Now that P.J. Fleck has led Western Michigan to a 9-0 start, college football analysts are already telling Broncos fans to enjoy the 35-year-old while they can because, well, he won’t be in Kalamazoo much longer.
Fleck’s response? Nada.
“That’s for other people to really talk about,” Fleck said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think this world is really about speculation and rumors as it is. That’s how we keep media coverage (for 24 hours), so I’m used to it. I’m definitely used to it. I think I’m unfazed by it when people talk about it because I’ve heard it so much. But I also heard it last year as well. It’s a compliment to Western Michigan University and our community and our incredible student-athletes we have here playing football for us.
“I look at my job as an elite job,” Fleck continued. “Period. I don’t look at my job as a quote-unquote Group of Five job. I don’t look at my job as a Mid-American Conference job. I don’t look at what I do or who I work with with my staff on a daily basis as Group of Five mid-level coaches. I don’t look at it like that. When we first got here, we said we were going to treat our program like a national-championship-type program. That’s how we’re going to run it. We’re not going to let the budget affect us. We’re not going to let our location affect us. We’re not going to let our facilities affect us. We are going to do it at an elite level because that’s how we’re going to run our program. That’s the way we’re going to think about it. That’s the way we’re going to act.”
Fleck has approached his job, and his program, with a singular focus.
“We’re in Conference Us,” Fleck said. “No disrespect (to the other teams in our league), but we’re in Conference Us. We are never going to let anybody put labels on us. I’ve never let anybody put a label on me and tell me what I can be or what I should be, and I’d never want our players to have people put labels on them and tell them what they should be or what they could be. We can do whatever we want to do and how we want to do it as long as we’re doing it the right way and we have the highest aspirations possible. That’s the way I’ve always lived my life, and that’s the way we run this program: at an elite level.”
Fleck, a former NFL wide receiver, is a big believer in writing down goals – and then setting out to achieve them. Some of his goals have been outlandish, at least to others.
Fleck was asked if he’s ever been laughed at for his optimistic aspirations.
“I got laughed at probably four times today, so absolutely,” Fleck said, laughing. “That’s common. The one thing I’ll say about my life (is) I’ve always been the king of the toos: too short, too small, too slow, too young, too inexperienced. But that’s the story of my life and I’m okay with that. I don’t ever have to prove to someone else my worth. I know what I’m about. I know my purpose in life. My purpose in life is to serve and give, and the good Lord has given me an opportunity to do that through coaching football. I’ve got the best job in America. I’ve never had a bad day. Ever since Feb 9, 2011, I only have hard days. If it’s bad, it’s hard. I love to be able to have challenges. I love to be able to take something that people say can’t be something and make it what it truly can be if it just had the right energy and it just had the right direction.”