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|New Ohio State football head coach Luke Fickell was 2-time Junior Nationals freestyle champ|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Luke Fickell coaching for Ohio State in a game against Navy. Photo courtesy of Ohio State University
The big news in college football this week was the coaching change at Ohio State, with the resignation of Jim Tressell and the hiring of Luke Fickell as the new interim head football coach for the Buckeyes.
Wrestling fans remember that Fickell was one of the nation’s best high school wrestlers before he pursued his career in college football.
Fickell was a state wrestling champion for DeSales High School in Columbus, Ohio. He was a two-time ASICS Junior National freestyle champion, capturing titles in 1990 and 1991. Fickell was named to the ASICS All-American Wrestling First Team after his senior year in 1992, and was a Second Team member after his junior year in 1991. Many consider Fickell one of Ohio’s best heavyweight high school wrestlers.
Fickell played football at Ohio State instead of wrestling. He competed from 1992-96, redshirting the first year and then starting four seasons at nose guard. He started a school-record 50 consecutive games between 1993 and 1996 and concluded his Ohio State career with 212 total tackles.
He wrestled a match for the Ohio State varsity team while an undergraduate there, but did not pursue college wrestling beyond that.
Fickell has been on the Ohio State football coaching staff for nine seasons. His most recent positions prior to his appointment as interim head coach was as Co-Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers coach.
USA Wrestling recognizes one of its great past champions with congratulations to Luke Fickell for taking over one of the most respected college football programs in the nation.
Luke Fickell Biography Courtesy: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
The Fickell File
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
High School: DeSales High School
College: Ohio State University
Years in Coaching: Nine
Children: Landon, Luca, Aiden, Ashton
Present Interim Head Coach, Ohio State University
2005-2011 Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers, Ohio State University
2004 – Linebackers, Ohio State University
2002-2003 - Special Teams Coordinator, Ohio State University
2000-2001 - Defensive Line Coach, University of Akron
1999 - Graduate Assistant, Ohio State University
Luke Fickell is in his ninth year on the Ohio State coaching staff. He coaches the Buckeyes linebackers and is co-defensive coordinator. He was named to the latter position in April, 2005. In that role, he is 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. 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. Under his tutelage, that unit has excelled, leading the Big Ten in net punting in three of the past five years.
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.