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Luke Fickell Cracks The Athletic’s Top 25 Head Coaches List



Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell
Dec 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second half of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell was named to The Athletic’s top 25 coaches in college football list, written by Stewart Mandel.

Wisconsin football made the splash hiring of the offseason when the Badgers named Luke Fickell as its new head coach following an impressive run with the Cincinnati Bearcats. 

Already considered one of the brightest minds in college football, Fickell cracked the top 10 of The Athletics top 25 coaches list, written by Stewart Mandel. 

“After producing nine NFL draft picks in one year at a Group of 5 program, Fickell’s last Cincinnati team did not return to the CFP but still had a 9-3 regular season. His conference record over six seasons leading the Bearats: 35-11. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts as a Big Ten head coach, but his early staff moves have been impressive.”

Luke Fickell Has an Impressive Resume 

For those unfamiliar with Luke Fickell’s resume, he played for Ohio State from 1993-96 and later coached there from 2002-16 before accepting a head coaching position with the University of Cincinnati in 2017.

He compiled a 57-18 overall record in six seasons with the Bearcats, winning two AAC Championships (2020, 2021). Coach Fickell later took the program to an NY6 bowl in 2020 and even led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoffs in 2021, becoming the first Group of Five football program to claim a CFP berth. 

Fickell, an Ohio native, won the AAC Coach of the Year three times (2018, 2020, 2021) in six seasons and essentially won every single National Coach of the Year award in 2021 for his impressive campaign with the Bearcats – vaulting him to the top of most Power 5 program wishlist’s.

Wisconsin Football Wants to Eat with the Big Dogs

The hiring of Luke Fickell this offseason was a clear message from UW AD Chris McIntosh that the expectation is for the Badgers to compete for Big Ten titles and push for an occasional appearance in the college football playoffs

Anything less moving forward will be unacceptable. Of course, when those are the standards, that means the athletic department needs to provide the resources to compete against the nation’s top programs. 

So far, they’ve put their money where their mouth is, allowing coach Fickell enough money to assemble an impressive arsenal of assistants headlined by air raid guru Phil Longo and defensive coordinator Mike Tressel. 

In Fickell, the Wisconsin Badgers are getting one of America’s most recognizable program builders/player development coaches. 

The department will give Fickelll more resources than he had at Cincinnati to build the Wisconsin football program into what we all know it can become. 

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His writing has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, and Fansided.