a 41-0 loss at New Orleans on Sunday, the Buccaneers appear to
be poised to suffer another loss on Monday as Western Michigan
University is poised to hire wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck. The
Kalamazoo Gazette first reported Fleck's hiring and it was confirmed by
CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman.
Fleck is expected to replace Bill Cubit, who was fired after eight seasons and for going 4-8 in 2012. Cubit went 51-47 with the Broncos and led WMU to three bowl games, but never won a MAC division title.
Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano did not
confirm – or deny – the hiring at his press conference on Monday.
“I’m not going to confirm it" Schiano said. "Let me just say that P.J. is an excellent
football coach and like a lot of guys on our staff, in the years to come
people are going to come after them as head coaches, whether it be in
the NFL or major college and we’ll deal with each one as it comes down
the pike. But I’d stay away from it right now. I would at least.”
Fleck worked for
Schiano for two years at Rutgers and left the program in January to become the Northern Illinois offensive coordinator for one day before Schiano lured him to Tampa Bay to become the Buccaneers wide receivers coach.
Fleck was a wide receiver at NIU, earning All-Mac honors after a 1,000-yard season in 2003. He later coached the Huskies wide receivers from 2007-09.
While with the Buccaneers, Fleck has helped develop young wide receivers Mike Williams, who has 50 catches for 799 yards and seven touchdowns in a bounce-back season after a disappointing 2011 campaign, and Tiquan Underwood, who has a career-high 25 catches for 380 yards and two touchdowns. The high-energy Fleck is best known for running alongside his wide receivers in practice, playing the role of a defensive back.
“Coach Fleck is pretty quick,” Underwood said. “He is real quick. He brings a lot of energy to practice and we just try to feed off his energy and his beliefs about ball security. He’ll definitely make a believer out of you.”
Fleck has also seen the transition of free agent newcomer Vincent Jackson into the Bucs' new offense. Jackson is within striking distance to break some team records. He has 62 catches for a career-high 1,226 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012.
At the age of 32, Fleck would become
the youngest head coach in the FBS. He is 11 months younger than Matt
Campbell, who is the head coach at Toledo. Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury
is the third-youngest at age 33.
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