CINCINNATI, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Luke Fickell is leaving the Ohio State football program, but he's staying in-state.
The Buckeyes' defensive coordinator has been hired to be the University of Cincinnati's next head coach, according to WTOL-11's Jordan Strack. Former Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville stepped down as head coach last weekend.
Strack reported that the official announcement will take place Saturday. Fickell served as the Buckeyes' interim head coach in 2011, following the dismissal of Jim Tressell. That season he led the Buckeyes to a 6-7 mark.
BearcatReport reported early Friday that Cincinnati and Fickell were "in contract negotiations."
I'm told Ohio State's Luke Fickell has been named Head Football coach at Cincinnati. Official announcement will come tomorrow.— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) December 9, 2016
Fickell, 42, and former Texas coach Charlie Strong were to two coaches most rumored to be candidates for the position. John Cooper hired Fickell as a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes in 1999. He has served as the team's defensive line coach, special teams coordinator, linebackers coach, and co-defensive coordinator.
The Bearcats went 4-8 this season and 7-6 in 2015. Before that, Tuberville led the team to two consecutive nine win seasons. Fickell is set to coach the Buckeyes defense at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31 against the Clemson Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The winner of that game will take part in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game January 9 in Tampa.