Coach Fickell’s loyalty and performance under unusual circumstances this season has earned him the opportunity to remain a key part of the Buckeye coaching staff if he so chooses. Just a few days ago, Urban Meyer made it official and named him co-defensive coordinator, with the likely responsibility of continuing to call the defensive plays on game day. It seemed like the ideal fit for the coach that took on arguably the toughest situation in all of college football heading into the season. During his time at the helm he established that he was a strong football mind and leader, however it was a probably a year or two too early for him to be a head coach. But as is so often the case these days in sports, just when one storyline seems to be laid to rest a new one emerges. With that coach Fickell has been named as one of the front runners to take the head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh. The question now is if the offer comes, should he take it?
Their will undoubtdly be Buckeye fans that say he can’t leave and that doing so would be jumping ship and abandoning his alma mater. To those fans I say this…SHADDUP. Coach Fickell took on an impossible situation this year and while he may not have made all the right moves for the team this season he was accountable and represented the best ideals of The Ohio State University to the fullest. Deep down their was probably a part of himself that knew he wasn’t fully prepared for the role of head coach, but he didn’t shy away from the challenge and took the slings and arrows from fans and media all season like a true leader and professional. By leading this university through one of its toughest times he has earned the right to move on however he sees fit and if that means leaving to another school he will still remain a Buckeye first and foremost in my heart, as he should the rest of Buckeye Nation.
What I hope coach Fickell does, is make the right choice for himself. He has spent the better part of the last calendar year doing what was right for The Ohio State University without any semblance of selfishness. Now is the time for him to be selfish. If he feels that the last year in the lime light and learning on the job as a head coach has given him the experience necessary to succeed at another university, then he should go. And by the way, if given the job, it would be light years easier for him to in Pittsburgh. A historically above average to good school in an awful football conference, he would have the opportunity to rack up wins and establish himself as a hot young coaching product that would be set to take nearly any job in the country within the next five to six years.
There is a flip side though. Like most hard working, succesfull people I’m sure coach Fickell learned a lot about himself this past year. If one of those things was that he truly is still not ready for a head coaching job then he needs to honest enough with himself to pass the opportunity now and continue to learn. In the end though it’s Luke’s time to be selfish. If now is the right time to move on, that’s fine, if not that’s fine too, Buckeye Nation and all its fans will still be here to support him, because he was here when it was needed most.