Coach Fickell became the 31st head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers in November and will usher in a new era for one of the most consistent programs in college football — hoping to elevate them to new heights.
The University of Wisconsin has accumulated the most wins among Power 5 programs during the College Football Playoff era, which has failed to make the big dance. During that stretch, the Badgers also compiled the third-best Big Ten conference record (54-26) behind only Michigan and Ohio State.
At Cincinnati, Fickell compiled a 57-18 overall record in six seasons with the Bearcats, won two AAC Championships, and became the first Group of Five head coach to lead his program to the College Football Playoffs.
While only 15 minutes long, Fickell’s appearance aired live on Big Ten Network, covering a myriad of topics.
Here’s a quick recap and some thoughts on Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell and his Big Ten Media Days appearance.
Luke Fickell Was Complimentary of the Badgers Culture
Luke Fickell started the press conference by talking about his first eight months as head coach of the Wisconsin football program.
While evaluating his new players, seeing the way they worked, and building relationships with them, one thing became abundantly clear to Fickell: this program has a fantastic culture.
“Witnessing the culture of young men that we have in our program by far exceeds anything that I’ve learned,” Luke Fickell said. “Because of that, I must give a lot of recognition to those that have come before me.
“To recognize Coach Alvarez, Coach Bielema, Coach Leonhard, and Coach Chryst. The Foundation that those guys had laid and built over the last 20-something years is really evident, and it’s deep-rooted … and to them, I owe a lot for what I’m walking into.”
From the outside looking in, Coach Fickell has already instilled a high level of accountability, intensity, and energy within the Wisconsin football program. The new coaching staff has also done an excellent job embracing the program’s history and implementing their core beliefs to enhance things and take them to the next level.
How Will Wisconsin Football Define Success?
Before the media even asked Luke Fickell any questions, he wanted to get ahead of what he knew was coming. How do you define success in year one, and what are your expectations?
“We have one objective, and that’s to play for a championship,” Fickell told the media. “That won’t ever change.”
Athletic Director Chris McIntosh hired the former Cincinnati head coach to elevate the program’s ceiling, and it’s pretty clear he holds himself and his players to the same standard.
“Nobody outside of our walls … will define what success looks like for us,” he continued. “Success looks like, to me, when you play your best ball at the end of the year.”
The fanbase and the media have high expectations for the Wisconsin football program starting in year one due to the returning players, the new coaching staff, and the impactful off-season additions. But Nobody will hold themselves to a higher standard than the people within those four walls.
Why Luke Fickell Chose the Wisconsin Football Program
Once the media had the floor to ask questions, Luke Fickell was asked why he chose the Wisconsin football program, considering reports suggested he’s received some elite-level coaching offers in the past.
“It has a lot to do with being back in the Big Ten,” he said. “It has a lot to do with the respect I had playing against and preparing for Wisconsin. … Understanding, recognizing what the culture what I assumed the culture was like from afar. It felt like something that was really, really in my wheelhouse.”
The follow-up question was, what is Fickell ball all about? And he delivered a response that should make Badgers fans grin ear to ear.
“It’s not about me,” Fickell said. “Hopefully, we all will understand that. It’s about the way we can do things together.”
Luke Fickell is a class act — and doesn’t need his team to practice their standing ovations when he enters a room. He’s a team-first head coach, and the Wisconsin football program is in good hands.
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