What a whirlwind season, but things may have worked out as best as they possibly could if the reports out there are true. Yes, folks, it appears that interim head coach Jim Leonhard is going to be staying in Madison as part of Luke Fickell’s staff. Additionally, it appears that Leonhard will be the defensive coordinator for Fickell. Obviously, we’ll have to wait until official word from UW officials, and things can change, but it appears that Leonhard will be back.
Jim Leonhard, who played four seasons at UW and has been a member of the coaching staff for seven seasons, has decided his heart remains in Madison. https://t.co/Raw1l1dsbT— JSOnline - Badgers (@js_badgers) December 3, 2022
This is huge news for Wisconsin. I, personally, didn’t think it was possible to get Leonhard back but the fact that they did is massive. Not only is Leonhard a great defensive mind but he’s also a great representative of the University and is absolutely beloved by the players. That could play a huge role in how this team may look next year. Without Leonhard, it seemed like many players would be hitting the portal and looking for new homes but with Leonhard, I’d venture to guess a lot fewer names will enter. Additionally, Leonhard staying on should really help in current and future recruiting endeavors with him being back in the fold.
Overall, I think you have to give a lot of credit to everyone involved here. There is a lot of ego in college football but the fact that Leonhard was able to look past that and want to remain on staff is pretty impressive.
Additionally, I think it's a really good look for Fickell. Not a lot of coaches would be able to keep someone on staff that they don’t know all that well or someone that wanted their job, but I think Fickell recognized that you can’t lose someone as talented as Leonhard if you can find a way to make it work.
Lastly, kudos to Chris Mcintosh. He took a big swing moving on from Paul Chryst and an even bigger swing on going with Fickell over Leonhard. However, those swings turned into a home run with Fickell and Leonhard both being on the staff. It was bold, but it worked. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for Wisconsin.