Wisconsin hires Luke Fickell as head football coach

Fickell becomes the 31st head coach in program history.
Wisconsin football is ringing in a new era with the announcement of Luke Fickell as the next head football coach.
Published: Nov. 27, 2022 at 5:05 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2022 at 2:25 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin football is ringing in a new era with the announcement of Luke Fickell as the next head football coach.

The hire came quickly, as sources started reporting Sunday morning that Fickell was in the running for the position.

The UW Board of Regents met Sunday afternoon before UW confirmed its decision to hire Fickell.

“I am incredibly excited to announce Luke Fickell as our new head football coach and to welcome his entire family to Madison,” Wisconsin Director of Athletics Chris McIntosh said. “Luke is one of the top football coaches in the country. He is a proven winner, recruiter and developer of players. Equally as important, he shares our values. Coach Fickell is focused on giving our student-athletes the best opportunities possible and is attuned to the changing landscape of college athletics.”

Fickell took the Cincinnati football program to new heights, leading them to their first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoff in 2021, a season where Fickell collected eight national coaching honors.

Fickell was hired by the Bearcats on Dec. 10, 2016, and led Cincinnati to back-to-back 11-win campaigns in 2018 and 2019 and an undefeated regular season that culminated with a Peach Bowl berth in 2020. Then in 2021, Fickell guided the Bearcats to the greatest season in school history, leading them to an appearance in the College Football Playoff Semifinals at the Cotton Bowl and the first-ever 13-0 regular-season record in Bearcat history.

“My family and I are thrilled to join the Wisconsin family,” Fickell said. “This is a destination job at a program that I have admired from afar for years. I am in total alignment with Chris McIntosh’s vision for this program. There is a tremendous foundation here that I can’t wait to build upon. This world-class university, athletic department and passionately loyal fan base all have a strong commitment to success and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Fickell is no stranger to the Big Ten, he began his coaching career at his alma mater, Ohio State. After spending a year on the injured reserve list with the New Orleans Saints, Fickell was hired in 1999 as a graduate assistant at OSU by his college coach, John Cooper.

Fickell first gained head coaching experience in 2011, taking over as interim head coach in Columbus for one season. He led the Buckeyes to a 6-6 regular season record and a berth in the Gator Bowl.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Fickell played for the Buckeyes from 1992-96, redshirting the first year and then starting the next four seasons at nose guard.

Fickell graduated from Ohio State in 1997 with a degree in exercise science. Fickell and his wife Amy have six children: Landon, Luca, twin sons Aydon and Ashton, and twin sons Laykon and Lucian.

The hire replaces Paul Chryst, who was fired in the middle of this year’s football season. Jim Leonhard, the former defensive coordinator, took over after Chryst was fired. Leonhard was also considered a candidate for the head-coaching position.

Wisconsin will hold a welcome event for Luke Fickell and his family on Monday at 4 p.m. and a press conference will be held with Fickell and Chris McIntosh following the welcome event.

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