Rumors have been swirling all week that the Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Luke Fickell has interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Florida Atlantic University. Florida Atlantic is looking to replace Carl Pelini, who was forced to resign on October 30 after admitting to the use of illegal drugs.
Are the rumors true? Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer says no. Meyer also said that his permission would be needed before anyone could interview someone on his coaching staff. He says he was not contacted by Florida Atlantic, nor did he give Fickell permission to interview for the job. Meyer claims he would not have given permission for an interview, saying it is not the right time since he does not want the team to be disrupted at a critical point in the season.
Fickell has been on the Ohio State coaching staff since 2002. He does have some experience as a head coach as he coached the Buckeyes in 2011 after former head coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign. Fickell does have a connection at Florida Atlantic in athletic director Pat Chun.
Chun formerly worked in Ohio State’s athletic department and was friends with Fickell. Chun had recently been in Indianapolis for an NCAA baseball committee meeting and is going to be in Ohio this weekend to attend some Florida Atlantic basketball games. Perhaps that is where the rumors stemmed from.
Fickell has been an important part of the Ohio State defense for many years. These rumors don’t seem very likely to be true, but if they are and Fickell is offered a job elsewhere, then there is no doubt that he will be greatly missed at Ohio State. He has coached some great Buckeyes defenses in his years at Ohio State, and any team would be lucky to have him.