Luke Fickell informs Cincinnati he's heading to Wisconsin as next head coach, sources say

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Less than 24 hours after finding out he won't have the opportunity to lead the University of Cincinnati football team to a third consecutive championship at the American Athletic Conference, Luke Fickell travels to Madison, Wisconsin to host the... Wisconsin Badgers to take over.
Sources confirmed to The Enquirer that Wisconsin has reached an agreement with Fickell and is expected to name the 49-year-old Ohio State graduate, former Buckeyes player and longtime assistant as the next head coach as soon as Sunday.
According to sources, Fickell informed Cincinnati that he was leaving. Kerry Coombs, Cincinnati cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator, will serve as interim head coach.
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Fickell, who is 57-18 in six seasons in Cincinnati, including a 9-3 mark this season, was asked after Friday's home loss to Tulane if he would entertain any suitors if he was pursued this offseason. Fickell said it was "too hard to think about" right now.
Cincinnati Football: Tulane snaps the Bearcats' 32-game winning streak at Nippert Stadium in the regular season finale
"You know what? It's too hard to think about," he said. "Hopefully some things can happen and we still have a chance to play so you don't know. It's not the time to think about such things. We need to come back up and take care of this especially seniors. Make sure their heads are up and they're ready to roll whatever's thrown our way this week or two.
After a Central Florida win over South Florida on Saturday, Fickell and Cincinnati were officially disqualified from their fourth straight AAC Championship game.
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A total of five FBS coaches were fired prior to Week 6, including Wisconsin's Paul Chryst. Fickell was asked about the trend during his weekly press conference on Oct. 4.
"It's really a bad place to be in this profession," he said.
Wisconsin decided to part ways with longtime coach Chryst after a 2-3 start. The Badgers, under interim coach Jim Leonhard, ended their regular season with a 6-6 (4-5 Big Ten) record after a 23-16 home loss to rival Minnesota on Saturday.
Chryst, a Wisconsin alumnus, was fired after over seven seasons. Chryst went 67-26 in his time at Madison, including a 6-1 record in bowl games. The Chryst's Badgers lost three of their first four games last year but ended 9-4.
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"I think it's a bit sad to see a guy like Paul Chryst who's been in his place for so long and done what he did after five games," Fickell said in the Oct. 4 press conference. “The same goes for Nebraska (Scott Frost), your alma mater. Look, I don't know what's going on there. I just think it's a bad trend for our kids. Not for us; we are professionals. We understand you. Wins and losses are re-evaluated. But I think the example we set for our young people is, hey, if it's not right, just change it and get rid of it in the middle of what you're doing. No wonder we have more referrals."
Fickell led the Bearcats, who will attend the Big 12 conference on July 1, 2023, to back-to-back UK titles in 2020 and 2021. Fickell has been named UK Coach of the Year three times (2018, 2020–21). He was named consensus national coach of the year last season after leading Cincinnati to a 13-0 record and a place in the college football playoffs. Fickell's Bearcats lost to leaders Alabama in the CFP semifinals after becoming the first team in the Group of Five to make the four-team playoffs.
Fickell has won at least nine games in each of the last five seasons in Cincinnati. No other head coach has accomplished this feat in the 135-year history of the Bearcats football program.
Fickell, whose eldest son Landon is a sophomore offensive lineman with the Bearcats, signed an extension with Cincinnati last offseason that paid the coach $5.05 million a year through 2028. UC will receive $3.5 million for taking over the contract.
This article originally appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer: Luke Fickell is leaving Cincinnati for a football job in Wisconsin
Luke Fickel
American football player and coach
Paul Chryst
American football coach

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