According to sources close to The Sports Bank, Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell is set to become the next head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Fickell is meeting with his players to say goodbye this afternoon, while Wisconsin is expected to make an official announcement on his hire within the next 24 hours or so.
The UW has already announced a Board of Regents meeting. Fickell who is the all-time winningest coach at Cincinnati, led them to the College Football Playoff last season, with a 13-0 record.
They would go on to lose to Alabama in the College Football Playoff, but they still became the first Group of 5 team to ever earn a CFP berth. Fickell, who went 57-18 in his six years at Cincy, has passed over numerous opportunities for power 5 jobs.
The Ohio State graduate, who coached the Buckeyes on an interim level while the Buckeyes were on probation in 2011, seems to have found the perfect fit here.
Our sources weren’t able to confirm his new salary but is thought to be in the neighborhood of $6 million per season.
Fickell replaces Paul Chryst, who was fired in October after going 67-26, with three Big Ten West division titles in eight seasons. He was replaced for the interim by Jim Leonhard, who had previously held the position of defensive coordinator and had been regarded to be a true candidate for the head-coaching gig.
So much for that.
It did seem really curious, why Wisconsin fired Chryst, especially mid-season, given all that he accomplished there. The question at the time was- who is coming through that door now?
Chris McIntosh and UW have answered that question in resounding fashion.
More on Luke Fickell and all this later.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”