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Last Word

A new era

UC’s new football coach shares why he’ll build his team on Ohio’s blue-collar values.


These past several months have been a whirlwind for my family and me, but one thought remains the same. I could not be more excited to be the head football coach at the University of Cincinnati.

From a young age, I was driven to never be satisfied and always push and want for more. My family has been the biggest influence on my life. My dad is a Vietnam veteran who spent most of his life working in a railroad yard, and my mother is a beautician.

I had to learn how to handle defeat and failure, even though I never truly accept it. You learn so much more from losing. You learn so much more from your failures, as long as they do not crush you and keep you down. When you fall short of something that you dreamed and had planned for so long, it’s the ability to pick yourself back up that makes you a lot better. It has been something I’d say ultimately has changed how I go about everything in my life.

Being a lifelong Ohio resident who has spent his entire coaching career in the state, I believe the blue-collar values that are instilled in our children at an early age are not replicated anywhere else in the U.S. For this reason, we will build the foundation of this program on the shoulders of young men from this state.

Like our colleagues across campus, we want to find students and student-athletes who possess the passion and love for what it is that they are doing. They cannot fake that — you cannot hide that. In any enterprise, competitors are the people who go above and beyond.

We have a singular goal — to win championships — but we also have measurable objectives we will strive to achieve every day.

We are building our program with young men who compete and possess a great passion for football and for life. We demand attention to detail and the desire to be fundamentally sound both on and off the field. My staff and I believe in our young men and are excited to get the season started.

Our university has an incredible amount of great things to offer, and I am happy to be a small part of it. I promise you we will field a team you will be proud of and one that will represent UC with class.

Luke Fickell is an 18-year coaching veteran, including two years at Akron and 15 years at Ohio State, where, as a player from 1993–96, he started 50 consecutive games as nose guard — a school record.



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