After becoming the winningest coach in Bearcats school history but falling short of expectations this season, Luke Fickell has been named the newest head coach at the University of Wisconsin.
Pete Thamel revealed the Badgers were targeting Fickell on Sunday morning and those rumors were quickly confirmed with an official announcement expected to come later in the day.
Bearcats special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs was named the interim coach per Justin Williams, following Fickell’s meeting with the team to disclose his decision.
During his six-year tenure, Fickell helped the program reach new heights with the first ever College Football Playoff appearance, back to back AAC championships and a historic home win streak.
Cincinnati went 57-18 in six seasons under Fickell including a pair of undefeated regular seasons. He was named AAC Coach of the Year three times and received 2021 National Coach of the Year.
Cincinnati Football: Luke Fickell hired as Wisconsin head coach after six historic seasons
Fickell originally agreed to an extension with the Bearcats last offseason and was signed through 2028 but will take over at Wisconsin instead of leading Cincinnati into the Big 12 next season.
Bearcats athletic director John Cunningham will open a head coaching search that will be critical as the program finds itself with plenty of uncertainty and a move to the Big 12 around the corner.
It will be difficult to replace Fickell and his departure will definitely lead to several decommitments and transfers so it’s important to bring in a high quality candidate to ease the transition period.
Michigan Wolverines first-year defensive coordinator Jesse Minter has gained some traction as a potential replacement. His father Rick Minter was head coach at Cincinnati from 1994-2003.
There are several candidates that could interview for the vacancy including Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley and more.