Jan. 20, 2022
The Bearcats are coming off a 13-1 season that culminated with a berth in the CFP
CINCINNATI – Cincinnati football head coach Luke Fickell announced on Thursday the promotions of Gino Guidugli to offensive coordinator, Colin Hitschler to co-defensive coordinator and Mike Brown to passing game coordinator.
The trio of assistant coaches have been instrumental in Cincinnati’s outstanding two-year stretch that includes back-to-back American Athletic Conference championships and consecutive New Year’s Six bowls. The Bearcats finished 13-1 during a historic 2021 season that culminated in the College Football Playoff Semifinals at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
Guidugli, a member of Cincinnati’s James P. Kelly Sr. Athletic Hall of Fame and a charter member of Nippert Stadium’s Ring of Honor, will enter his sixth season as an assistant coach at his alma mater in 2022, adding the offensive coordinator title while continuing to coach quarterbacks.
“I’m excited to announce the promotion of Gino Guidugli to offensive coordinator,” Fickell said. “We have had some of the best offenses in the country the past few years and Gino’s abilities as a teacher, recruiter and developer of talent are major reasons why. He’s one of the greatest players in school history and a tremendous ambassador for the University of Cincinnati. I am looking forward to continuing to build on what we have started here at UC.”
Guidugli mentored record-breaking quarterback Desmond Ridder the last four seasons, while helping lead some of the nation’s best offenses. Ridder broke Guidugli’s own school record for career touchdown passes, was a two-time AAC Offensive Player of the Year and finished as the third-winningest quarterback in FBS history with 44 victories. In 2021, the Bearcats set school records in touchdowns (70) and points (516), while ranking seventh in the nation in yards per play (6.71) and 11th in scoring offense (36.9).
A Fort Thomas, Ky., native, Guidugli rewrote the record book for the Bearcats from 2001-04 and graduated in 2005. After playing professionally, he started his coaching career at Central Michigan before returning to his alma mater as running backs coach on Fickell’s first staff in 2017. He moved over to coaching quarterbacks in 2018 and was tabbed as passing game coordinator in 2020.
Hitschler will continue to coach safeties as the co-defensive coordinator. He enters his third season as an assistant coach and his fifth season overall with the Bearcats. As UC’s safeties coach, he led the development of 2020 All-AAC First Team selection James Wiggins and 2021 All-AAC First Team selection Bryan Cook, who was picked to play in the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
“I’m thrilled to announce Colin Hitschler as our co-defensive coordinator,” Fickell said. “He has done an outstanding job as our safeties coach the past two seasons and served an integral role on our defensive staff for the last four years. He’s an excellent coach who truly cares about his players on and off the field. He has earned this opportunity and I believe he will continue to do a terrific job for us.”
Hitschler has been heavily influential in the construction of some of the nation’s best defenses and top defensive back units the past two years. In 2021, Cincinnati finished No. 1 in the country in pass efficiency defense (103.37), No. 2 in passing yards allowed (169.2), No. 3 in interceptions (19), No. 4 in opponent completion % (54.0) and No. 5 in scoring defense (16.9). In 2020, Hitschler was named FootballScoop’s defensive backs coach of the year along with Perry Eliano as the Bearcats allowed only seven touchdown passes and finished fourth in the nation in yards per play en route to a 9-1 record.
Brown adds passing game coordinator responsibilities in addition to coaching wide receivers. The former NFL wide receiver and two-time All-American will enter his fourth season with the Bearcats in 2022.
“I’m extremely happy to announce the promotion of Mike Brown as our passing game coordinator,” Fickell said. “Mike has done a tremendous job for us since he arrived here, taking our wide receiver room to the next level. As a former NFL player, Mike knows what it takes to be successful at the highest level. He’s an outstanding teacher of the game and an excellent recruiter. He has been a big part of our success the last three seasons, and he’ll continue to play a major role in our growth as a program.”
Brown’s wide receivers helped lead one of the most prolific offenses in the country in 2021 as UC averaged more than 400 total yards per game for the second-straight season, while setting several school records. Wide receiver Alec Pierce collected All-AAC Second Team honors in 2021 after tallying 52 receptions for 884 yards and eight touchdowns. He also earned an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Brown coached at his alma mater, Liberty, Delaware and Michigan before joining the Bearcats in 2019. He played three seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars after collecting FCS All-America honors with the Flames.
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