Report: Fickell Interviews for FAU Job

By Kyle Rowland on November 5, 2013 at 3:06p
Are the Owls in Luke Fickell's future?

The watch for Ohio State assistants interviewing for head coaching jobs has started a few months early. Dieter Kurtenbach of the Sun Sentinel reported that former Ohio State assistant AD and current Florida Atlantic athletic director Pat Chun flew to Columbus Tuesday to interview Fickell.

Sources close to the situation tell the Sun Sentinel that Chun flew to Columbus, Ohio Tuesday to interview Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell for FAU’s vacant head coaching position.

The 40-year-old Fickell is Chun’s top target for the FAU job, which is being held in the interim by Owls offensive coordinator Brian Wright.

Chun's secretary confirmed that Chun was not at the school's facilities today. Chun said Saturday that he would not have any comment on the Owls’ coaching search until a hire has been made. That stance was reaffirmed by the FAU athletic department's spokeswoman Tuesday.

FAU is in the early stages of searching for a replacement for Carl Pelini, fired last week for alleged drug use. Pelini's salary at FAU was $496,124. Luke Fickell makes $600,000 at Ohio State, so the Owls may have to spend if they want him.

Kurtenbach, for whatever it's worth, believes Fickell is a longshot for the FAU job.


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thatlillefty's picture

Well if that what Coach Fickell wants, then best of luck to him. I'm worried though since his counterpart at DC, Everett Withers, will likely be a HC candidate as well. It won't be tough to lose both.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

It's okay. If they both leave, I'm sure Bo Pelini would be available.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Alice in Aggieland's picture

At first I read this is "Bo Pelini would be avoidable," and I thought, "Yuuup."

Earle's picture

At first I read this is "Bo Pelini would be avengeful," and I thought, "Yuuup."

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

chitown buckeye's picture


"I'm having a heart attack!"

thatlillefty's picture

would* be tough to lose both

jdagrava.1's picture

Glad to see Fickell getting the opportunity.... and to see his defensive ideals leave Columbus, to be honest.  Great person, but just not a fan of his schemes.
On the flip side of that coin, if Fickell leaves, does he take Vrabel with him?  I feel like that would be a big loss for the Buckeyes, both in coaching intensity and recruiting.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

BassDropper's picture

There is no way Vrabel will leave. In fact, if Fickell leaves, I wouldnt be surprised to see Vrabs promoted.


GABuckeye's picture

Even if he gets offered a DC position?

BassDropper's picture

I think he would be promoted to co-defensive coordinator. That would still outweigh a DC job at FAU and its not close.


jdagrava.1's picture

I hope you're right.  But, if you remember, Vrabel didn't come here when Urban got here.  Fickell, as his close friend, brought him to OSU in the 2011 season.  He is very close with Luke and that makes me question what alliance is Vrabel most connected to?  Ohio State and Coach Meyer or his good friend Fickell?

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

BassDropper's picture

Vrabel has wanted to coach at Ohio State since he was a pro. It's not because of Fickell. He has finally settled his family down in one spot, no traveling back and forth from New England or KC...I would be shocked if he leaves Ohio State EVER.


jdagrava.1's picture

That would make me a very happy man and I hope you are right.  But let me go on the record to say that I truly believe that he would follow Fickell.  Especially if the FIU job falls through and an opportunity arises within the state of Ohio.  I just have a gut feeling that Vrabel would follow him.  But I hope I'm wrong!

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

jdagrava.1's picture

Sorry I keep typing FIU instead of FAU... I'm really not so sure that there is much of a difference lol

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

703Buckeye's picture

Copy & Paste from my forum comment:
FAU would be a good chance for Fickell to prove his worth as a HC and earn a BCS job. Though, I think he would be better served taking a MAC job and staying in the Midwest.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

osubuck57's picture

Wonder if he would seriously consider taking the job, with what he's got at OSU. Get it's a head coaching gig, but have to believe he might hold out for a better job or program. Don't know if Vrabel would leave OSU to go to FAU. Head coaching job, yes, defensive coordinator at much smaller school, don't think so. But what do I know?? Guess we'll see how it plays out.


jdagrava.1's picture

Plus you have to think about $$$.  Fickell may actually get paid more to be a DC at Ohio State than a head coach at a small school like FIU.  I'm guessing that if money plays a big role in his decision, FIU is going to have to really lay the green down to lure Fickell away from Columbus.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

tennbuckeye19's picture

I don't think Fickell should take this job if offered. If I were him I would wait for a MAC position or some other Midwest job. I know he wants to be a head coach, but I'm not sure that is where he wants to start things off. It's a Conference USA job, but don't kid yourself. C-USA just raided the Sun Belt for teams due to them being raided by the "American" conference. 

Posterchild's picture

I don't blame him for wanting to prove himself as a head coach. I just think it's a little messed up that he is doing this in the middle of the season.

