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The Wisconsin Badgers Made An Outstanding Hire

Did the Wisconsin Badgers shock college football by hiring this head coach?


The college football offseason has yet to start technically. Still, familiar head coaches are finding themselves new homes, and in Madison, Wisconsin, they might have just hit a grand slam with their new head coaching hire.

Wisconsin hired former Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell to take over as the new head man and get the program back to competing in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin fired their head coach Paul Chryst earlier this season, and he finished with a record of 67-26 with the Badgers. The Badgers made the defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard their interim head coach, and many people thought he could take the job over next season.

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Wisconsin finished the regular season 6-6, and depending on the bowl game results, they could have their first losing season since 2001. 

Fickell has been one of the most-wanted coaches by big-time programs over the last few seasons, and he finally took the job he wanted; now it’s his time to turn around the Badgers program.

Who Is Luke Fickell?

The 49-year-old Columbus, Ohio, native has been around football for his entire life. So Fickell also knows what it takes to comepte and win in the Big Ten Conference.

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Fickell was a defensive lineman for the Ohio State Buckeyes in the mid-90s and became a graduate assistant coach for the team in 1999. The year after, he went to the University of Akron to coach the defensive line, but he returned to the Buckeyes in 2002, and he would serve many positions on the staff until he left for the Cinnanctti Bearcats in 2017. 

Fickell was named interim head coach for Ohio State in 2011 after the tattoo scandal with players on the team, which led head coach Jim Tressel to step down.

The program hit a giant roadblock, and it was up to Fickell to get them out of the traffic jam. The Buckeyes had a terrible season and finished with a losing record of 6-7. 

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Ohio State hired Urban Meyer to be the head coach the next season, and Fickell returned to being the co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach from 2012-2016.

Fickell accepted the Cincinnati head coaching job in 2017, and the first season didn’t go so well, finishing with a losing record of 4-8, but things got better quickly for the Bearcats.

Fickell would lead the team to five straight winning seasons, making an appearance as the highest-ranked non-power five team, and go to a New Years’ Six Bowl in 2020, which was the Peach Bowl, where they would lose to Georgia.

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In 2021 the Bearcats had the run of their lives. They were the first non-power five school to make the College Football Playoff, which nearly seemed impossible for any non-power five school to do.

They would go on to lose to Alabama in the playoffs, but it was a magical season for Fickell and the Bearcats, leading his name to many of the top head coaching positions.

Fickell would not accept any head coaching job in 2022, and he returned to Cincinnati, where he would go 9-3; then he decided it was time to move on and accept the Wisconsin head coaching job.

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Why This Hire Was A Home Run

This hire should be a perfect one. Fickell knows how to win and has shown it everywhere he has been, from a player to a coach.

The Big Ten will be a gauntlet to go through in 2024 when they add UCLA and USC to go along with Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan. The college football playoff is also expanding to 12 teams in 2024 so Wisconsin would love to be able to put a winning product on the field each season and go to the playoffs.

Fickell should have a great career at Wisconsin, and if you’re a Badger fan, you should be very excited that they landed this great leader and coach.

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Written By

My name is Danny Fisher, and I'm a feature writer at Stadium Rant. I am a fan of many sports from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, College Sports, PGA, and whatever else is on. In addition, I enjoy golfing and doing other outdoor activities when I'm not writing about Sports.

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