Wednesday, March 30, 2011

LUKE FICKELL TO COACH BUCKEYES IN TRESSEL'S FIVE-GAME ABSENCE

Ohio State assistant coach Luke Fickell will coach the Buckeyes in head coach Jim Tressel's absence. (The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
COLUMBUS — Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was promoted to assistant head football coach, the university announced on Wednesday, meaning that he will replace the suspended Jim Tressel as the Buckeyes top man on the sideline during the first five games of the 2011 regular season.

"I am honored to be able to grow at a place and in a program that I know, love and respect," Fickell said. "It is extremely humbling."

Fickell, who is entering his 10th season on the Buckeyes staff, was named the 2010 National Assistant Coach of the Year (FBS) by the American Football Coaches Association.

Ohio State director of athletics, Gene Smith, said the decision to promote Fickell was an extremely easy one to make.

"Luke Fickell is a Buckeye to the core," Smith said Wednesday. "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."

The Buckeyes first five games this season are against Akron, Toledo, Colorado and Michigan State at home, with a road trip to Miami (Fla.) wedged in between.

Tressel said he feels at ease with Fickell at the controls.

"I have tremendous confidence that (Fickell) will take care of things just as they should be," Tressel said Wednesday.

Fickell was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes from 1992-96 at nose tackle, where he set a school record with 50 consecutive starts between 1993 and 1996. He finished his career at Ohio State with 212 total tackles (26 for loss) and six sacks.