Luke Fickell is new to Wisconsin, but not the B1G. He likely knows the rich-standing and under-the-radar rivalry between Wisconsin and Minnesota on the football field.

The 1st-year Badgers’ coach might have added a bit more fuel to the fire to next season’s battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. As if there wasn’t animosity between the Fickell and Gophers’ coach PJ Fleck to begin the season.

According to On3 Sports’ Matt Zenitz, Wisconsin is expected to hire Minnesota co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Paul Haynes. Haynes was hired by Fleck in 2020 and has been a focal point in the defensive transformation of the program over the past 3 years.

Earlier this offseason, Fleck accused Fickell of “negative recruiting” to land recruits. Fickell denied the claim, stating that he would never try to persuade a player from leaving their current commitment by rattling off less-than-ideal comments about the state of a program.

Just because Fickell won’t try to poach players doesn’t mean he’ll do the same with coaches. Haynes has a long-working relationship with the Badgers’ coach due to their time on staff at Ohio State from 2005-11.

Fleck will now have to find a new cornerbacks coach while Fickell can begin preparing for the offseason program. Best believe the fireworks will be at an all-time high come November when the 2 programs meet for another showdown in what could decide the B1G West.