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Cincinnati extends Luke Fickell’s contract after playoff run

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl Classic-Cincinnati at Alabama

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell on the sidelines during the game against the the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI- Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell has received a two-year contract extension through 2028 and a raise to $5 million per year after leading the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff.

The university board of trustees approved the contract extension Tuesday, also increasing the football staff salary pool to $5.2 million per year.

“Completing a contract extension for Coach Fickell was a top priority for our athletic department and university, and shows our commitment to growing this football program and taking it to the next level,” Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said in a sattement. “We believe we have the best coach in the country and certainly the best leader for our Cincinnati football program. He has proven that day in and day out by building a culture that consistently wins and breaks records, but most importantly develops men of great character, setting them up to succeed in life.”

Fickell filled various coaching positions at his alma mater Ohio State before being hired by Cincinnati in 2017. He led the Bearcats to the American Athletic Conference title each of the past two seasons and to 13 wins last season.

Cincinnati was the first Group of Five team to make the CFP in 2021 before losing to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. The Bearcats have finished in the AP Top 25 four straight years, including No. 4 in the final poll last season.