Western Michigan University head coach PJ Fleck was once a professional athlete. After playing wide receiver for Northern Illinois University (1999-2003), he played with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers (2004-2005). After spending the 2005 season on injured reserve, Fleck was released by the team. He tried out for the Chicago Bears (in his hometown) but failed his physical due to previous injuries. Fleck started to coach.
Fleck landed his first head coach position at Western Michigan University in December 2012, the same day his third child, daughter Paisley Jane, was born. Three years later, Fleck and his wife Tracie divorced. The 34-year-old is now a single dad. Fleck told CBS Sports: “My wife hated my profession.” Fleck was briefly an elementary school teacher before becoming a college head coach. “She didn’t marry into it. Hated it,” he said, although Fleck doesn’t blame his wife. It’s a stressful job and demands a huge amount of attention. The couple did get through a lot together: they lost their second child, Colton, shortly after he was born due to a heart condition. The football lifer Fleck is also a devoted father to son Carter Joseph (CJ) and 1-year-old daughter Harper.