BuckeyeMike74's picture

I agree.  We are just starting to roll and don't need any distractions.  New jobs can wait until after the season.

Hovenaut's picture

You can credit Carl Pelini with the timing.

ODEEZ330's picture

It's bye week. And I'm sure he had meyer's blessing.

stark county football

BuckeyeMike74's picture

Apparently Urbz agrees with us.  "He better not" have interviewed.  Bucks first.  Help yourself in the off-season.

Hovenaut's picture

I get the feeling he's interviewing just to interview. I think he waits until after the season and considers other opportunities.

Seems a big step back from him interviewing for the Pitt job two years ago.

Totally get why Chun would want to bring Fickell in.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Great point... much better opportunities could come his way before it's all said and done...

TMac's picture

MAC HC jobs have lead to B1G HC jobs for Hazell and Beckman, Can't see Fickell taking a bad Conference USA job just to be a HC

ONE Not Done!

kholmes's picture

I agree that MAC jobs seem preferable to FAU...successfull coaches in the MAC have had little difficulties in turning them into bigger jobs down the road recently (Meyer, Hoke, Butch Jones, Brian Kelly). Given Fickell's ties to the Midwest, he would have a good shot of success at a MAC job and a clear view of how it could play out given the recent history of MAC coaches going on to bigger things.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

You can add Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel to that list...

I'm thinking that since they flew to interview here, it was more Fickell hearing what they had to say and them judging interest. If Fickell was going to take a job I'm sure he'd want to tour the place...
I agree with the MAC love but he could make some serious southern inroads for recruiting in the future.

Just food for thought.

FitzBuck's picture

If he goes I hope he is nothing but successful.  
Thanks Luke.  


Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

niblick's picture

no way does Fickell take that garbage ass job, no way

TMac's picture

Pat Chun was at tOSU for 15 years before taking the FAU AD position, does a Fickell interview help him in landing a better HC even if Fickell isn't interested?

ONE Not Done!

buckifishr's picture

Probably a pay cut if he takes the job.

BTBuckeye's picture

That does not sound like a fun job IMO
You gotta start somewhere tho

Buckeye06's picture

Haha the comments here are hilarious.  Half say no way he should take the job, half saying see ya later Luke, and half saying he shouldn't even be interviewing, for 150%. 
My thoughts:
1. You take the interview no matter what; you always want to have options and leverage
2.  If you want to take a couple years, potentially earn less, and get head coaching experience while living near the beach, feel free Luke
3.  I would hate to lose any of our coaches at this point in the season or before the bowl game.  Most of the time coaches leave a school before bowl season to recruit for their new school so it would cause problems for our D. 

Hovenaut's picture

Agree....I think you absolutely interview, if I were Fickell (I'd probably be fired?....j/k) that's exactly what I would do.

But I would hold off on deciding until after the regular season....and/or see what other opportunities may arise.

FAU wants Fickell more the Fickell wants FAU, I would think.

sb97's picture

I have to be honest.  I don't think Fickell is ever going to get a fair shake from the OSU fan base again.  Sure his D has had  problems but in both of the Meyer seasons it also improved over time.  Luke tends to get too much blame when things are bad and no where near enough credit when things are going well.  I think most of it stems from his season as interim head coach which was undoubtedly awful but then again, he was basically forced into using a staff built around Tressel's strengths that was not set up to provide him the support he needed.
I don't know if FAU is the right spot for him.  But I suspect things will be somewhat better for him as a head coach in a place where he is allowed to pick and control his own staff.

Enzo's picture

I think the perception is that the defense gets better after Urban steps in and forces changes. Personally, I think losing Luke as a recruiter would be worse than losing him as a coach.

Buckeye06's picture

Because no one really knows if Meyer is stepping in and forcing changes.  They think everything Herman and Meyer do turns into gold and everything Fickell does is dog poop.
It's usually the head coach who gets blamed for things, but not at OSU

Cincinnati Buckeye's picture

I don't think that he is going to take this job but it doesn't hurt to listen to what they offer. A lot of times I don't agree with his defensive philosophies or schemes but I will wish him the best wherever he goes. His one year as an interim coach was rough and I have a lot of respect for what he did that year. He held this program together the best he could do with all the uncertainty surrounding sanctions and even his status. So if FAU offers him the right opportunity for him I wish him the best. 


