Report: Jim Leonhard staying on staff at Wisconsin
When Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin’s athletic director, made the decision to revamp the football program by hiring Luke Fickell to be the head coach , players and fans were concerned that this might mean the end for Jim Leonhard in Madison.
Fickell offered a glimmer hope that Leonhard might be back during his introductory media conference . He stated that they had met and that Fickell was interested in keeping the ex-All-American safety officer at Wisconsin.
Fickell is busy assembling his coaching staff Jim Leonhard will apparently return to Wisconsin, per Jeff Potrykus .
Leonhard, a former Broyles Award finalist for the top assistant coach in college football was appointed as the interim head coach at Wisconsin following the firing of former head coach Paul Chryst . Under his leadership, the Badgers won four of seven games to qualify for the bowl.
As a result, many fans and players rallied around Leonhard to make him the full-time coach. It seems that it all worked out for Wisconsin. According to Potrykus, the Badgers will not only have Luke Fickell as their new leader, but they will also retain their top-flight defense coordinator.
Leonhard recently turned down the Green Bay Packers position as defensive coordinator. He has six years of experience as a defensive coordinator. The Badgers have been one the most successful defensive teams in the country under his leadership, ranking third in scoring defense, first for total yards allowed and first for pass efficiency defense in his first five years. With Leonhard expected to return, Luke Fickell will have to make some decisions about his defensive staff. Mike Tressel, Colin Hitschler, and Colin Hitschler were the co-defensive coordinators at Cincinnati. They are already recruiting for the Badgers. Although exact titles will be determined in the future, Tressel has extensive experience working with special teams and linebackers. Hitschler started his coaching career primarily as a coach for safeties, which is the same area Leonhard has covered over the years.
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With a formal announcement possibly coming in the next week, it will now be interesting to see if any other Wisconsin defensive assistants stay aboard as well.
While Leonhard’s impact has been well documented, it is also evident that he is loved by current players. This should increase player buy-in, and help to ensure that players stay instead of moving.
Chris McIntosh should consider this a home run if Leonhard does indeed return. Leonhard could be promoted to associate head coach, which would increase his salary, which was already more than $1 million last year.
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