Wednesday, the Buckeyes confirmed Tressel’s “replacement”. And it’s far from a surprising development.
Long-time OSU assistant and former Buckeyes player Luke Fickell has been promoted to assistant head coach, the school announced, and will serve as interim head coach during Tressel’s suspension. He will also retain his role as linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator.
His current contract will be amended to reflect a shift in his responsibilities, although it’s yet to be completed the release stated.
“Luke Fickell is a Buckeye to the core. He has earned this promotion to assistant head coach through his hard work, dedication and performance,” said athletic director Gene Smith in a statement. “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.”
“I am honored to be able to grow at a place and in a program that I know, love and respect. It is extremely humbling,” Fickell said.
Fickell was a four-year starter at Ohio State from 1992-1996, and, with the exception of a two-year period early last decade, has been an assistant at his alma mater since 1999. He’s been the co-coordinator of the defense since 2005.
As the coaching carousel began to spin late last year, Fickell was named in connection to head-coaching openings at Indiana and Miami of Ohio. He’s also considered one of the leading candidates to replace Tressel when he decides to step down as OSU’s coach. Well, he and Urban Meyer, of course.
The school also held a previously scheduled press conference shortly after issuing their press release on Fickell’s promotion, which served as both an “introduction” to the new interim coach and as an opportunity for Tressel to address the imbroglio he’s involved in. While he could not go into any great detail regarding his ongoing situation, Tressel did apologize for letting people down.
“The largest regrets I’ve had in my life have been when I’ve disappointed people, when I’ve let people down,” Tressel said. “The mistakes I’ve made are very disappointing. I’m sorry for that, as I’ve mentioned many times.”