Gophers’ PJ Fleck loses 3 top assistants to other jobs

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck during a Big Ten conference football game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Iowa Hawkeyes on November 16, 2019, at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa.  (Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire / Getty Images)

The University of Minnesota football team’s coaching staff will have a different look when the Gophers take the field on Thursday, Sept. 2 to host Jerry Kill and New Mexico State.

In the last four days, PJ Fleck has had three assistant coaches leave the program for positions and other schools. Last Friday, defensive backs and safeties coach Joe Harasymiak left Minnesota to become the next defensive coordinator at Rutgers.

In the last two days, defensive line coach Chad Wilt and tight ends coach Clay Patterson also decided to take jobs at other schools. Wilt is leaving the program to become the next defensive coordinator at Indiana. Patterson is headed for Colorado, where he’ll be the tight ends coach and passing game coordinator for the Buffaloes.

Patterson will coach alongside Mike Sanford Jr., who spent the last two seasons as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator before Fleck parted ways with him following the 2021 regular season. Fleck brought back Kirk Ciarrocca to be the offensive coordinator for the 2022 season, after Ciarrocca helped lead quarterback Tanner Morgan to a historic season in 2019.

Morgan, Mo Ibrahim, Chris Autman-Bell and John Michael Schmitz are all returning for one more season on the Gophers' offense as the program attempts to make a run at the Big Ten West title.