Ohio — Since news first broke that Jim Tressel would be serving a
suspension during the 2011 season the question floating around was who
would be the man in charge on the gamedays in which Tressel was missing.
Fickell Promoted to Assistant Head Coach; Will be Interim Head Coach While Tressel Serves Suspension
By Tony Gerdeman
That question was answered on Wednesday as Ohio State announced that
Luke Fickell had received a promotion to assistant head coach. It also
brought along with it the title of interim head coach while Tressel
served his suspension.
“Luke Fickell is a Buckeye to the
core," director of athletics Gene Smith said in a University press release.
"He has earned this promotion to assistant head coach through
his hard work, dedication and performance. We have
great trust and belief in Luke’s ability to work with our entire
coaching staff to lead our young men through the first five games
this fall. I have confidence our entire football family will work
together to maintain our standard of excellence.”
Fickell is entering his tenth year as a member of Tressel's staff. He
became the linebackers coach in 2004, and co-defensive coordinator a
year later, positions he will still hold along with his new titles.
know I'm truly proud to be able to stand up here and accept the role
that they have placed in front of me," Fickell said, referring to Smith and Tressel.
"I know that being my alma
mater, The Ohio State University is something I can truly tell you
that I know, love and respect with all of my heart. And it's
something that has been a part of me since I can't remember when."
graduated from Ohio State in 1997 after starting four years at nose
tackle from 1993-1996 and setting a Buckeye record with 50 consecutive
In 2010 he was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
put in the time and received such accolades, some coaches may begin to
feel entitled when good things come their way. That did not seem to be
the case with Fickell.
His first words to the media were, “I'm definitely humbled and excited
about the opportunity."
is one of the top young assistant coaches in college football, and the
opportunity he is going to get this fall could cement him as one of the
most sought after head coaching prospects in America.
While that doesn't seem to be on his mind at the moment, he knows what an opening he has been given.
obviously very proud to be able to take this opportunity to maybe
strengthen and take a new step in my leadership abilities and
qualities," he admitted.
"But again, this place is not about one person. It's not
about Coach Tress. It's not about whoever's going to be wearing the
headset on Saturday afternoon.
"It's much bigger than that, and we
always know that. Ohio State football never has been and never will
be about just one person in particular.
"It's about Ohio State
football, and most importantly it's going to be about these 2011
While the announcement was made one day before spring practice gets
underway, there really is no plan to change things just yet. Tressel's
suspension does not involve spring football, so as much as possible, it
will be business as usual for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Once spring ball is over and the summer camps have completed,
Fickell and Tressel will finally talk about what being the interim head
coach will really entail.
"We haven't really gone over any of the structural things like that," he said.
"We're focused on one thing—we're focused on starting Thursday. And
I'm sure that after the spring, after the summer, when camps are all
done, Coach will sit down and we'll go over the situation with the
entire staff and how we will handle the whole situation.”
Until then, the plan is to keep everything just as it was before.
When it does come time for Fickell to assume the interim mantle, he
left no doubt that it's not just about him--it's about everybody doing
tell our kids that we know we'll go so much further as a team when
nobody cares who gets the credit. And I think as a coaching staff we
truly live that and believe that obviously from Coach Tress and the
top down. We get that through to our kids each and everyday. We
will go so much further when nobody cares who gets the credit."
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