P.J. Fleck reveals the message he shared with angry players at Minnesota

The whirlwind that swept through the Minnesota football program this week brought P.J. Fleck to campus as the new head coach on Friday. Fleck was officially introduced and – not surprisingly – lit up the room with his enthusiasm.

Fleck promised to “change the culture” in the wake of a sexual assault investigation that resulted in the suspension of 10 players and nearly resulted in the team boycotting the Holiday Bowl as a result of the suspensions. And, of course, the scandal also resulted in the dismissal of former head coach Tracy Claeys.

During Friday’s press conference, there were some sound bites – “I eat difficult conversations for breakfast, and that’s why I took the job” – but also some serious moments. One of which involved what Fleck said to his new players, many of whom reacted angrily to Claeys’ firing.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Fleck met with about 25 Golden Gophers players Friday, with others joining in via Facebook Live. Fleck’s message:

“The first thing I did tell them was simple: ‘Guys, you did not pick me, but I picked you.’ ”

And at least one of his new players gave him a good review afterward:

There’s plenty of work to be done and there are plenty of bridges to be mended, but Fleck is confident he can handle it.