Coach Luke Fickell led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff, so you’d better believe rewards would soon follow. And boy, have they ever.
In fact, Fickell has agreed to a five-year contract extension that will pay him $5 million annually through 2028, per ESPN.
But that’s not all. His assistants are also getting to divvy up a total of $5.2 million, giving them a total raise of $1.4 million.
“I appreciate the efforts of [athletic director] John Cunningham and president [Neville G.] Pinto, who realize in order for us to take the next step to grow the program and go to the Big 12 that we have to invest in people, not just the head coach,” Fickell told ESPN.
Until Fickell got there, Cincinnati football was mostly considered an also-ran, competing in season-ending games such as the Belk Bowl or the Military Bowl or the Forth Worth Bowl. Before Fickell, you knew about Cincinnati, you just didn’t necessarily respect it.
But all that has changed. Fickell and the Bearcats have gone undefeated in the regular season the last two years, with their only losses in that span coming to Georgia in the Peach Bowl and Alabama in the CFP. In five seasons overall under Fickell, the Bearcats are 48-15.
“Cincinnati became the first team from outside one of the five traditional power conferences to reach the College Football Playoff in 2021, a historic season,” ESPN noted. “The school also earned an invite to the Big 12 in September along with UCF, BYU and Houston, which will happen no later than 2024.”
His extension will pay him a little more than $1.5 million per year than he is making now.