Saturday AM Update>
Sources confirm to FootballScoop that Fickell has accepted the job.
Luke Fickell will be the new head coach at Cincinnati, Toledo sports anchor Jordan Strack reported Friday.
Saturday Morning Update>> ESPN's Adam Rittenberg is reporting that Fickell and Cincinnati came to an agreement late last night.
Landing Fickell, 42, gives Cincinnati one of the top up-and-coming defensive minds in college football and a well-respected member of the coaching community. Fickell has coordinated defenses that reached four separate BCS/College Football Playoff championship rounds -- and a 12-0 sanction-shortened season in 2012 -- including this year's group, which ranks No. 4 in total defense, No. 3 in yards per play allowed, No. 9 in yards per carry allowed, No. 1 in pass efficiency defense and No. 3 in scoring defense. Fickell was also the special teams coordinator on Ohio State's 2002 national championship squad.
A Columbus native, Fickell has been an Ohio State lifer to this point. He graduated from Ohio State -- as did his wife, Amy -- and has spent all but two of his 18 years in coaching working for the Buckeyes. And those two years were spent in Akron. This doesn't mean he's confined to the Buckeye State, though. A top recruiter across the Midwest and in Florida, Fickell was won national recruiter of the year honors from Rivals and ESPN.
This trip down state will be well worth it for Fickell, though. Not will Cincinnati represent Fickell's first full-time head coaching job -- he was the interim head coach for the 2011 season bridging the uber-successful Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer eras -- it's proven to be the prime launching pad for coaches in the Midwest. Mark Dantonio turned success at Cincinnati into the Michigan State job, as did Brian Kelly with Notre Dame and Butch Jones with Tennessee.
The Bearcats did suffer a down season this fall -- a 4-8 mark that led to Tommy Tuberville's resignation -- but that losing mark is more than outweighed by seven seasons of 9-plus wins since 2007.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.