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P.J. Fleck gets extension to stay in Minnesota until January 2023

Minnesota and first-year coach P.J Fleck have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the Gophers until January 2023.

The agreement will become official pending approval from the university's board of trustees at its meeting next month. Fleck signed a five-year, $18 million deal with the school in January after guiding Western Michigan to a 13-1 record and a Cotton Bowl appearance. He is 5-6 in his first year with Minnesota, which hosts No. 5 Wisconsin on Saturday in its annual rivalry game.

The extension adds a year to Fleck's original deal. He will be paid about $3.5 million for the additional year, and the $50,000 annual escalator cause in his original deal will also apply to the additional year.

Fleck's five wins are the most by a first-year Minnesota coach since Murray Warmath won seven in 1954. Minnesota hired him to replace Tracy Claeys, who went 9-4 last season but was fired after tweeting his support for players organizing a possible boycott of the Holiday Bowl in response to the school's decision to suspend 10 players while investigating a sexual assault allegation.

"It's an honor to coach at the University of Minnesota and in the Big Ten," Fleck said in a statement from the school. "[Athletic director] Mark Coyle and I share the same goal of building a championship culture and team at Minnesota. It's a goal that we are working on daily together and one that we will achieve. I am proud of how hard our young men have worked to improve this season on living a holistic life. They have taken great strides in bettering themselves athletically, academically, socially and spiritually. I look forward to leading them and watching them grow on and off the field as we continue to move this program forward."

The 36-year-old Fleck had been mentioned as a fringe candidate for vacancies such as Tennessee's. He's in his fifth season as an FBS head coach and has compiled a 35-28 record.

"When we hired Coach Fleck, I talked about his authentic energy and passion, and his dedication to building a unique team culture. This year I have seen our students connect with his energy and embrace that culture," Coyle said in the statement. "From the commitment and hard work of our current students, to building a nationally ranked recruiting class that will be among the best in program history, I have seen the foundation of what Coach Fleck is building, and I'm looking forward to supporting him for years to come."