P.J. Fleck reportedly close to signing extension with Western Michigan

The hottest name on the college football coaching market is that of Western Michigan head football coach. And since capping off an undefeated regular season and a MAC championship, Fleck has been on the radar of every team with a coaching vacancy.

However, it appears that the 36-year-old Fleck is set to stay put in Kalamazoo for the foreseeable future. A source with direct knowledge close to the situation, who chose to remain anonymous, reported early Thursday afternoon that the contract extension is close to a done deal.

Fleck just finished his fourth season at Western Michigan. In his first year, he and the Broncos mustered just a 1-11 record. That turned into identical 8-5 finishes and a pair of bowl games in each of the next two seasons, including the program’s first ever bowl victory in 2015. The gradual improvement and maturity in him and his team came to the ultimate fruition this year when they went unblemished on the schedule, just one of two FBS teams remaining with a loss, the other being current wire-to-wire and prohibitive No. 1 team in the country in Alabama.

Fleck and the Broncos downed Ohio 29-23 in the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit last Friday December 2 to up their record to 13-0. The victory also punched their ticket for the Cotton Bowl, earning the distinction of top-ranked Group of 5 conference champion.

A lot of the speculation early on has been trying to connect the dots on whether or not Fleck might be a candidate for the job openings at Purdue and Oregon. However, both of those jobs were filled in the last week, along with the open position at Baylor. It was also reported earlier this week that Fleck turned down the head coaching gig at Cincinnati, and a source close to that situation was supposedly made aware that Fleck would only consider leaving Western Michigan for a Power 5 program. That assumption leaves Cincinnati and Houston, another attractive position after Tom Herman bolted for Texas, out of the running for Fleck’s services and not a lot of intriguing positions for Fleck to consider. And in addition to the Power 5 wrinkle, Fleck would only be strongly interested in any job within the Midwest/Great Lakes region because of his familiarity with the area.

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The unnamed source reporting the apparent extension would not disclose a dollar amount but did say that the deal would tack on years to his current contract that runs through the 2020 campaign. Fleck this year alone made $800K, already the best-paid and -compensated coach in the MAC. With incentives and bonuses, he made roughly a little more than $1M with a chance to make more, particularly if the Broncos win the Cotton Bowl against No. 8 Wisconsin (January 2 @ 1 p.m. ET on ESPN, from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX).

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