PJ Fleck started his head coaching career at Western Michigan University. On top of coaching football, he told his team to “Row the Boat” all the time.
When asked what Row the Boat means, Fleck said “It is a choice between putting your oars back in the boat and keeping them in the water”.
So it’s like a keep going don’t give up situation.
Row the Boat became the teams identity. It was a mantra of sorts. They put it on their jerseys & helmets. They sold Row the Boat merchandise. They kept oars on the sideline and waved them around when they scored touchdowns.
In 2017, Fleck left Western Michigan to take the head coaching job for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
He still does the same thing at Minnesota. He has not come up with a new saying. Goldy the Gopher holds an oar now.
Last week, University of Minnesota booster Beau Collins gifted Fleck a NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine.
Collins said, “Fleck seems like a guy who likes to stay in shape. And he says Row the Boat a lot so we thought it would be a pretty good gift.”
Fleck said of Collins gift, “It was thoughtful. He said I could use the excercise. He joked that I’ve put on a few pounds, but it was all in good fun. He’s a bit of a character.”
Additionally, Fleck has accumulated 20 oars and 3 canoes since he adopted the saying. His family is kind of over it.
Minnesota opens their 2022 season on September 1st against New Mexico State. There will probably be some new team oars for this season, so we are all looking forward to that.