It doesn’t seem like we’re going to have a crazy coaching carousel this year. Kansas and North Carolina have already filled their vacancies with coaches that were out of the sports, and the biggest potential opening—USC—is keeping Clay Helton for another year. That leaves Maryland football.
After a prolonged set of investigations following the scandals surrounding the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, D.J. Durkin was eventually fired as head coach.
Matt Canada did some nice things as interim head coach, including a season-opening win over Texas. The Terps fell short of a bowl, but he should at least get some serious consideration for the full-time job.
Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is reportedly a “leading candidate” for the position as well. The former Terps offensive coordinator checks a lot of boxes, but has significant red flags stemming from his tenure as New Mexico head coach.
In a report about Locksley, AL.com names another pretty big-name coach that Maryland football could target: Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell.
That comes from a tidbit in a piece by Matt Zenitz:
Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, a former Maryland assistant, is considered one of the early favorites to land the Maryland head coach job, sources told AL.com.
It’s still early in the process, though, and Maryland officials also have an interest in some other coaches such as Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, according to sources.
In his second year as head coach at Cincinnati, Fickell has done an impressive job of turning around the Bearcats. The program was 4-8 in its final year under Tommy Tuberville, and the same in Fickell’s first season in 2017, but launched up to 10-2 this year, with a 6-2 record in the tough AAC.
The Bearcats have recruited well and appeared in the Top 25 earlier this year. It makes sense that Fickell will get looks at big programs. The question is: would the Maryland job be an attractive enough opening for him, if the Terrapins came calling?
Fickell would be in the same division as his alma mater Ohio State, where he coached for 16 years under Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer. Fickell showed that he could keep a team together amid scandal and uncertainty, serving as the interim head coach after Tressel’s firing, but he also has a really good thing at Cincinnati.
Fickell should also get looks if and when Urban Meyer eventually leaves Columbus, whether that is this off-season as some have speculated, or in a few years down the road. If Locksley winds up getting the offer, it seems likely that he will be the next Maryland head coach. Fickell might not be as quick to grab a job like that.