Thu, 09 Feb 2023

Wisconsin DC Jim Leonhard will leave after bowl game

Field Level Media
07 Dec 2022, 14:40 GMT+10

Jim Leonhard will not remain at Wisconsin as part of new coach Luke Fickell's staff in 2023, Leonhard announced Tuesday night.

On Twitter, Leonhard said he will coach Wisconsin's defense against Oklahoma State in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Dec. 27 in Phoenix. But the erstwhile interim coach said he will not stay beyond that.

"It has meant the world to me to be able to pour my heart and soul into the UW football program for the last seven years," Leonhard wrote on Twitter. "After discussions with my family and Coach Fickell, I will remain DC through the bowl game but will no longer be part of the staff after the conclusion of the 2022 season."

Leonhard, 40, had been Wisconsin's defensive coordinator since 2017 - turning the school into a top-five defense nationally during that time. He led the Badgers to a 4-3 record -- and the bowl appearance -- as interim coach after coach Paul Chryst was fired on Oct. 2.

Fickell was open to Leonhard returning, but the new coach also has brought along two key defensive assistants from Cincinnati -- defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mike Tressel and co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Colin Hitschler.

"I definitely opened the door for Jim to be here," said Fickell, who was hired after a 57-18 run at Cincinnati.

Leonhard, who was a three-time All-American at Wisconsin from 2001 to 2004 before going on to a 10-year NFL career, also tweeted, "It has been an honor to coach these young men, and thank you to all the fans who supported us along the way. On Wisconsin!"

--Field Level Media

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