It’s officially official. Welcome to the Luke Fickell era at the University of Wisconsin.
I want to start my blog today that I stand by my blog yesterday, and that it was primarily directed at Chris McIntosh.
Before you bash players on the current roster, remember one thing: they’ve been through a lot this year and now meeting with their third head coach. Many of them lost a good friend from a senseless act of violence. They lost a running backs coach that they loved. They’ve played on. I imagine their emotions are still raw. I hope we can all respect that.
McIntosh noted that he apologized to the players for any decisions he has made that made their experience this season tougher, more painful.
My admiration for Paul Chryst and Jim Leonhard will never change. Two of my favorites. I don’t know Luke Fickell personally (yet), but I know those that do. They rave about him, both as a coach and as someone who simply is a good dude.
My heart still breaks for Jimmy Leonhard with how the process unfolded and I think McIntosh mishandled everything the last two months. Having said that, Fickell has my full support. All three can be (and are) true.
My general thought to Badger fans: Give Fickell a chance. I completely understand everyone’s feelings about how it unfolded with Chryst and Leonhard, but we gotta give him a chance.
Here’s one screenshot from a friend:
Here’s a few things acquaintances told me today about Fickell:
- Great recruiter, super loyal.
- Bad ass dude that the players love AND respect.
- He could have gone anywhere in the last two years but waited for the “perfect” situation.
- He’s the real deal.
- He will fit right in; has the same values system as the people in Wisconsin.
- He’ll give Wisconsin a chance to compete against Ohio State and Michigan every year.
Fickell said that he met with Jim Leonhard last night for an hour and the two will have another meeting on Wednesday. He said he’s “very open” to exploring options to keeping Leonhard on the staff, which would assume having him stay on as defensive coordinator.
At the end of the day, Leonhard needs to do what he feels in his best interest, whatever that means.
Chris McIntosh confirmed that Fickell’s contract is seven years long. It starts at $7.5M per year and averages $7.8M annually. Significantly more than Chryst ever made.
I was encouraged with Fickell in his introductory press conference and felt he was authentic.
Fickell brings a career 63-25 (.716) overall record and a 2-3 (.400) record in Bowl Games (including CFP Bowl games).
Fickell: “We have one objective and one goal. To play for a championship.”
I’m allowing myself to dream, this is dangerous.
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