College football: Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell turns down Michigan State job

Feb. 10 (UPI) — University of Cincinnati football coach Luke Fickell has turned down an offer to coach at Michigan State.

Sources told Yahoo Sports, the Detroit Free Press and ESPN that Fickell will remain with the Bearcats next season. Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman and members of the Spartans’ coaching hiring committee met with Fickell on Sunday in Cincinnati, but returned to East Lansing, Mich., without a new coach.

Fickell confirmed the decision in a tweet Monday morning.

“Looking forward to more of this in 2020,” Fickell tweeted, including a video of himself celebrating with the Bearcats in the locker room.

Former Michigan State coach Mike Dantonio retired Feb. 4, forcing the school to look for a replacement. Fickell worked with Dantonio when they were both part of the Ohio State Buckeyes coaching staff in 2003. Fickell left Ohio State to take the Cincinnati job in 2016.

Fickell has a 26-13 record at Cincinnati. The Bearcats have won 11 games in each of the last two seasons. They also won their last two bowl appearances, including a 38-6 victory over Boston College in the 2020 Birmingham Bowl.

The Spartans have gone 7-6 in each of the last two seasons. They were 114-57 in 13 seasons under Dantonio. Michigan State posted a 6-5 bowl record under the longtime coach. Dantonio coached for three seasons at Cincinnati before being hired by the Spartans in 2007.

Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh are among the other coaches who have been linked to the Michigan State opening.

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