The Wisconsin Badgers' 2022 campaign didn't go as expected, but the team filled its head coaching vacancy with a hire that's drawn positive reviews across the board.
Luke Fickell, who owns a 63-25 lifetime coaching record, revitalized the Cincinnati Bearcats football program and will seek to do the same in Madison.
While 2023 will be the focus, Fickell says he'd be prepared to coach the team in its upcoming bowl game. He's going to coach the Badgers "in some form."
It's possible he takes over as defensive line coach to start.
Fickell's willingness to jump in right away speaks to his enthusiasm for the position. In a statement relayed to Pete Thamel of ESPN, Fickell spoke glowingly of the opportunity that lies ahead.
"This is a destination job at a program that I have admired from afar for years," said Fickell. "This world-class university, athletic department and passionately loyal fan base all have a strong commitment to success and I can't wait to be a part of it."
If Fickell's pitch to coach in the bowl game is approved, he won't have to wait long to be a part of the team. The Badgers have competed with rotating leadership in 2022, first playing under Paul Chryst until his firing in October.
The team then gave Jim Leonhard his first head coaching role, following a lengthy playing career with Wisconsin and six NFL teams. Leonhard was received well by the players, and he doesn't appear to have animosity with Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh. But ultimately, the powers that be sided with Fickell's level of experience and vision.