45OH4IO's picture

I don't think the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side" applies here. That is some brown grass. I agree with those of you who say wait until a better position opens up at the end of the season. You don't want to get stuck on the lamest horse in the carousel.
But it is good for appearances to interview. It shows FAU they are serious about finding a winner. It gives them a baseline for other interviews. For Fick, it's a signal to other programs thinking about a change that he is interested in being offered. Plus, it gives interview experience. I'd pay to here some of the questions that get thrown out at coaching interviews. 

buckeye92's picture

Speaking of MAC opportunities, what about Miami U.  They fired their coach earlier this season.  Are they in the market for a new HC?

droessl's picture

gotta hand it to Dieter Kurtenbach for having the most German-sounding name for a reporter. 

johnblairgobucks's picture

Ha! "This is the time on Sprockets when we dance. "  My favorite Sprockets epsisode was when they had Ben Stiller on there playing Eddie Munster.

brandonbauer87's picture

I hope the possibility of Fickell leaving doesn't harm the relationship with any of the guys he's recruiting. I hate that interviews get press mid-season. 

Mizzillion's picture
teddyballgame's picture

Lol at people who think he WANTS to be interviewing at FAU.  That's not even a career side-step.  You're capable of some amazing mental gymnastics if you actually believe he would leave without basically being forced's so obvious he wanted to be a buckeye lifer.

unholy bucknut's picture

He has to hear what they have to offer. He won't make any decisions until the off season IMO.
I just hope this crap doesn't become a distraction in the locker room or hurt recruiting.

The Clean North's picture

I think Fickell should have waited until the end of the regular season out of respect. Especially if this is not a job he is likely to take. Seems like unnecessary distractions for a team with the nation's longest winning streak that has a chance at a national championship. Then on top of that there is the recruiting waves that sends to all currently committed players (like Jones or Webb) and possibly on the verge uncommitted players (Kwon) which from a certain point of view would probably cast doubt or at the very least make them open up another school's recruiting mail to see what they have to offer. I absolutely think he should be a HC and I know that coaches leave but he should have waited. 

andretolstoy's picture

We're not sure if he even interviewed for the position at this point, let alone know enough to blame him for being disrespectful.
Sh**. If I were in his spot, I would have never stuck around after the year HC gig. Other than the paycheck, this has been a no win for his brand since Tressel's last year.

cajunbuckeye's picture

I think the coaching staff deserves some more cash. Give Luke some money and let's keep him around for a few more years.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

andretolstoy's picture

I don't think the next option will be to have Co-Defensive Coordinators.

Bish45's picture

I personally feel this is poor timing.  Selfish timing.
This team has the streak still going, a Big Ten Title, if the pieces fall; a well deserved national title shot!  The Buckeye Defense and the team in general need a show of solidarity and unity.  How can the players get this message if the coaching staff is going to be intrigued by outside forces.  
Atleast wait until the Big Ten Title Game is over.....
That is all.
Go Bucks.  NCAA is a dirty tramp.....and the Big Ten is better than the ding dongs from ESPN say.....

razrback16's picture

Hope he interviews with FAU and possibly Miami (OH) as well and gets his head coaching career rolling in 2014. And I hope Vrabel stays here.

razrback16's picture

Sure. His family has always been here in Central Ohio -- if they don't want to completely relocate, the Miami (OH) job is open and they are doing awful there this year so there would be virtually no expectations making for a very low-pressure situation for Luke to try wade into and start his career in 2014.

andretolstoy's picture

It was totally news to me that Treadwell was fired. If I were Fickell I would jump on this.

razrback16's picture

Ya, he was canned midseason. I know Fickell had interviewed there previously, too. You'd think whoever is running Miami (OH) would realize that the last two guys (Treadwell & Ianello) had terrible results. Might as well give Fickell a shot.

m4's picture

FAU would have to at least offer coach Fickell the amount of money he is making now in order for to accept the job,however he still might not accept it. It will be interesting to see what happens because his contract with OSU will expire at the end of this year.

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

one would think that they would interview him after the season ends.  
1.  Why wouldnt they wait until the season is over to ask?
2.  Why wouldnt Meyer ask him to wait?
3.  Luke is a smart guy, so I would be surprised if he interviewed before the regular season is over at least...
this doesn't make sense....I guess one of you can enlighten me on this.  im all ears.

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.


InTressITrust's picture

To answer your first question.
The school would want to get a head coach in ASAP to start recruiting.  Getting a coach now gives him 1 extra month to pick up a few more recruits.

"I'm not going to lie. We're anxious to be a part of a matchup like that. It's two states that love the game of football." -Jim Tressel

Eph97's picture

Hope Fickell gets a head coaching gig. Wonder if Muschamp would come to OSU if he gets fired?

buckskin's picture

Hate to see him leave Buckeye nation, but can't deny the man an opportunity of a lifetime if his dream is to be a college head coach.  He will always be a Buckeye great who handled one of the toughest situations that any coach at OSU has ever experienced.

Grayskullsession's picture

I wonder if Fickell does get the job if he will take Vrabel with him or break up the bromance.

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

buckeye92's picture

If Fickel does leave this year, it would be interesting to see what Vrabel would do as a DC.  He certainly had a defensive minded coach in Belichek who he spent time with.  

ATXbucknut's picture