Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell will be the 42nd head football coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats, according to a report from ESPN on Saturday.
Opportunities arise because of great dedication, great effort & great players! Congratulations to Luke Fickell, one of the best in the game!— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) December 10, 2016
“Today is a proud day for Ohio State and Buckeye Nation with the news of Luke Fickell becoming head coach at the University of Cincinnati," said Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in a statement. "Few have invested as much time and effort and passion into Ohio State and its football program than Luke. We all knew this day was coming. Now that it is upon us, I want to thank Luke for being such a terrific coach, mentor and person. And I wish him, Amy and their young family all the best as they begin this new journey.”
For Fickell, the hiring is over a decade in the making. Hired by Jim Tressel as a special teams coordinator in 2002, Fickell rose to the rank of linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator before Tressel's ouster in 2011.
With the program in turmoil and a roster depleted of its best talent, Ohio State named Fickell interim coach for the 2011 season. The former Buckeye defensive lineman led the team to a 6-7 record after a disappointing season-ending loss to the Florida Gators in the 2011 TaxSlayer.com Bowl.
When Ohio State hired Urban Meyer, uncertainty surrounded Fickell's future. Some speculated he would take a head coaching job at a lesser program.
But Meyer retained Fickell, who returned to his co-defensive coordinator status (first with Everett Withers, then Chris Ash and now Greg Schiano).
Fickell will replace Tommy Tuberville, who resigned last week after going 29-22 in four seasons at the helm. The Bearcats finished 4-8 in 2016.
Cincinnati opens the 2017 season with hosting Austin Peay on Sept. 2nd. More notably, however, it heads to Ann Arbor on Sept. 9 to play the Michigan Wolverines.