Cincinnati hired Luke Fickell on Saturday as its next head coach to replace Tommy Tuberville, who resigned after failing to lead the Bearcats to a bowl game for the first time since 2010.
Cincinnati has found its man, and it didn’t have to travel far to get him.
Per numerous reports, the Bearcats have hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell as their next head coach to replace Tommy Tuberville, who resigned earlier this week. This will be Fickell’s first full-time head coaching job after he spent 15 of his first 17 years in the business with the Buckeyes.
Fickell’s Ohio roots and experience at a perennial national contender should play well in the recruiting department as he efforts to return Cincinnati to the national stage. The Bearcats finished under .500 for the first time since 2010, when they went4-8 in Butch Jones’ first of three seasons before he departed for Tennessee and left the job open for Tuberville.
There have been reports that Fickell plans to bring Ohio State special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs with him to Cincinnati to be the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator.
The 43-year-old Fickell was born in Columbus and played nose guard for Ohio State from 1993-96. He joined the Buckeyes’ coaching staff in 1999 as a graduate assistant before spending two seasons at Akron coaching the defensive line. Fickell returned to Columbus in 2002 and has been there since, including a stint as the interim head coach for the 2011 season following Jim Tressel’s abrupt resignation.
Now he’s charged with injecting life back into the Cincinnati program.
Tuberville went 29-22 in four seasons in The Queen City, including 0-3 in bowl games. Rumors swirled that Tuberville would be fired after the Bearcats went 4-8 with a 1-7 mark in the American Athletic Conference, but Tuberville instead decided to resign.
There already was tension since early November, when Tuberville exchanged words with a heckler following a 20-3 loss to BYU. A fan yelled toward Tuberville as he was walking off the field, and Tuberville told the fan to, “Go to hell. Get a job. Get a job!” He later released a statement apologizing for the outburst.
The 62-year-old Tuberville is best known for guiding Auburn to a 13-0 season in 2004, when he won numerous national coach of the year honors. He’s 159-99 in stops at Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati.
For Fickell, getting the Cincinnati job could lead to much bigger things. Although no school likes to be viewed as a stepping-stone job – especially one like Cincinnati – previous Bearcat coaches have moved on to more high-profile gigs. Mark Dantonio took over Michigan State and Brian Kelly went to Notre Dame in addition to Jones’ departure prior to Tuberville’s tenure.