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#pounditWednesday, January 26, 2022

Luke Fickell explains how he has handled interest from other programs

Luke Fickell stands in front of his players

Luke Fickell has found himself in the awkward position of chasing a national championship while being pursued by other programs, but the Cincinnati coach insists he has not let it become a distraction for his team.

Fickell confirmed the obvious to ESPN’s Andrea Adelson this week — he has received interest from several other schools. Naturally, those schools wanted to speak with Fickell as soon as they could. He says he took a hard stance and refused to speak with anyone until the day after Cincinnati played Houston in the AAC Championship Game.

“Those people want to talk, they don’t want to wait,” Fickell said.

Fickell joked that even his son, Cincinnati offensive lineman Landon Fickell, was calling his mother (Luke’s wife) to find out what was going on with all the rumors. Fickell gave credit to the Bearcats’ leaders for keeping the team focused.

“Then, you’ve got your own kid on the team and he starts calling his mom, ‘What’s going on?'” Fickell said. “‘Nothing. I tell you the same thing I tell the team.’ It’s very fortunate that we’ve got the older crew that we’ve got that did a phenomenal job of just handling — whether it was the playoffs or not playing well enough — it didn’t get to them too much.”

It’s unclear what the future holds for Fickell. He supposedly had interest in at least one other college job, but that and all of the other big ones have already been filled. With Cincinnati in the College Football Playoff, it may make more sense for Fickell to explore NFL jobs. Or, he could get a raise at Cincinnati and remain right where he is.

The Cincinnati job is usually treated as more of a stepping stone, but this is also the first time the school has been to the College Football Playoff. Perhaps Fickell likes the look of the future at his current job.

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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