Update, 12:05 p.m. CT: Wisconsin officially confirmed Bob Bostad as new inside linebackers coach, along with updating Bostad’s time as run-game coordinator.
A familiar face is returning to the Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff, but not at the position group you’d expect.
Bob Bostad will return to Wisconsin as inside linebackers coach, UW confirmed on Friday. The news of Bostad’s return was first reported by FootballScoop.com on Thursday evening, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus confirming the hiring via a source at UW.
Bostad will make the 100-mile trek up to Madison from Northern Illinois, where he was a tight ends and fullbacks coach for the 2016 season. Prior to that, he coached offensive lines in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans (2014-15) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-13).
At Wisconsin, Bostad guided the tight ends from 2006-07 and the offensive line from 2008-11. He coached the likes of NFL veterans Travis Beckum, Garrett Graham and Lance Kendricks, but made a greater imprint on the offensive line in guiding Travis Frederick, Peter Konz, Gabe Carimi, Ryan Groy, Rick Wagner and Rob Havenstein. Also the run-game coordinator in his final five seasons with the Badgers, Bostad’s lines helped pave the way for Paul Chryst’s offense to score over 40 points per game in 2010 and 2011.
Those final two seasons of his first stint with the Badgers saw four linemen earn first-team All-American nods (Carimi and guard John Moffitt in 2010, along with Konz and Zeitler in 2011—both years Wisconsin went to Pasadena).
As noted in his old Tennessee Titans profile, Bostad was a four-year starter at linebacker for UW-Stevens Point.
The move brings some sense of familiarity back to Wisconsin’s defense after coordinator Justin Wilcox left to become California’s head coach earlier this offseason.
Bostad inherits an experienced group of inside linebackers, including starters Chris Orr, Jack Cichy, T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly.
Here’s the official release from the Wisconsin athletic department:
MADISON, Wis. – Bob Bostad is back at Wisconsin for the 2017 season, returning to a program he helped reach unprecedented offensive success during a six-year run that saw the Badgers claim a pair of Big Ten championships.
A former college player at the position, Bostad will lead Wisconsin’s inside linebackers after spending the past 27 years as an offensive coach.
Bostad spent four seasons as an offensive line coach in the NFL after serving on the Badgers’ staff from 2006 to 2011, spending two seasons each with Tampa Bay and Tennessee. He most recently was tight ends and fullbacks coach at Northern Illinois in 2016.
In his first stint with the Badgers, Bostad spent two seasons coaching tight ends in 2006 and 2007 before overseeing UW’s offensive line from 2008 to ’11. He also carried the title of run game coordinator over his final five seasons on the UW staff, helping guide the Badgers to back-to-back Big Ten titles in 2010 and 2011.
Before he joined the NFL coaching ranks, Bostad was producing pros at Wisconsin – eight of the offensive linemen he tutored over his four seasons went on to become NFL draft picks, including three first-round selections in Gabe Carimi, Kevin Zeitler and Travis Frederick.
Bostad coached tight ends in his first two seasons at Wisconsin, with three of his players at that position – Owen Daniels, Travis Beckum and Garrett Graham – also drafted by NFL teams. Beckum was a first-team All-American and finalist for the John Mackey Award in 2007 and set both UW’s single-season and career records for receptions and receiving yards by a tight end.
Four of Bostad’s offensive linemen earned first-team All-America recognition: Carimi and John Moffitt in 2010 and Peter Konz and Zeitler in 2011. As a senior, Carimi was a unanimous consensus All-American and winner of the 2010 Outland Trophy.
Amazingly, 11 different offensive linemen earned All-Big Ten honors during Bostad’s four-year run with that unit, including first-round picks Carimi, Moffitt, Konz, Zeitler and Josh Oglesby.
Wisconsin boasted the Big Ten’s most potent offense over Bostad’s final three seasons on staff, leading the league in scoring each year and posting the two highest scoring averages in school history during its conference championship seasons of 2011 (44.1 points per game) and 2010 (41.5).
The Badgers averaged at least 200.0 rushing yards per game in each of Bostad’s five seasons as run game coordinator, leading the Big Ten in rushing three times.
UW’s offense produced at least one 1,000-yard rusher each year with Bostad on staff, including the 2011 season that saw Montee Ball run for 1,923 yards and tie the FBS single-season record with 39 touchdowns en route to being named a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Prior to coming to Wisconsin, Bostad coached the offensive line at New Mexico from 1999 to 2005. During Bostad's tenure at New Mexico, 14 Lobos offensive linemen earned all-conference mention, including seven first-team selections. Among the players Bostad coached at New Mexico were tackle Claude Terrell, a third-team AP All-American and fourth-round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams, and tackle Jason Lenzmeier.
Bostad was offensive line coach (1997-98) and offensive coordinator (1998) at San Jose State prior to his years at New Mexico. His top player with the Spartans was David Loverne, a first-team All-WAC selection and third-round choice of the New York Jets.
Bostad coached the offensive line at Cal State Northridge in 1995-96 and spent three seasons (1992-94) as an offensive line graduate assistant at Minnesota under head coach Jim Wacker.
Bostad got his coaching start at his alma mater, UW-Stevens Point, where he coached the offensive line from 1990-91.
Bostad graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 1989 with a degree in physical education. He was a four-year starter as a linebacker for the Pointers and earned all-conference mention each year. UW-Stevens Point won 33 games during his career and tied Pacific Lutheran for the NCAA Division III national title in 1987. Bostad earned a master's degree in kinesiology from Minnesota in 1994.
Bostad is a native of Pardeeville, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Cara, have three daughters, Rachel, Bryn and Annika; and a son, John.