It’s officially official. The Rhode Island Rams introduced Jim Fleming as head coach this morning, making him the 20th football coach in URI history. Fleming has signed a five year contract that will pay him a base salary of $175,000 per year, according to reports. The contract also contains an option for a sixth year, which will be decided upon following a performance review after the 2014 season. He’ll also earn an additional $50,000 as part of any FBS buy game.
To say the former UCF defensive coordinator really wanted this job seems like an understatement. In his comments this morning, Fleming said he had previously tried to land this job four different times. He also indicated that his experience as the DC at Brown University sparked his interest in URI. Here’s a look at a few more of Fleming’s comments, courtesy of GoRhody.com:
“I’m here for the long term, I’m here to build something special,” Fleming told the crowd, which filled the Alumni Lounge of the Thomas M. Ryan Center. “I want to see a fast, physical, hard-nosed football team. A team that will play with passion and joy for the game.”
To the current players, Fleming said, “The program and this next year’s team will be built on your shoulders, the team that is here. We’re going to change the culture in this program with the people who are here now.”
His message to Rhode Island fans who were listening was simple.
“Have belief,” Fleming said. “We are not able to do this with a magic wand. It will require a lot of hard work.”
And to the future Rhode Island players keeping an eye on the program, Fleming was direct.
“Recruits, we are coming to get you,” He said. “Our goal is to put rings on your fingers, and degrees in you pocket.”
The thinking amongst fans and alumni was that there would be certain stipulations in Fleming’s contract relating to upgrades surrounding the program. Things like improvements to Meade Stadium, facilities, and a general monetary commitment… similar to Dan Hurley’s contract extension. So far there’s no word on this, although that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
One thing is for sure: Fleming said all the right things today. His comments were a welcome sign to any fan of Rhody football. Now the work begins.