COLUMBUS, Ohio – Athletic director Mark Coyle acknowledged that the Gophers' 5-5 record entering Saturday's game at No. 2 Ohio State is not what he and P.J. Fleck had hoped for, but he remains steadfast in support of his coach.
"We have everything in place at Minnesota," Coyle said during an interview on KFXN-FM before the Gophers lost 37-3. "I am absolutely convinced P.J. is the right guy. Nobody wants to win more than he does."
Coyle pointed to wins over Nebraska and Iowa as positives but understands the frustration stemming from losses to Northwestern, Illinois and Purdue.
"There's no doubt we're doing some really cool things, but there's no doubt we've let some get away from us," Coyle said.
Fleck's name has been mentioned over the years when coaching vacancies happen, and Coyle sees that as reinforcing his opinion of Fleck.
"I know [fans] are disappointed in the results this year, but [other programs] are still chasing him," Coyle said on the radio show. "When you look at these openings, his name pops up almost every time. We have to continue to be creative and do everything we can to keep him here."
Last December, Fleck signed a seven-year contract worth $6 million a year that runs through the 2029 season.
Assistant coach salaries ranked
USA Today this week published its list of assistant coaches' salaries at the FBS level for the 2023 season, and Gophers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi has the top salary for a Minnesota assistant at $1.1 million. That figure ranks 43rd nationally. The top assistant salary in the country belongs to Clemson offensive coordinator Garrett Riley at $2.05 million.
Other Gophers assistant salaries are: co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Matt Simon, offensive line coach Brian Callahan and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Greg Harbaugh Jr., $600,000 each, ranking 185th nationally; cornerbacks coach Nick Monroe, $417,000 (352nd); special teams coordinator Rob Wenger, $365,000 (413th); safeties coach Danny Collins, $255,000 (581st); running backs coach Nic McKissic-Luke, $237,000 (618th); defensive line coach Winston DeLattiboudere III, $232,000 (624th); and tight ends coach Andrew Sowder, $227,000 (631st).
The Gophers' total for the 10 assistants is $4.633 million. Their opponent Saturday, Ohio State, had a total of $8.34 million for 10 assistants. Minnesota's top two rivals, Iowa and Wisconsin, were at $6.33 million and $5.4 million, respectively.
Fleck's salary is $6 million and ranks 26th nationally and eighth among the 13 Big Ten teams who reported figures to USA Today. Northwestern, a private school, did not report figures.