Luke Fickell has been around football at multiple levels both as a player and a coach, most of those years coming at Ohio State. Fickell entered the limelight as a nose guard at OSU from 1993 to 1996 where he set a record for most consecutive starts with 50. In his senior season as a Buckeye, he was also able to win the Rose Bowl and get his degree. After his graduation, Fickell went undrafted and got picked up as a free agent by the New Orleans Saints.
Fickell's NFL career was short lived as he tore his ACL early on in his rookie year and was cut by the Saints at the end of the year. Being cut brought him back to his Alma mater, Ohio State.
Fickell started back up at Ohio State as a graduate assistant in 1999 and then moved on to Akron where he was a defensive line coach for two seasons. Fickell did not stay with Zips long before returning to Columbus. His next stint with Ohio State would be for the long run and he would stay there from 2002 until taking on the job with Cincinnati, although he will finish out the 2016 season with the Buckeyes. In his time with the Buckeyes he has held a couple of different positions on the team. He started out as a special teams coach from 2002 to 2003, moved on to linebackers coach in 2004, then became linebackers coach/co-defenaive coordinator from 2005 to 2010, and after that would became interim head coach for one year in the midst of the Jim Tressel controversy at Ohio State before returning to his post as LB/Co-defensive coordinator until this year.
Fickell's one year as head coach in Columbus was ugly, as he lead the Buckeyes to a 6-7 record, but that did include a trip to the Gator Bowl where they lost to Florida. I wouldn't hold that poor season against Fickell in any way, as Ohio State just lost its long-time head coach and was missing five or six of their best players for half of the season due to NCAA violations.
What is perhaps easier to judge is Fickell’s acumen as a defensive coach. Ohio State is tied for fourth nationally in total defense this year and was even better when it came to S&P+ defensive rating, ranking third in the country. Since Urban Meyer took over as head coach, Fickell’s defenses have averaged a 19.6 ranking in S&P+, falling no lower than 11 in each of the last three seasons. What that means for UC’s attempts to become better offensively is unclear, but Fickell certainly knows the other side of the ball.
I believe that Luke Fickell will have a good impact on UC's program and it's athletic culture. The Buckeyes have always had a winning culture and crazy fan loyalty and I think that Fickell can bring some of that to Cincinnati.