MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin football program officially announced the hiring of three more assistants Friday as Luke Fickell’s staff becomes clearer.
Mike Brown has been named associate head coach in addition to his role as wide receivers coach, while Gino Guidugli will coach tight ends and coordinate the passing attack. Both coached with Fickell at Cincinnati.
“I really think this is a great mesh of guys with terrific experience and backgrounds,” Fickell said. “They believe in doing things together and their varied knowledge and styles will help us grow as a team. They know the value of developing relationships with players and the importance of developing young men, both on and off the field.”
Brown coached wide receivers at Cincinnati for four seasons and had a dynamic group in 2021 as the Bearcats reached the College Football Playoff. Alec Pierce, a second-round selection by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2022 NFL Draft, led that group of receivers in catches (52), yards (884) and touchdowns (8). Three other receivers on that team had more than 300 yards with at least two touchdown receptions.
This season, Tyler Scott took over for Pierce as UC’s No. 1 wide receiver and posted similar numbers. He caught 54 passes for 899 yards with nine touchdowns, while Tre Tucker had 52 catches for 672 yards and three touchdowns.
Brown, a former NFL receiver, sstarted his coaching career at Michigan (graduate assistant) before moving on to Delaware (graduate assistant) and Liberty (running backs coach).
“I’m thrilled to join the Badger football family and be a part of this great program,” Brown said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with Coach Fickell, Coach Longo and the rest of the staff. I know the caliber of young men that I’ll have the chance to coach here and I am excited to be able to work with them and help them grow as players and as men.”
Guidugli has never coached tight ends before, but he’s a respected offensive mind who has been a popular name for jobs around the country. He was widely supported to become Cincinnati’s head coach when Fickell left for Wisconsin and reportedly garnered interest from Western Michigan. He was also considered a candidate for Kentucky’s offensive coordinator vacancy.
The 39-year-old coached Cincinnati’s quarterbacks for five seasons, including this past season when he coordinated the offense. He was instrumental in the development of Desmond Ridderwho became one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and set multiple UC records in 2021.
Guidugli played quarterback for Cincinnati from 2001-04, finishing his career with 11,453 yards and 78 touchdowns. He played professionally before entering the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan (2010-12). He then coached running backs there from 2013-16 before joining Cincinnati’s staff in the same role. He took over as quarterbacks coach in 2018.
“The history and tradition of Wisconsin football speaks for itself and I’m excited to be a part of that,” Guidugli said. “I’m grateful to Coach Fickell for giving me this opportunity and I’m looking forward to helping this offense maximize its potential. I can’t wait to start working with the tremendous young men we have in this program and helping them succeed both on and off the field.”
The 59-year-old Bicknell, who played center at Boston College from 1981-85, has made numerous stops as an offensive line coach at the pro and collegiate levels. He arrived at North Carolina after spending the 2021 season at Louisville and the 2020 season at Auburn. He coached at Ole Miss for three seasons (2017-19) after stops in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins (assistant offensive line coach), Pittsburgh Steelers (offensive line coach), Kansas City Chiefs (offensive line coach) and New York Giants ( assistant offensive line coach).
“I’m excited to be in Madison and part of the Wisconsin football family,” Bicknell said. “I have tremendous respect for the history of excellent offensive line play in this program and look forward to helping continue that tradition. In my short time getting to know the players, I’ve been very impressed with their character and desire to be great and I look forward to working with them and helping them develop into the best players and people they can be.”
Here’s a look at the confirmed hires on Fickell’s staff:
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks: Phil Longo
Wide receivers/associate head coach: Mike Brown
Running backs: NA
Tight ends/passing game coordinator: Gino Guidugli
Offensive line: Jack Bicknell Jr.
Defensive coordinator/inside linebackers: Mike Tressel
Defensive line: NA
Outside linebackers: NA
Cornerbacks: Paul Haynes
Safeties/special teams: Colin Hitschler