The Badgers officially hired Andy Buh this afternoon, in addition to promoting Ben Strickland from graduate assistant to full-time assistant coach. (Photo courtesy UWBadgers.com)
MADISON, Wis. -- It's been rumored for a few weeks, but the Badgers made it official today: Nevada defensive coordinator Andy Buh joined Bret Bielema's staff as his new linebackers coach, according to a press release. Buh (pronounced "Boo") spent the last two seasons as Nevada's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, after coaching for three seasons at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.
"I've known about Andy for several years and had the chance to visit with him at the coaches' convention in San Antonio recently," Bielema said via release. "I came away very impressed with his teaching ability, his passion and his personality."
In Buh's two seasons as defensive coordinator, the Wolfpack defense allowed an average of 23.3 points per game, and ranked 18th in the country in rushing defense in 2010.
In addition, former Badger defensive back Ben Strickland was promoted from graduate assistant to full-time assistant coach. Strickland spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant with the Badgers, after graduating from Wisconsin in 2007. In addition to his new role as defensive secondary coach, Strickland will assist with special teams as well.
"Since I arrived in Madison I've been impressed with Ben, first as a player and team captain, then as a high school coach and for the last three years as a member of our staff," Bielema said. "I have watched him grow personally and professionally. He exhibits great leadership and is a tremendous teacher. Our kids really respond to him. I'm thrilled to be able to give Ben his first opportunity at a full-time job."
"Today is a great day," Buh said via release. "I'm very excited and enthused about joining the University of Wisconsin's football staff. I'm thrilled with this opportunity and can't wait to hit the field running. Coach Bielema has given me the opportunity of a lifetime and I'm humbled to be a part of his staff. I look forward to every part of this experience and can't wait to get working."
"When Coach Bielema presented this opportunity to me I was very humbled by it," Strickland said via release. "To be able to play for my home state school, a school I loved growing up, get my start in coaching here and then bring it full circle and be hired on full-time is a dream come true for me. It's something I feel very fortunate about and something I have worked hard for. I'm going to continue to work hard and do what's best for the program and what's best for these kids."
Buh will have a deep class of linebackers to work with when he begins his work with the Badgers. Mike Taylor and Chris Borland were the top two tacklers in the Big Ten in 2011, with Borland also being third in the Big Ten in tackles for loss. Buh will have a number of talented younger players to work with as well, including Conor O'Neill and Ethan Armstrong.
Strickland will coach the defensive secondary in place of DeMontie Cross, who left to coach linebackers at Kansas. Strickland is a former Badgers defensive back, who helped beat the Minnesota Gophers in 2005 by recovering a blocked punt in the endzone. The Badgers will be looking for more consistency out of their secondary, which gave up too many big plays in 2011, some of which resulted in heart-breaking losses for the Badgers.
With the hiring of Buh and promotion of Strickland, the Badgers have to fill just one more coaching position. The Badgers are still looking for a tight ends coach, after Joe Rudolph departed for Pittsburgh with former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.