P.J. Fleck not going to Purdue; Boilers hire Jeff Brohm
Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck is lauded for his openness and honesty.
He shot down rumors and reports last week that he was about to become Purdue's next head coach, and on Monday, those words held up.
Purdue has hired Jeff Brohm from Western Kentucky, taking one possible landing spot for Fleck off the table.
At this moment, it's far from a certainty that Fleck is going to leave Western Michigan after a fourth season -- and after leading the Broncos to a 13-0 record and their first Mid-American Conference championship since 1988.
The notable job openings that remain include Oregon, Houston, Baylor and, recently added, Cincinnati and Western Kentucky.
The one that continues to make the most sense is Oregon. With its flash and flair, and history of high-octane offenses, 36-year-old Fleck could be an ideal fit. But he has not interviewed for the job. He was in Kalamazoo recruiting Saturday and attending a selection-show party Sunday, when Western Michigan officially received its bid into the New Year's Six Cotton Bowl, where it will play Wisconsin.
It's not clear if Fleck ever was contacted about the Purdue opening, but given Brohm is receiving a deal reportedly worth $20 million over six years, if he was contacted, Fleck, a Midwest native, would've had to at least listen, it seems.
Houston, Cincinnati and Western Kentucky could be viewed by many Western Michigan fans as lateral moves for Fleck, but that's not completely accurate. All three schools have proven springboards for coaches moving onto bigger jobs, including Mark Dantonio and Brian Kelly (Cincinnati); Art Briles, Kevin Sumlin and Tom Herman (Houston); and Bobby Petrino's reemergence into big-time football, plus Brohm (Western Kentucky).
Another opening is Baylor's. There's a lot of work to be done there, particularly on the P.R. side of things -- which surely is a strength of Fleck's -- following the Briles fallout earlier this year.
One wild card that could emerge: Notre Dame, which has Kelly under contract long-term, but is coming off a 4-8 season. School officials still support Kelly, despite recently-revealed NCAA violations, but it remains to be seen if Kelly is as committed to staying in South Bend.
Any job Fleck takes likely will pay him well more than his $800,000 base salary at WMU, though he'll top $1 million this year with bonuses. That includes the possibility of staying at Western Michigan, which has had discussions in recent months about increasing his compensation and extending his contract, with the help of donor money. Fleck is under contract through 2020; his buyout, as of Dec. 1, is $600,000.