Former Buckeye and Columbus native is the 23rd head coach in program history
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Luke Fickell was promoted to the position of head coach of the Ohio State football team May 30, 2011. The team’s former assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach thus becomes the 23rd head coach in 121 years of Buckeye football.
Fickell is only the fifth Ohio State head coach in the last 60 years, after Woody Hayes (28 seasons; 1951-78), Earle Bruce (nine seasons; 1979-87), John Cooper (13 seasons; 1988-2000) and Jim Tressel (10 seasons; 2001-10).
“We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best – representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life,” Director of Athletics Gene Smith said in naming Fickell to the position. “We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach. We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program.”
The 2011 season will be Fickell’s 10th on the football staff. The promotion to head coach will be on an interim basis this season. After the 2011 campaign, a search for a permanent head coach will be conducted and Fickell will be a candidate to assume the position going forward.
Prior to Fickell’s appointment as head coach he was promoted to assistant head coach in March 2011 and also coached the Buckeye linebackers and served as co-defensive coordinator. He was named to the latter position in April 2005. In that role, he was actively involved in game planning and strategy.
Fickell is a Columbus native (DeSales High School, where he was a state wrestling champion) and a 1997 graduate of Ohio State where he was a four-year starter at nose guard while earning his degree in exercise science. Post-graduation, Fickell spent a year on the injured reserve list with the New Orleans Saints before beginning his coaching career.
During his first two years at Ohio State, Fickell was in charge of the special teams and assisted with the defensive front. In his role as special teams coordinator, Fickell had specific responsibility for the punting team.
Fickell played for the Buckeyes from 1992-96, redshirting the first year and then starting the next four seasons at nose guard. He started a school-record 50 consecutive games between 1993 and 1996.
Fickell concluded his Ohio State career with 212 total tackles, including 26 tackles-for-loss and six sacks. During his four years in the starting lineup, the Buckeyes posted a combined record of 41-8-1 overall and were 26-5-1 in Big Ten play with a pair of Big Ten co-championships to their credit. With the win over Arizona State in the Rose Bowl, the Buckeyes finished the 1996 season with a sparkling 11-1 record and were second in both major polls in the final rankings.
Luke and his wife, Amy (an Ohio State physical therapy graduate) have four children: Landon, Luca and twins, Aydon and Ashton.