Jim Leonhard announces departure from UW-Madison football program
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - UW-Madison Defensive Coordinator and former Interim Head Coach Jim Leonhard announced Tuesday that he would be leaving the Badgers at the end of the season.
In a post on Twitter, Leonhard said that he would stay on as the defensive coordinator through the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against Oklahoma State.
“It has been an honor to coach these young men and thank you to all the fans who supported us along the way,” Leonhard said. “On Wisconsin!”
Linebacker Nick Herbig quote tweeted Leonhard’s tweet, describing him as the greatest Badger of all time. Running back Braelon Allen said Leonard was “One of the best to ever do it💗”.
Former Badger JJ Watt commented on Leonhard’s tweet, saying “Forever a legend. 🙏”
Head Wisconsin football coach Luke Fickell spoke with the media via Zoom on Sunday and said that he opened the door for Jim Leonhard to remain on Wisconsin’s staff, but Leonhard was weighing his options.
Leonhard was in as the Badgers’ interim head coach after the firing of Paul Chryst.
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.
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.
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.
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