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One of the most popular Huskie players in recent history, P.J. Fleck enters his third season on the Northern Illinois coaching staff in 2009. One of two assistant coaches retained by head coach Jerry Kill a year ago, Fleck also has taken on additional duties as the Huskies' recruiting coordinator.
A native of Sugar Grove, Ill., Fleck has spent the last three seasons tutoring the Huskie wide receivers. Two of his 2008 senior receivers - Britt Davis and Matt Simon - signed free agent contracts with the NFL's New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, respectively, last spring.
A leader on Northern Illinois' 2003 10-win team, Fleck began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at top-ranked Ohio State in 2006. He worked with the Buckeye tight ends and wide receivers and assisted with the special teams in his one season in Columbus, which culminated in a trip to the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz.
Fleck began his coaching career after two seasons as a member of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. After signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 2004, he spent most of that season on the practice squad before making an appearance versus New England late in the year. He was placed on the injured reserve roster in 2005 before retiring from professional football in June 2006.
Fleck earned first-team All Mid-American Conference honors for Northern Illinois in 2003 while helping NIU to a 7-0 start that included upset victories over Maryland and Alabama. As a senior, he led the Huskies with 77 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns, a reception total that still ranks second on the school's single-season list. His 14 grabs for 234 yards in the Ohio game that year rank as the second-best single game marks in school history and earned him national player of the week accolades from USAToday.com.
Fleck still owns the school record for career punt returns (87), is second in punt return yards (716), ranks third in career catches (179) and is fourth in receiving yards (2,162). He was a second-team Academic All-American as a senior and was twice voted team captain by his Huskie teammates.
Fleck originally came to NIU from Kaneland High School in Maple Park where he was an all-state honoree in football, basketball and track. On the gridiron, Kaneland twice went undefeated (14-0) while winning a pair of Class 3A state titles during his career; he set a state record with 95 catches for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. Fleck caught 199 career passes for 3,121 yards and 34 scores with at least one catch in 40 straight games.
A 2004 graduate of Northern Illinois in elementary education, Fleck and his wife, the former Tracie Striebel, annually host the P.J. Fleck "Live Your Dream" Football Camp that benefits the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation (Friends of Carra), Alapecia Foundation (Locks of Love), Coach Kill's Cancer Fund and the P.J. Fleck Scholarship Fund.
The energetic 28-year-old completed his first marathon in April.
Playing Experience San Francisco 49ers (Wide Receiver), 2004-05 Northern Illinois (Wide Receiver), 1999-01,03