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Row the boat: Join the Minnesota State Patrol

April 27, 2017

Photo: Col. Matt Langer looks on as U of M Football Coach P.J. Fleck goes up against Sgt. Azzahya Williams in a rowing challenge
Photo: Colonel Matt Langer looks on as U of M Football Coach P.J. Fleck goes up against Sergeant Azzahya Williams in a rowing challenge—part of the physical fitness test for Minnesota State Patrol recruits.

University of Minnesota Football Coach P.J. Fleck learned something new this week: The Minnesota State Patrol wears maroon in honor of the Golden Gophers. During Colonel Matt Langer’s visit to the U of M football locker room at TCF Bank Stadium, he and Coach Fleck discovered they had quite a few other things in common as well.

For example, both Col. Langer and Coach Fleck are passionate about recruiting. They both want the best of the best to wear those maroon uniforms, whether it’s to drive the ball down the field for a touchdown or get impaired drivers off Minnesota highways.

“We look for four areas,” explains Coach Fleck. “The athletic, the academic, the social and spiritual part of their lives. All four of those things must be incredibly important to them.”

“Your mantra is similar to ours,” agrees Col. Langer. “Respect, integrity, courage, honor and excellence: these are attributes we need our employees to have every single day, both at home and on the job.”

Another commonality between the Minnesota State Patrol and the U of M Football team: rowing the boat. For Coach Fleck, it’s a metaphor he uses with his players: “The oar is the energy, the boat the sacrifice, the compass the direction. The great thing about rowing a boat is you can’t see where you are going so you better trust everybody is rowing in the same direction same speed, same efficiency.”

But for Col. Langer, rowing the boat is literal – at least in recruiting. “To join our team, you’ve got to be a lot of great things, but one of those great things you have to be is physically fit. I know you are a fan of talking about rowing the boat, and we actually are implementing this year a rowing machine into our physical fitness test.”

Coach Fleck approves of the rowing machine as a state patrol recruiting tool: “This tests everything: Your legs, your heart, your arms, everything.” Col. Langer agrees: “I need recruits that are able to pass the rowing test and be physically fit, but I need recruits that are smart and make good decisions and know that they’re out making a difference each and every day on our roads. Anybody interested in becoming a member of the state patrol, I encourage you to go to”

Or, as Coach Fleck puts it: “Come row the boat with the Minnesota State Patrol!”