This was originally published in The Athletic...
Luke Fickell is going to leave the University of Cincinnati to be the head coach somewhere else.
No, I’m not breaking any news nor am I attempting to ruin the good vibes emanating from the Bearcats’ surprising, feel-good 10-2 season that just earned Fickell American Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year honors. I’m just telling you that based on what I know. There will be a day, probably reasonably soon, when UC is forced to start yet another search to replace yet another departed coach.
This isn’t a difficult conclusion to arrive at, especially if you know some things, and I do.
I know about the track record at UC. You win here, other schools show interest. Cincinnati might not have the highest profile, but no one succeeds here anonymously. There will be opportunities for Fickell, and eventually, one will prove to be too irresistible. There will be gigs that are higher-paying, programs with more tradition, and actual, legit chances to compete for national titles. When you coach the Bearcats, you’re either wanted or you’re Tommy Tuberville.
And Luke Fickell ain’t no Tommy Tuberville.
I know that Fickell can coach, and I know that he absolutely should be on the radar of dozens of athletic directors around the country, both those with openings now – and there aren’t many – as well as those thinking a step or two ahead beyond their current guy. I’ve seen enough in two years, watching Fickell’s rapid rebuild of a program that 24 months ago had become an afterthought, to believe that not only was UC Athletic Director Mike Bohn’s first major hire a home run, but that any AD looking to make an upgrade would be foolish not to have Fickell’s contact info handy.
To read more, go to The Athletic.
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