Veteran defensive coordinator and Ohio native Luke Fickell was named the University of Cincinnati’s 42nd football head coach in December 2016.
The 43-year old Fickell is an experienced 18-year coaching veteran at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. His impressive resume includes being on the staff of two national championship winning teams, seeing 12 of his players selected in the NFL Draft, and coordinating outstanding defenses over the last 12 seasons as a co-coordinator or defensive coordinator.
He is also an excellent recruiter with strong Midwest and Florida relationships, a national presence when needed and a discerning eye for talent. He was named the American Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year in 2010 and he was named a “top recruiter” in 2012 by both Rivals and ESPN.
While recognized as a respected mentor to his student-athletes while sharing life experiences as a former standout football player, college graduate, NFL player and as a husband and father, Fickell is most-noticed as a developer of talent and of really good defenses.
In 2005, he helped guide a defensive unit to fifth in the NCAA in total defense and first in rushing defense. In 2007 the team was first in total defense, first in scoring defense and first in pass defense. In 2009 and 2010, the Buckeyes were fifth and fourth, respectively, in total defense.
During Ohio State’s undefeated, 12-0 season of 2012, Fickell’s defense capped a season-long path of improvement by ranking
During Ohio State’s 2014 national championship season, the defense continued to improve each week. The unit recorded the first shutout in a conference championship game in Power Five history with a 59-0 victory over Wisconsin while limiting Heisman Trophy finalist Melvin Gordon to 2.9 yards per
In the College Football Playoff semifinal win over No. 1 Alabama, the defense forced seven Alabama punts, had three interceptions in the last 18 minutes of the game and effectively nullified the talents of Heisman Trophy finalist receiver Amari Cooper.
And finally, in the national championship game vs. Oregon and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota, the defense held the Ducks 100 yards below its offensive average and surrendered just 10 points off four Ohio State turnovers.
Ohio State’s 2015 unit ranked ninth nationally in total defense, second in scoring defense, sixth in pass efficiency defense and was a major reason the team went 12-1 on the season.
The 2016 Buckeyes earned a spot in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson after finishing the regular season 11-1 and ranked No. 3 in CFP poll. OSU won five consecutive games to close the season and boast the nation's No. 4 total defense (282.3 yards per game allowed), including the No. 1 pass efficiency defense and the No. 3 scoring defense (14.2). DE Tyquan Lewis was the Big Ten's Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection, along with S Malik Hooker, LB Raekwon
His NFL Draft selections include first-round picks A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, Ryan Shazier and Darron Lee, NFL standout James Laurinaitis and Joshua Perry, Anthony Schlegel, Larry Grant, Marcus Freeman, Austin Spitler, Ross Homan and Brian Rolle.
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Fickell was much more than a just a steadying influence in 2011, though. He was a leader through one of the most difficult times in Ohio State athletics history. He kept the team focused and, despite 53 games missed by starters, the constant molding of two first-year quarterbacks and inexperience and youth up and down the lineup, he had the Buckeyes in control of their Big Ten championship destiny well into November.
Prior to Fickell's appointment to serve as head coach in 2011, he had been promoted to assistant head coach in March 2011.
Fickell's coaching career began at Ohio State. After spending a year on the injured reserve list with the New Orleans Saints, he was hired in 1999 as a graduate assistant at Ohio State by his college coach, John Cooper.
Fickell's first full-time coaching position came in 2000 under Lee Owens at Akron, spending two years as defensive line coach. Jim Tressel brought him to Ohio State as special teams coordinator in 2002 and he also worked
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Fickell is a graduate of DeSales High School, where he was a three-time, undefeated state wrestling champion, and he is a 1997 graduate of Ohio State. He played for the Buckeyes from 1992-96, redshirting the first year and then starting the next four seasons at nose guard. He started a school-record 50 consecutive games between 1993 and 1996.
Fickell concluded his Ohio State career with 212 total tackles, including 26 tackles-for-loss and six sacks. During his four years in the starting lineup, the Buckeyes posted a record of 41-8-1 with a pair of Big Ten co-championships. With the win over Arizona State in the Rose Bowl, the Buckeyes finished the 1996 season with a sparkling 11-1 record and were second in the nation in both major polls in the final rankings.
Fickell graduated from Ohio State in 1997 with a degree in exercise science.
Luke and his wife, Amy, a graduate of Ohio State’s physical therapy school, have six children: Landon, Luca, twin sons
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