Luke Fickell arrives in Madison to take over as Wisconsin football coach

The University of Wisconsin’s new football coach arrived in Madison just after 7 pm Sunday in an airplane carrying a Motion W on its tail.

Luke Fickell was greeted by UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, Bucky Badger, a group of senior athletic department staff members and UW’s photo and video teams in a private hangar at Wisconsin Aviation at the Dane County Regional Airport. The gathering was out of sight of reporters.

The UW Board of Regents approved contracts with Fickell in a special meeting Sunday afternoon, athletic director Chris McIntosh said just before he boarded the red-and-white plane to Cincinnati to pick up the now-former Cincinnati Bearcats coach.

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“I couldn’t be happier to welcome coach Fickell and his family to our program, to our university and to our community,” McIntosh said. “I’m really excited about what this will mean for our players in our program today and in the future. I think it positions us in a really strong way, given all the changes that are happening in college athletics, for success in the future .”

McIntosh arrived at the Madison airport’s Wisconsin Aviation terminal for charter aircraft and small planes with his wife, Deann, a little before 3:45 pm; she brought in a cart a few minutes later with what appeared to be six red gift bags and boxes.

They went into a private conference room. The Board of Regents convened a special meeting just after 4 pm and McIntosh was in attendance from that conference room. The Fickell’s contracts were approved in closed session of the virtual meeting.

BadgerExtra columnist Jim Polzin offers his thoughts on the Wisconsin Badgers deciding to hire Luke Fickell as their next football coach.


UW booster Ted Kellner arrived on his plane, which carries UW in its tail number, from Milwaukee while the meeting was happening. He chatted with UW deputy athletic director Marcus Sedberry until the Regents meeting was over a little before 4:30 pm

The McIntoshes joined Kellner on the plane to Cincinnati. The round trip returned less than three hours later with UW’s new coach.

Contact Jim Polzin at jpolzin@madison.com.

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