Get to know the Badgers new interim head coach: Jim Leonhard

Leonhard becomes the 31st head coach in Wisconsin football history.
Defensive Coordinator Jim Leonhard was named interim head coach.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 12:25 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - After it was announced that the University of Wisconsin and Head Football Coach Paul Chyrst parted ways on Sunday, Defensive Coordinator Jim Leonhard was named interim head coach.

Badger fans know the name Jim Leonhard well. Leonhard was an All-American safety at Wisconsin and after he graduated he played for 10 seasons in the NFL. After he retired from the NFL Leonhard joined UW in 2016 as the secondary coach. Just a year later Leonhard was promoted to defensive coordinator under Paul Chryst, a position he has held up until now.

During his time as a student-athlete at Wisconsin Leonhard tallied 21 interceptions, tying Jamar Fletcher’s school record. He also broke the Big Ten record with 1,347 career punt return yards.

“I feel like I can take this opportunity and help this place grow,” Leonhard said. “That’s why I came back a number of years ago. It’s why I haven’t left.”

In Leonhard’s five seasons as defensive coordinator, UW has ranked among the nation’s top five in total defense and top 10 in scoring defense four times.

Badger fans know the name Jim Leonhard well.

During Sunday’s press conference Leonhard was asked about if he would continue to call the defensive plays for their game against Northwestern or what the coaching staff looks like personnel wise moving forward.

“We’re working through a lot of possible situations obviously going to do everything in my power to make sure the defensive plan is exactly where it needs to be whether I’m calling it or we’re handing over the responsibilities on game day,” Leonhard said. “We’re not there yet but it’s been an interesting afternoon, really hasn’t had enough time to settle in how this thing is going to play out the remainder of the season but we’re gonna get our guys ready to play.”