I thought that my next preview for Ohio State would be of the running backs or wide receivers, maybe even the offensive line or another few words about the quarterback position, really, just about anything other than the head coach. Jim Tressel’s resignation was not a surprise, given the recent investigations of Ohio State, but anytime a man that has run the team for a decade steps down it can leave you unsure of how to proceed. To their credit, OSU immediately came out and said that Luke Fickell, the interim head coach during Tressel’s suspension, would be given the reigns for the entire 2011 football season, and that no coaching search would begin until next year, if at all. Many Buckeye fans know Luke Fickell from his playing days, but what else do we really know about the man that is now coaching one of the biggest programs in college sports?
- Hometown – Columbus, OH
- High School – St. Francis DeSales High School
- College – The Ohio State University, 1997
- 4 Year Starter at Nose Guard for the Buckeyes
- 1 Year in NFL on injured reserve (New Orleans Saints)
- Married with 4 children
- Graduate Assistant (OSU) – 1999
- Defensive Line Coach (Akron) – 2000-01
- Special Teams Coordinator (OSU) – 2002-03
- Linebackers Coach (OSU) – 2004
- Co-Defensive Coordinator, LB Coach (OSU) – 2005-10
- Interim Head Coach (OSU) – 2011
Other than glowing reviews from all of his prior and current colleagues at Akron and Ohio State, and several from former players as well, how do we know that Fickell will be able to handle this job? Recent graduate and go-to wide receiver, Dane Sanzenbacher, said that the situation that Fickell is coming into is ironic because he is a no-nonsense coach that will be able to command respect from the players through his discipline. Former OSU linebacker and current ESPN analyst, Chris Spielman, fears that the media scrutiny may be the most difficult obstacle for Fickell to overcome in his first season as head coach.
Sports media giants like Colin Cowherd are constantly speculating as to who the next head coach at Ohio State will be, completely overlooking the possibility of Fickell being that guy. Names like Urban Meyer, Bo Pelini, Mark Dantonio, Gary Pinkel, and Jon Gruden certainly seem big enough to come in and continue the winning tradition at Ohio State, but why can’t Luke Fickell be given that opportunity? Despite all of the questionable decisions made at or around Ohio State recently, I think that giving Luke the chance to come in and coach one season as his head coaching test is brilliant. Who else gets a free run at their dream job for an entire season?!
Do you think that Fickell will succeed and remain the coach after 2011?