Fleck, Winfield Jr. and Bateman garner Big Ten awards while a slew of Gophers earn all-conference honors

Three Gophers also made the All-Big Ten First Team.

Paul Hodowanic

Following a historic 10-2 regular season, Gophers head football coach P.J. Fleck, defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr., and wide receiver Rashod Bateman were rewarded by the Big Ten conference for their performances. Fleck was named Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year, Winfield was given Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year and Bateman won the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year award. 

This is the third time in Fleck’s seven-year head coaching career that he has won a conference coach of the year award, claiming both the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2016 while at Western Michigan. He has helped turn around the Gophers program, leading them to seven Big Ten wins for the first time in school history. The award was voted on by fellow Big Ten coaches. 

“This is a tremendous honor, but it is one that belongs to our entire staff, team and administration,” Fleck told Gopher Sports. 

Bateman is the first Gophers receiver ever to be awarded the conference’s best receiver. Bateman finished the regular season with 57 catches for 1,170 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 1,170 yards is a single-season school record. 

Winfield’s seven interceptions this season is tied for most in program history by an individual and is fourth-most in the country. The defensive back added 83 total tackles, another team-high, and complied three sacks as well. 

“It’s humbling to receive this recognition, but I could not have done it without my teammates and coaches,” Winfield told Gopher Sports. “They have been with me every day and pushing me to change my best and become the best player I could be, so I am definitely looking forward to sharing this award with them.”

A whole host of Gophers were awarded with All-Big Ten honors. Winfield and wide receivers  Bateman and Tyler Johnson were named to the All-Big Ten First Team. Tanner Morgan, Rodney Smith and Carter Coughlin were named to the Second Team. Blaise Andries was named to the Third Team, while nine players were named honorable mentions.