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#pounditTuesday, May 21, 2024

Cincinnati opened up the bank vault for Luke Fickell

Luke Fickell stands in front of his players

There was a time when Cincinnati was a second-tier job, a stepping stone to bigger programs. Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Butch Jones all stayed three seasons with the Bearcats before leaving for a better, higher-paying, higher-profile job.

Luke Fickell has stayed at Cincinnati for five seasons, which is longer than any coach has stayed there in nearly 20 years. And he is proving the school can be a destination. The Bearcats are likewise making a financial commitment to signify the same thing.

Fickell and Cincinnati have agreed to a new five-year contract extension, according to reports. The contract will pay Fickell $5 million per year through 2028.

Considering Mel Tucker just got $9.5 million per season from Michigan State, Fickell easily could have gotten more money had he left for another job. But the $5 million is still a big number for Cincinnati, and enough to keep Fickell.

Cincinnati will be moving to the Big 12, which is how they were able to step up with a much bigger financial offer for Fickell. They also have increased their salary pool for the rest of the staff to $5.2 million.

The Bearcats have only lost seven games in the last four seasons under Fickell, including consecutive top-10 end-of-season finishes. They just made the College Football Playoff as well.

Fickell easily could have moved on to other spots, but with Cincinnati moving to the Big 12 and his pay set to increase, he probably doesn’t see a reason to leave.

Photo: Sep 4, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats coach Luke Fickell stands with his team prior to the game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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