Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Rutgers assistant P.J. Fleck appeared to have had the softest of landings after Greg Schiano took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching job--only to spurn his alma mater after less than 24 hours for what he may feel is an even softer landing.
A former star receiver for Northern Illinois, Fleck was announced as NIU's offensive coordinator Thursday after former OC Matt Canada took the same job with Wisconsin. The job would have been his first as a coordinator, and would have put him in charge one of the nation's most productive offenses in a program and city with which Fleck is highly familiar.
But Fleck was nonetheless in the post for less than a day, as according to the Chicago Tribune, he called NIU head coach Dave Doeren Friday morning to tell him he was resigning the position. A source told the Tribune that Fleck's reasoning in the call with Doeren was that he "wasn’t comfortable with the coordinator’s role."
But while we don't doubt that discomfort may have played a role, Fleck's reasoning may have also been influenced by the presence of a second job opportunity, one alongside his old boss in the NFL. According to reports, Fleck will instead sign on as the new Tampa Bay wide receivers coach, the same position he enjoyed in Piscataway with the Scarlet Knights. Fleck worked with Schiano for the past two seasons.
Despite putting his program back at square one, Doeren (pictured) was philosophical about Fleck's decision, at least in print.
“Everything happens for a reason and the result of this will make NIU Football even better,” he said.
We don't blame Doeren for taking that approach. But finding a candidate with Fleck's resume who's as likely to say yes at this late date will be a challenge for a program like NIU, no doubt making this kind of decision from one of their own doubly hard to take.Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.
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