Jim Leonhard could replace Wisconsin’s coach?
Jim Leonhard was expected to become the next head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Leonhard was beloved by the current Badgers roster, and it was assumed his name would be popular in the upcoming coaching carousel. The interim coach’s inner circle was “blindsided” by the news that Wisconsin was hiring Luke Fickell away from the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Many Packers fans were hoping Leonhard would take over the defensive coordinator position for the Packers next season. He had interviewed for the job before Joe Barry won the title. Barry has been in hot water with how the defense has played this season.
Bruce Feldman with The Athletic has another idea for Leonhard’s next coaching stop. The head coach of the Bearcats. Feldman wrote about potential candidates to replace Fickell and named Leonhard:
Luke Fickell, who is taking over at Wisconsin, did an amazing job at Cincinnati and leaves the place in a much, much better spot than what he took over in the wake of the Tommy Tuberville era. The Bearcats program had sunk in Tuberville’s last few seasons, both in regards to respect and resources. Now, Cincinnati is joining the Big 12, and made the College Football Playoff last season.
Fickell won big. Butch Jones, who coached before Tuberville, won 10 games in a season. Brian Kelly, who came before Jones, won 33 games in three years. This is a very good job and will be a fascinating search.
A twist for Leonhard
It would be interesting to see Leonhard take the former job of the man who replaced what many assumed would be his position at Wisconsin. Leonhard, who played for the Badgers, would indeed have instead had the job in Madison. However, the job at Cincinnati isn’t one he should wrinkle his nose at.
The program has been to heights Wisconsin hasn’t, the College Football Playoff. Many former coaches have gone on to succeed there and receive prestigious jobs. Cincinnati will have a boost those former coaches never had. The Bearcats will be a Power Five school next year when they officially join the Big 12. Hopefully, Leonhard will get a call for an interview with the Bearcats. He earned the opportunity with what he accomplished with the Badgers this season.