Luke Fickell Considered a Head Candidate for FAU Job

By DJ Byrnes on November 1, 2013 at 9:10a
Luke Fickell

Per The Sun Sentinel:  

Luke Fickell — defensive coordinator — Ohio State: Chun is a buckeye though and through. He was raised in Cleveland, went to Ohio State, worked in that athletic department his entire career, eventually getting up to No. 2 before leaving to take the top job at FAU. Fickell took over for Jim Tressel when the former Ohio State coach resigned. [Tressel, with two years of a show-cause remaining, will not be considered for this job. FAU can't take the PR hit.] When Urban Meyer came on, Fickell was maintained as his defensive coordinator. Fickell has said he's content in his current position, but a head coaching job like FAU could intrigue him. This is likely Chun's first call.

TIM BREWSTER is also a name on the list, so yeah, Luke Fickell would probably be Chun's first call. Would Fickell be willing to leave Ohio State to take over a program in turbulence for a $100,000 raise? He does have experience stewarding programs in upheaval and will definitely get his chance to coach again. It's just a matter of FAU being the right opportunity. Will be a big decision for Fickell if he does get the call from Chun.


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thekornidentity's picture

I know others do not particularly like Fickell, but I have always liked him on this coaching staff. I hope he stays.

“Nothing that comes easy in this world is worth a damn.” -Woody Hayes

hodge's picture

I understood his interest in the Pitt job, but this is definitely a few notches down.
That said, I don't think he gets much more of a chance outside this level, save for possibly landing a MAC job at some point.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Stay aboard OSU.  Win a Nat Champ.  Get a better gig than FAU.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

sharks's picture

Urban started at BG, Saban at Toledo. If its a good fit, he should take it. Just stay away from the ganj...

A man got to have a code...

Kyle Rowland's picture

I'd gladly live in South Florida. 

FLAMikey's picture

Kyle, keep in mind that living there generally requires driving there......
.....and, if you don't speak Spanish, you'll have a hard time with drive throughs

Quack_Quack's picture

This is Boca...not south beach.

DefendYoungstown's picture

Bye bye Luke, best of luck!  Go Bucks!!!

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

texasbuckeye's picture

I think he deserves a shot at a head coachiing gig.  It would be a good opportunity for him.

rosycheeks's picture

Would he take Vrabel with him?

Nkohl13's picture

I doubt Vrabel is so loyal to Fickell that he would move from being a coach at The Ohio State University under Urban Meyer, to being a coach at FAU under Fickell.

osu07asu10's picture

Guess you don't know their friendship very well then....

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

balbak buck's picture

Friendship mriendship..At the end we all do whats best for us.Vrabel will stay at OSU.But i do hope that Fickell will take that job.Its a step in the right direction for him..One day he will make a good HC.

Jonnferrell's picture

I would rather not lose either one.  I have a best friend, and there's not a lot I wouldn't do for him to help him if he asked me.  I'm selfish and don't want Luke to go anywhere.  Great Buckeye.  I believe that most has not been told about 2011, but one day it will.  

"I miss Brady Hoke."

rosycheeks's picture

There are two career paths Vrabel can take -- lower responsibility at a better school (OSU) or higher responsibility at a lower school (DC at FAU). I like to think staying at OSU would be more enjoyable for him, and I might assume more lucrative, but there could be a burning desire to be the man calling the shots defensively. Sure hope he stays.

osu07asu10's picture

I think his career path was the NFL. He came on to tOSU's staff specifically for Fickell. I'm not saying that he doesn't love tOSU, things haven't changed under Meyer, or that he won't stay.

Look at how many friends/assistants of Meyer's aren't on his staff anymore. I'm sure Mullen, Strong, Boeckman, Anderson, all of those guys at some point have brought coaches from a Meyer staff with them. It wouldn't be unheard of for Fickell to ask (and maybe get) Vrabel to join a coaching staff if he ever left.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

vtbuckeye's picture

If Fickell goes, what are the chances that Vrabel stays and becomes a Co-DC at tOSU?

Brutus' Left Nut's picture

I hope good.  He seems to be one of the better coaches on the team.  Maybe best suited as a positional coach because of his playing experience and he also may just love working with the D-lineman, but he probably woudl be a great D-coordinator.  He's a helluva recuriter too.

