Cincinnati Football: Most likely targets for the Bearcats head coaching search

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell at Jack Trice Stadium in win over Ohio Bobcats. Getty Images.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell at Jack Trice Stadium in win over Ohio Bobcats. Getty Images. /
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In the aftermath of Luke Fickell’s announcement to leave for the head coaching job at Wisconsin, check out several potential candidates to replace the winningest coach in Bearcats history!

Cincinnati will need to make a smart hire to head to the Big 12 with confidence in competing at a high level and there are a few contenders that could help the Bearcats continue to have success.

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell should be considered a top target after being named Big 12 Coach of the Year three times and taking the Cyclones to a Fiesta Bowl win over Oregon in 2020.

Former Ohio State offensive coordinator and Texas head coach Tom Herman could be an option as well. The Cincinnati native went 32-18 in four years before being fired by the Longhorns in 2021.

Fickell’s departure left fans hoping for a splash hire and a few names popped up on social media including Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders and former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.

Cincinnati Football: Most likely targets for the Bearcats head coaching search

It’s worth a shot to call Meyer and Sanders but both of those seem more unlikely so I’m curious to see what direction Cincinnati director of athletics John Cunningham and company decide to go.

Michigan first-year defensive coordinator Jesse Minter seems to be a realistic target after helping the Wolverines reach a second straight Big Ten championship game behind a dominant defense.

Minter was a graduate assistant at Cincinnati in 2007 and is the son of former Bearcats coach Rick Minter, who was the winningest coach in school history until Fickell broke his record this season.

Ohio State passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Brian Hartline will be a contender for the vacancy but it’s difficult to gauge if either side would be interested in getting a deal done.

There’s also a chance that Cunningham could target a current Bearcats assistant like interim head coach Kerry Coombs, offensive coordinator Gino Guidugli and defensive coordinator Mike Tressel.

Other candidates to keep an eye on include Toledo head coach Jason Candle, Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh, Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley.

Next. Cincinnati Football: Luke Fickell hired as Wisconsin head coach after six historic seasons. dark