The offseason coaching carousel is stirring up rumors about Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell potentially being a candidate for the Michigan coaching job following Jim Harbaugh’s departure to the NFL.
However, Wisconsin Badgers fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as this seems to be more of a distant possibility than an imminent reality.
Wisconsin Football Head Coach Floated as an Option at Michigan
Recent reports from Pete Thamel of ESPN and Chris Vannini from The Athletic have linked the Wisconsin football program’s head coach, Luke Fickell, to the opening at Michigan.
Despite the speculation, both outlets emphasize that it’s a long shot for Fickell to make the leap to the Big Ten rival. The vacancy at Michigan arose when Harbaugh, who led the Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten championships and a College Football Playoff national championship, left for the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers.
The top contender for Harbaugh’s successor is believed to be Wolverines offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel noted that Fickell had been considered by Michigan in the past, especially when Harbaugh contemplated an NFL return. However, The Athletic’s Chris Vannini suggests that Fickell’s relatively new tenure with the Wisconsin Badgers and an underwhelming debut season might make this coaching move unlikely from both perspectives.
Offensive coordinator and part-time 2023 interim Sherrone Moore is the favorite buy anavar to replace Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Other names: Lance Leipold, Chris Klieman and Dave Clawson. Matt Rhule and Luke Fickell have been considered amid past Harbaugh flirtations with the NFL.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 24, 2024
Why Luke Fickell Coaching at Michigan Seems Rather Unlikely
Having taken the helm at the University of Wisconsin in November 2022, Luke Fickell would face an $8 million buyout if he decides to leave before March 31, 2027.
Additionally, Fickell’s deep Ohio roots, having played and coached at Ohio State for a combined two decades, further diminish the likelihood of him switching allegiance to the maize and blue. Although, watching Fickell take down his alma mater would be objectively hilarious.
If Michigan opts against Moore, ESPN and The Athletic also propose Wisconsin native and former Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold as a potential candidate. Currently coaching at Kansas, Leipold boasts a successful coaching track record, including a turnaround of the Jayhawks program and six NCAA Division III championships at Whitewater.
Wisconsin football could indirectly benefit from Harbaugh’s departure as the coaching drama unfolds. If players recruited by Harbaugh decide to enter the transfer portal during the 30-day window, the Badgers might seize the opportunity and start shopping.
There are also several 2024 Michigan commits that UW was in deep with worth monitoring.
— Dominic Nichols (@DominicNichols0) January 25, 2024
The next move in this coaching chess game will undoubtedly impact Wisconsin football and the entire Big Ten landscape altogether but rest assured; Coach Fickell is highly unlikely to leave the Badgers after one season.
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