Idaho Helga's picture

If Fickel leaves for anywhere, I don't see Vrabel leaving just to follow him around.  Keep in mind the pay cut and uprooting of the family he'd be taking.  I remember reading from someone here on staff that Vrabel told them he'd like to be a head coach someday.  It wouldn't be a good career move frankly.   Right now he's learning from the Master. 

razrback16's picture

Hope it works out and FAU hires him.

rjenkins26's picture

Good thing they threw in there that Jim Tressel isn't being considered because "they can't afford the PR hit". Im sure Tressel was on his way down there to interview as soon as he heard about the coaching vacancy....

45has2's picture

Wow, you opened up a huge sar casm. Well done.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

m4's picture

That is funny, good reply!

cminnich's picture

If Luke Fickell has the opportunity for a head coaching opportunity such as FAU, he should take it.  FAU seems to be the type of job that would allow Fickell to learn and grow, like a MAC job, and he could use it as a springboard for a bigger and better opportunity. 
Keep in mind, Coach Hayes started at Denison, went to Miami, then on to Ohio State.  Coach Bruce went from Tampa to Iowa State to Ohio State.  Coach Cooper from Tulsa to Arizona State to Ohio State.  Coach Tressel from YSU to Ohio State.  And Coach Meyer from BGSU to Utah to Florida to Ohio State.
It is very tempting to hold out for a perceived better job, but the traditional success route is to start at a smaller school, then move on to bigger things.  If not FAU, a MAC job, such as Miami, which is open, would be good opportunities for a true first head coaching job for Luke Fickell.

OSUStu's picture

So we will soon have no school president, no AD, no head coach, and no defensive coordinator?

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Idaho Helga's picture

And, I heard Brutus may transfer to Stanford!  They recruited him to get a real mascot, not a tree!

OldColumbusTown's picture

What Fickell needs to do is look at the talent on the roster at a school (FAU in this case), and decide if it is a place that can quickly be turned around.  Sure, he's going to need the team to buy in to him, get his feet wet as a head coach and all that, but priority numero uno is to pick a place he can turn quickly in order to take the next step up the head coaching ladder.
Someone who has real, true aspirations of moving up in the college coaching world cannot get caught at a small-school/program for too long.  It is difficult to sustain winning seasons year after year in a place like that.  If Fickell can go in, and turn FAU into a winner in 2-3 years (again, that depends mostly on the talent currently on the roster), that is his best chance at becoming a "hot name" and getting a lower to mid-level BCS conference gig.
Fickell has the pedigree.  He's got the connections in the coaching world.  Heck, he's probably got terrific networking already built-in to hire a coaching staff.  He just needs a place with young talent.  Then suddenly after one 8-4 season, he's being looked at by a West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, etc. because he's a hot name.
I'm a Fickell fan, no pun intended, and want him at OSU, but if he has head coaching aspirations he's got to go at some point soon.

Mike61's picture

Luke needs to do what's best for Luke and his family. His commitment to tOSU as a football player and as a coach has been commendable. Best of luck to Luke in whatever he chooses to do.


otrain2416's picture

I posted something similar to this in the other thread but a few thoughts to add to the conversation

  • Urban had all his guys promise two years/seasons before they took a HC job somewhere else
  • I believe Fickell's contract expires after this year not saying it won't be renewed.
  • I do not think FAU could match his current salary as our D coordinator if I had to guess he's probably taken home 700-800k after bonuses and stuff
  • Jim Heacock is currently serving as a Defensive advisor and I believe is in line to step in as a D coordinator


We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

yrro's picture

I had assumed Heacock was looking to retire or he would have stayed on originally.

razrback16's picture

If I remember right, Urban didn't retain him because he didn't have the energy for the recruiting game at the time but has since spent a couple years resting up and may be ready to roll once again.

luckynutz's picture

If I'm not mistaken, jim heacock had no desire to work for urban meyer. Due to the fast paced, full go hair on fire mana that urban goes by. Said he didn't have it in him to go like that anymore. He is back to being around the program in a consulting type role. I'm going to guess that's about as close to coaching at ohio state he will ever get again. Now if fickell were to take an HC position, I think heacock might be someone he woulld contact to fill the DC position on his staff.

otrain2416's picture

I guess that's what I was getting at that he was a defensive advisor/ consultant currently and I feel like Urban has him next in line as the DC once Fickell gets hired

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Donny T's picture

What's an FAU? First rule of journalism -- spell out acronyms.

GoBucksOSU's picture

Florida Atlantic University

Rjpfish2's picture

This is a college football site. If you can't figure out what FAU means, don't blame the author.

