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Report: FAU interviews Ohio State's Luke Fickell to replace Pelini

By Jerry Hinnen | Staff Writer

Luke Fickell took Ohio State to a bowl game as interim coach in 2011. (USATSI)
Luke Fickell took Ohio State to a bowl game as interim coach in 2011. (USATSI)
Only six days after Carl Pelini resigned in the face of allegations of drug use, FAU and athletic director Pat Chun are reportedly moving quickly to find the Owls' next coach -- and Chun's Ohio State connections are playing a major role in the search.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday afternoon that Chun flew to Columbus earlier in the day to interview Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, the Buckeyes' 2011 interim head coach.

Reporter Dieter Kurtenbach wrote that Fickell "is Chun's top target for the FAU job." The two were colleagues at Ohio State, with Chun spendning some 15 years working in the Buckeye athletic department before coming to FAU in July 2012.

Fickell has been an Ohio State assistant coach since 2002, first in multiple roles under Jim Tressel, then as Urban Meyer's defensive play-caller. He coached the Buckeyes to a 6-6 regular season and Gator Bowl berth in 2011 following Tressel's sudden offseason resignation.

For Owl fans, the question likely isn't whether Fickell has impressed Chun in their meeting, but whether Chun has impressed Fickell. Having guided the Buckeye defense from 34th in FBS total defense in 2012 to 9th so far in 2013, and with his interim coaching stint a relative success, Fickell might be to prove himself at a higher-profile (and possibly more lucrative) destination than FAU.

Whatever the result of Chun's visit, though, Owl fans can't complain about their athletic director's willingness to aim high -- or act quickly.

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