They started showing up on P.J. Fleck's doorstep shortly after he took the Minnesota job in January.

Kids, adults, neighbors, thrill seekers.

"Some guys ding-dong ditch and take off," Fleck said. "Some teenage kids. They think it's funny."

A local paper revealed the Flecks' address in a real estate section story about the property. Since then, the world has literally beaten a path to the coach's door.

They all come -- in some way -- to gawk. Never mind Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino lives four doors down. Or that Minnesota is decidedly hockey and Vikings territory.

Right now, Philip John Fleck owns the town, or at least that part of it that is trying to figure out this pinball of a man taking his next big step at a decidedly mid-level Big Ten program.

Meanwhile, Heather and P.J. get a chuckle out of it when they check security cameras of their front porch via their cell phones.

"It was big news when we bought the house," Fleck said. "Everybody in our neighborhood has [come over]. That's great. It's your neighborhood.

"But there's been some random people. 'Is this where Coach Fleck lives?' My wife is, like, 'Um, no.' We get a lot of that."

Isn't this how the latest version of P.J. has to be unveiled?  Armed with hype, hustle and a harried style, let's just say it's not surprising Fleck wouldn't shy away.

Accompanying a mercurial rise to a Power Five job at age 36 are whispered accusations of Fleck being a phony, self-promoter.

"You're not the first person to say that to me," the coach said. "I don't know what it really means."

Nor does he really care. You've probably seen the coach turn coal into a diamond.

You may have caught Fleck crowd surfing and hanging from a locker room pipe. 

You're going to soon see a reality show starring the coach from the same production company that gave us "Being Bret Bielema."

Carnival barker? Sideshow? Car salesman? There's absolutely some of that, too.

Kevin Curran is the assistant general manager for Toyota Motor Sales/New York Region. He saw a video of Fleck and knew he wanted the coach to speak at his regional sales meeting in February.

"I've had rah-rah coaches who are full of s---," said Curran, a former Division III player at College of New Jersey. "The more I looked into P.J., his actions are almost as loud -- actually speak louder -- than his boisterous personality."

Curran was taken with the informality of being able to dial up Heather, who handles her husband's speaking engagements. The Toyota gig was agreed to on a handshake and stayed together even after Fleck changed jobs.

"We didn't put anything in writing," Curran continued. "… I just got fired up having lunch. [He's] too much to digest."

When Curran gently reached out to Heather to reconfirm after the couple moved to Minnesota, "she was a little taken back. She said, 'We're committed to you. That's not even a question.'"

Fleck does about 5-7 outside speaking engagements per year. He clearly enjoys them. There is reciprocal love from those corporate crowds.

Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck speaking to Toyota employees in February. Kevin Curran

How a former undersized Northern Illinois receiver with one scholarship offer who enjoyed a cup of coffee in the NFL got this far is reflected in his ability to inspire and just … gab.

"If you listen to his presentation, very little of it is about football," said Chad Ferguson, president of Cub Foods.

A lot of it, in fact, was about Fleck when he spoke to a gathering of the supermarket chain's executives in April.

"They had thunder sticks going when I got there," the coach said. "You would have loved it. You would have said, 'That's so P.J.'"

That's largely why we're at this moment in Minnesota history. Under Fleck, a Western Michigan program that hadn't done much of anything went from 1-11 under Fleck to the Cotton Bowl in four years.

Minnesota wasn't nearly in such dire circumstances. The Gophers won nine last year, the program's second-best total in the last 112 seasons. They have won at least eight in three of the last four seasons.

Jerry Kill led this latest uptick before having to retire due to health reasons during the 2015 season. Kill's defensive coordinator, Tracy Claeys, took over but was undermined after players threatened to boycott amid a sexual assault scandal.

A Fleck fit made sense. The new coach from the Midwest, born in the west Chicago suburbs, painting himself as a driven every man underdog. No one can doubt his drive. The whole "Row The Boat" concept evolved after infant son, Colt, died of a heart condition in 2011.

"The whole thing I invented to live his life out for him and influence everybody else," Fleck said.

After he changed jobs, Western Michigan sold the trademark rights to the phrase back to its inventor for $50,000.

"They put a value," Fleck said with a hint of bitterness in his voice, "on something that is invaluable."

Four months ago, he told those Toyota dealers: "I just never quit. Somebody else should be up here besides me. My dad's last name is Fleck. It's not Belichick, not Kiffin. My dad kills bugs for a living. My mom is a teacher's aide."

At a place that dares to consider itself a Big Ten West contender, that's really what this is all about. That's why Minnesota hired him. You can actually envision the Gophers atop the winnable Big Ten West. Soon.

From there, it's only 60 minutes to a Big Ten title.

Too far, too fast? You're not the first person to think that about P.J. Fleck.

"You know what? Somebody has to promote one of the best institutions in the country. Somebody has to promote the vision of winning a national championship," the coach said. "Somebody has to get people in line rowing the boat the same speed with the same efficiency or why are we doing it?"

Jim Tressel made Fleck an Ohio State graduate assistant in 2006. Joe Novak, then later Kill, had him coach receivers at Northern Illinois. Greg Schiano brought him to Rutgers, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Those are powerful, accomplished men who could have told the world Fleck was a phony on his way up the ladder. Wide receiver Corey Davis could have remained a two-star prospect out of Wheaton Warrenville South High School in Illinois and not become the No. 5 overall pick (first receiver) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Western Michigan.

Too far, too fast? The same thing has been said about Lane Kiffin.

The Kardashians' cable franchise started with a sex tape.

Why not a cable reality show this season about a fresh-faced, 37-year-old rising rock star coach who looks at least 10 years younger than his age?

"So many people think this is all about me," Fleck said. "It's not all about me. It's about bringing national attention when you don't have a national result yet."

Much like Western Michigan, there will be a process at Minnesota, too. The Gophers haven't won a championship since 1960 (either in the Big Ten or nationally).

"I can't help that I'm young," Fleck concluded. "I'm glad that I'm not getting this job when I'm older. This is what interests me. I'm interested in taking something that hasn't been anything in 60 years and making something of it."

If not, well, Fleck points out there are 17 Fortune 500 companies in the Minneapolis area. Huge for internships for players. Huge for speaking engagements for him.

"One of the most important parts of a company is a leader who has a vision," Fleck said.

That … and a voice.