Chris Ash is most likely gone, but could Charlie Partridge (left) be lured back to Wisconsin? - USA TODAY Sports
Could Barry rein back in Charlie Partridge, Bart Miller and Ben Herbert?
Barry Alvarez swooped down from his lofty Director of Athletics perch to lead Wisconsin into the Rose Bowl and promise he'd find a good coach. The former decision captivated Madison and, by all accounts, invigorated a group of players stunned by the departure of Bret Bielema. The latter has translated into the hiring of Gary Andersen, already widely regarded as a slam-dunk hiring.
So what could Alvarez' next superhero act be? According to Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal, Alvarez is making a push to retain Charlie Partridge, Wisconsin's former associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach who has since followed Bielema to Arkansas. Partridge was the Badgers' most valuable recruiter -- particularly in Florida -- and an extraordinarily respected coach by the players.
But Andersen is reportedly bringing a few assistants from his Utah State staff to Wisconsin, a couple of which lie on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is likely coming to Madison, along with associate head coach, special teams coordinator and safeties coach Bill Busch and Utah defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a.
So where would Partridge fit? As Tom Lea of ESPN Wisconsin wonders, would Partridge accept a role as, say, linebackers coach, after coaching the d-line for five years? He very well could, and both Alvarez and the players highly respect him.
Mulhern also cites sources saying that Alvarez is also hoping to retain offensive line coach Bart Miller and strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert. Miller has been largely left in limbo by this whole situation, as he's been credited for both turning around Wisconsin's offensive line after the firing of first-year line coach Mike Markuson and becoming a very player-friendly coach. Miller is young and popular, and there has been a strong groundswell of support for him among the fan base.
Herbert, meanwhile, has been an integral part to the Badgers' recent success. He followed Bielema to Arkansas after 11 years with Wisconsin, including the last four as head strength and conditioning coach. He is, as you'd guess, another coach very well liked by Wisconsin's players.
Mulhern doesn't offer any sort of predictions regarding the fate of these three assistants. After all, there may be room for Miller and Herbert, but there really isn't much for Partridge.
Furthermore, there are still other assistants to be addressed, including running backs coach Thomas Hammock and secondary coach Ben Strickland. Both of those coaches are not only talented up-and-coming assistants -- Hammock flirted with a few NFL jobs last offseason, while Strickland was a rousing success in his first year as a full-time position coach -- but also a couple of figures who have yet to find stable jobs after the events of this month. Mulhern reports Hammock was initially upset after hearing of Andersen's hiring, since it left him unsure if he'd be able to remain in Madison. Strickland, meanwhile, has been linked to a few jobs this offseason. He has strong ties to high school coaches in Wisconsin, making him a valued recruiter.
Prediction time: Hammock and Strickland are indeed brought back. Alvarez is able to sway Miller into returning, though Partridge and Herbert are ultimately too enticed by a new opportunity to leave Arkansas. But boy, if Alvarez is able to get more than three of those coaches back, how legendary would his offseason be?