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#pounditSunday, February 5, 2023

Report: Top school making ‘strong push’ to hire Luke Fickell

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

Luke Fickell has drawn interest from several programs in recent years, and the Cincinnati head coach is once again being pursued by a top school.

Wisconsin is making a “strong push” to hire Fickell as its next head coach, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports. While there is no deal in place, the Badgers have identified Fickell as their top target.

Fickell has been one of the most respected coaches in college football for years. Cincinnati fell to 9-3 with a loss to Tulane on Saturday, but the Bearcats are bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive year under Fickell. The only time they failed to post a winning record was in Fickell’s first season with the program in 2017.

Fickell led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff last year after a perfect 13-0 regular season. The Bearcats were the first Group of Five team to ever reach the CFP. They lost to Alabama in the semifinal.

It has long been viewed as only a matter of time before Fickell leaves Cincinnati for a more prominent job. He explained last year how he was able to focus on the task at hand despite seemingly constant rumors about him leaving the team.

Fickell, 49, has an overall record of 57-18 in six seasons at Cincinnati. He reportedly had interest in at least one other job last season.

Wisconsin fell to 6-6 on the season with Saturday’s loss to Minnesota. Former head coach Paul Chryst was fired by the school on Oct. 2 after a 2-3 start. He was in his eighth year with the Badgers and had led them to bowl games in all of the seven prior.

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