Why Luke Fickell to MSU Would Be Bad for Michigan

Why Luke Fickell to MSU Would Be Bad for Michigan

February 9, 2020
Luke Fickell has the requisite RBF (image via Lansing State Journal)

Michigan State is looking for a new head coach after Mark Dantonio tried to sneak away (LINK). A couple coaches have quelled rumors about leaving for East Lansing, whether they were contacted or not: Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi (a former MSU defensive coordinator) and Colorado’s Mel Tucker.

Hit the jump for more.

Rumors have centered around Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell as a replacement, and Fickell has not done anything to stanch the rumors. There are even rumors that this is basically a done deal as of Sunday afternoon.

There are a couple reasons why I think the hiring of Fickell would be bad for Michigan. This does not mean that the rivalry would suddenly swing back in the favor of MSU or anything, but this is about more than Michigan vs. MSU.

  1. Fickell hates Michigan. He understands the rivalry after having played and coached at Ohio State, and virtually the closest thing you can get to coaching Ohio State is coaching the Spartans. That hatred and focus on beating Michigan would carry over to the green and white, and he would understand that you prepare to beat Michigan 365 days a year. Whereas Michigan has “bigger fish to fry” in the Buckeyes, Michigan State is historically a mediocre program whose primary goal is to beat the Wolverines.
  2. Fickell can recruit Ohio. This is perhaps the bigger reason. A hatred for Michigan doesn’t necessarily equal a victory on the field, but Fickell is an Ohio guy. He was born in Columbus, went to Columbus (OH) St. Francis DeSales, and played for the Buckeyes. He has done a terrific job at Cincinnati of recruiting Ohio players, and three schools have cleaned up in the Buckeye State recently: OSU, Cincinnati, and Kentucky. Michigan, meanwhile, has stopped recruiting Ohio as hard and has whiffed on a lot of their big-time targets. They have been left to fight for the scraps in Ohio over the past several years, aside from a few (Kyle Kalis, Ben Gedeon, Mike McCray, etc.). Michigan State is a higher profile program than Cincinnati, and I think they could potentially almost eliminate Michigan from being a factor in Ohio. Of course, the Wolverines have already moved on to recruiting heavily in New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, California, and other spots, but Ohio used to be a place where they could pull out some elite players (Elvis Grbac, Desmond Howard, Ricky Powers, Charles Woodson).

I know a lot of Michigan fans will downplay this hire if/when it happens, but I think Fickell is just about the best realistic option to replace Dantonio, and he might even be an upgrade.


  1. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Feb 09, 2020 at 7:06 PM

    Fickell can do better than Michigan State. The B1G East has ohio state, as well as PennSt and MICHIGAN

    In the AAC, he’s king sh:t on turd island, with a fair path to NY6 Bowls. Another year or two of Bearcat success, and he’ll have much, much better options to choose from

    • Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Feb 09, 2020 at 8:24 PM

      Yes, I think LF would be making a mistake if he chooses to leave Cincy for MSU. Not only is MSU in turmoil but its cupboard is also bare after scandals and mediocre recruiting classes. LF would have hard time having winning records having to play OSU, PSU, and Michigan every single year. He’d be a fool to go to MSU at this point. I hope Mike Tressel takes over and Jim can beat MT year after year.

  2. Comments: 1356
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Feb 09, 2020 at 7:34 PM

    I know this is probably an unpopular view, but I think Dantonio is a helluva football coach. A pissant excuse for a human being, but still a helluva football coach. Sparty has been the best coached D in the BIG for years. By far the most consistent tackling team in the conference and has done spectacular work with strength, conditioning, development and scheming. They’re gonna have a hard time replacing that piece of excrement as a football coach.

    I do buy into the notion of Fickell getting help from Columbus with evaluation and recruiting that he won’t get at MSU. I also look at hi one season at OSU which was a caca show. Although I don’t think it was all his fault, it for sure cost him an opportunity there. But, there is absolutely no doubt that he is their by far best option.

    Shurmer isn’t even close and as such is my clear preference.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Feb 09, 2020 at 7:44 PM

      He’s a good defensive coach. S&C? Well there’s a reason why that looks good that has nothing to do with coaching and it’s been going on for decades. Culture? It goes way beyond Look-the-other-way. Offense? Atrocious.

      Dantonio got very lucky to hit on his prime when Michigan and PSU were in turmoil. Now that both are back up to “where they should be” MSU is in a tough spot even if they weren’t dealing with their own problems.

      Dantonio deserves credit for what he produced – he took advantage of the situations and had a very strong resume on the field. But he cut every corner he could to get there. Off the field it was a shh show and he deserves all the credit for that as well.

  3. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Feb 09, 2020 at 7:45 PM

    I think you are right that Fickell is a good choice for MSU.

    I wish Dantonio was still around a few more years to reap what he has sown. Too bad.

    • Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Feb 09, 2020 at 8:28 PM

      Fickell would be a good choice for MSU, but LF would have terrible records there for the next 3-4 years because of the scandals and bare cupboard. LF would be a fool to leave Cincy for MSU.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Feb 10, 2020 at 12:15 PM

      Fickell turned it down and I agree with those saying it’s the right call for him. He benefits from OSU flying high and can do more with the in-state leftovers in Cinci than Lansing.

      Seen Bielema floated and well, that’s just about the right fight for Mandarich State University.

  4. Comments: 400
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Feb 10, 2020 at 11:37 AM

    There are only 4 big ten jobs that Fickell should consider:
    2 are unlikely ever to occur; OSU might open up one “Day”.
    The fourth?
    Maryland…… State has & is surrounded by tons of talent, a big $$$ booster and is closer to SEC country. IF loxley continues to fail to lock this state down a change will be a comin……..
    …….and Fickell would most likely be a first choice option.
    As I See It…………INTJohn

    • Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Feb 12, 2020 at 7:59 PM

      He’d never go to Michigan, and I don’t think Michigan would want him.

  5. Comments: 117
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    Feb 10, 2020 at 12:41 PM

    A guy that I would be afraid of is Lance Leipold at Buffalo. This guy is a winner. I mean, he won at Buffalo! Oh and the 7 National Titles at UW-Whitewater.

  6. Comments: 400
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Feb 11, 2020 at 11:00 AM

    Maybe MSU can land this guy:

    him & staff would work 4 peanuts………intjohn

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