Mon, 30 Jan 2023

Report: Wisconsin close to removing Jim Leonhard's interim tag

Field Level Media
26 Nov 2022, 05:40 GMT+10

Jim Leonhard is on the verge of being named the permanent football could at Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday.

The university fired Paul Chryst on Oct. 2 and replaced him with Leonhard. He has guided the Badgers to a 4-2 mark after a 2-3 start under Chryst, who was 67-26 in eight seasons as head coach.

Wisconsin (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) is bowl eligible. The Badgers' regular-season finale is Saturday at home against Minnesota.

The official deadline to apply for the head coaching position, according to the university's job listing, is Saturday. The Journal Sentinel reported a quick hiring -- as soon as Sunday or Monday -- is expected.

"They want to get moving as soon as they can," a source told the newspaper.

Leonhard, 40, is a native of Tony, Wis., and a Wisconsin football legend. He was inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.

An undersized safety, he walked on to the team in 2001. After four seasons, he was a three-time, first-team All-American. In his career in Madison, he intercepted 21 passes -- tying for the most in school history -- and broke up 50 others. His 11 interceptions in 2002 are a school mark.

He wasn't selected in the NFL draft but played 10 years (2005-14) in the league with the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns. In 142 career games, he made 14 career interceptions.

Leonhard joined the Wisconsin coaching staff as secondary coach in 2016 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017 -- the role he held until he was named interim coach.

He said earlier this week he was focused on finishing the season and not a promotion.

"I don't really want to get into much of that right now," he said, per the Journal Sentinel. "This week to me is about this season, this group of players. ... I don't want that attention for our guys. ...

"Going to have some conversations this week and hopefully it leads in the direction I want it to go."

--Field Level Media

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