After one season in the Big 12, the Cincinnati Bearcats have decided they need to upgrade at the defensive coordinator position. It’s possible that in order to get that upgrade, the school could end up poaching its new coach from the Notre Dame football team.
In Fighting Irish defensive backs coach Mike Mickens, the Bearcats could be going after someone who knows the school well and who knows how to get the most out of his defensive players. According to Cincy On The Prowl, that’s why he’s currently listed as one of the top candidates for the open job.
Of course, it stands to reason that Notre Dame football head coach Marcus Freeman will do whatever he can to keep Mickens on his own staff. Considering that the Irish had one of the best secondaries in the country, it stands to reason they wouldn’t just let him go.
There has even been some talk that Mickens is the heir apparent for the defensive coordinator in South Bend, if and when Al Golden moves onto greener pastures.This past season, it seemed as if there was a chance Golden would do just that.
He was mentioned in several of the head coaching jobs that came open this winter. He didn’t end up moving on, but after being a head coach on the Power 5 level before, it stands to reason he’d like to get there again.
Notre Dame football’s Mike Mickens could be on the move
In the end, whether or not Mickens moves on will likely come down to what he sees as his best career path overall. Certainly he’s got a special place in his heart for Cincinnati. But he’d be taking over a unit that allowed 30 points per game in 2023.
At 54 years old, Golden is almost certainly not at the end of his coaching career. 2024 could be his last season with Notre Dame football. And if it is, it would be great to be able to turn over the unit to an up and comer in Mike Mickens.
That makes it in the Irish’s best interest to try and keep him in town. The big question is whether or not it’s within Marcus Freeman’s power.