INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA — Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell accepted the FWAA (Football Writers of America) Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Saturday night.
Fickell, who has already been hailed by ESPN as the Home Depot Coach of the Year, beat out the trio of other HCs to make the CFP — Alabama’s Nick Saban, Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh — and a slew of notable candidates for the award. 2021 qualifies as the second straight year in which the Cincinnati coach has made a finalist appearance.
“I’m truly honored to receive this award,” Fickell said after being named the winner of the honor in late December. “To be mentioned with one of the all-time greats in Eddie Robinson, who did so much for this profession, is humbling.”
Among Fickell’s accolades as the Bearcats team leader (aside from any Coach of the Year honors) are the highest ranked recruiting class in program history, a 47-15 record in six years and the program’s first ever College Football Playoff appearance. He follows in the footsteps of Brian Kelly (2012), Nick Saban (2003 and 2008) and Urban Meyer (2004) as one of the recent recipients of the award.
“I got into coaching because of the impact my coaches had on me when I was growing up, and my goal is to have a positive impact on my players,” Fickell continued. “Any awards we receive are a credit to the success of our team as a whole and the hard work put in by all of our student-athletes.”
To continue voicing his support for players, Fickell uttered the idea of removing the targeting rule from college football games during Saturday night’s award session. The rule, which involves a situation in which a player uses forcible contact beyond means necessary, remains at the center of controversy among both coaches and players due to its harsh rule set — an at minimum ejection for the rest of a game.
“We’ve got to stop ejecting players from college football,” he said as reported by the Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.
Fickell is also set to serve as a guest analyst on multiple ESPN previews shows for the National Championship Game on Monday, including College Football Live (1:30 — 3 p.m.), Championship Drive Presented by Capital One (3 — 5 p.m.) and College Gameday Built by The Home Depot (6 — 8 p.m.).