BuckWylde's picture

IMHO Luke was a compromise that Urban was compensated well enough to accept, but would not have been a choice he'd make without coersion, which might explain Fickell's title of CO-defensive coordinator. Withers is clearly Urban's choice as evidenced by his added title of assistant HEAD coach. Luke was a good stop-gap choice when Tress departed, but wasn't prepared for the enormity of a program like TOSU as his first HC opportunity. Florida Atlantic would give him valuable experience and serve as a possible stepping-stone to returning to his alma mater as a favorite son who's also a seasoned head coach--win, win.
Go Bucks!!!

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. -Adlai Stevenson, governor, US ambassador

45has2's picture

That's a possible Meyer/Fickell scenario. However, I just don't see Urb being coerced into anything. He could have had just about any HC job he wanted in the country. Yes, TOSU is his dream job but so to is he TOSU's dream coach. According to published stories the interview with the Fickells (the Mrs. attended) lasted over 2 hours and Urb decided after that meeting that Luke was his man. As to being Co-DC, there are also Co-OC's. I think that is as much a way to justify salaries as anything else.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Nutinpa's picture

I would be surprised.....Luke, his wife and family are deeply rooted to Columbus and Ohio.
Yes, you make sacrifices to advance your career, but I don't get the impression that Luke has the burning desire to become a head coach.  He just doesn't have that kind of ego in my eyes.
I see him going....only if Urban has a heart to heart with him stressing "what a good opportunity this is for him and one that he should not pass up"...if there is a message between the lines or even more direct.  In the absence of that, I don't see him leaving for this.

balbak buck's picture

Dido pal.Meyers should encourage Luke to take the job..its best for all involved,including us fans ,who want the best for Luke.

ChazBuckeye's picture

I think he takes a HC job, but not this one.  I've said it before, Herman stays, Fick will leave. I'm not on an agenda to proclaim he should, it's just a business decision.  I think Herman gets a raise and Fick takes another job as a HC.  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

BoFuquel's picture

Don't do it Luke, it's a trap. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I've never been on the Bash Fickell bandwagon.  However, if he feels this is what's best for him, his family, and his career, then by all means, he should go for it, and I'd be happy for him. 

Class of 2010.

DocBuckeye's picture

I'm not a fan of Luke the coach, but certainly of Luke the Buckeye. He is a loyal Buckeye - not like f**kin Herbie. It would be best if he evaluated his options with Urban at the end of the year. He would learn a lot from just being around Urbzs a bit longer and no telling what a great reference from Urban would do to his chances at schools other than FAU !

razrback16's picture

"I'm not a fan of Luke the coach, but certainly of Luke the Buckeye"
Great way of saying it. +1

BenedictineBuck's picture

If you love someone, let them go....

Because we couldn't go for three!!!

sb97's picture

Luke has had a chance to work under both Tressel and Meyer.  That is a heck of a pedigree.

hetuck's picture

I'd think Stan Drayton would be a better choice. He has Florida recruiting experience. Miami would be a better choice for Fickell is if wants to be a HC. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Rjpfish2's picture

While Drayton is an elite recruiter and a damn good position coach, is he really a legit HC candidate? Withers, Herman, Fick - definitely.  It's seems like most schools, if not hiring a current/former head coach, look for O and D coordinators.

BuckeyeJosh's picture

I might be wrong, but doesn't Urban Meyer's daughter play volleyball at FAU? He went to a game during the bye week I believe. Maybe he was the one who threw Fickell's name into the ring..

Jordan Wagner's picture

Florida Gulf Coast. 

Qujo's picture

 if Luke took this job Vrabel should be his D coordinator. Gives Vrabel more resume creed, bigger pay and helps Fickell recruit with Vrabels NFL pedigree. 

Our arch rivals.... 11 National Championships, 10 before 1949 - eight of eleven shared. Trying to respect them... trying.... Ugh!

CharlieBuckeye's picture

I lived in South Florida for 16 of the 20 years I have lived here. I now live on the west coast where it is nowhere near as crowded. It has some great areas to live - but it is crowded - close to 7 million people in a 3 county area. Private schools are the way to go as the public school system is a joke. Don't let the lack of a state income tax sway you- the insurance rates are outrageous.  The one great thing I found in S. Florida was my wife.
South Florida - a great place to visit but not to live there.

"To have a great life simply follow this rule:  Do not bring undo conflict into your life..."

Charlie Baker - OSU - 1986

Rjpfish2's picture

Too bad this isn't Futurama; I'm sure Howard Schnellenberger's Head would be their top choice.