It is not easy to take attention away from the Green Bay Packers, especially when they win a big game in overtime. However, the Wisconsin Badgers accomplished that by firing head coach Paul Chryst on Sunday night. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard has been named Interim Wisconsin Football Head Coach. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg was among the first to break the news.
SOURCE: Paul Chryst is out as #Wisconsin coach. Jim Leonhard will be the team's interim coach. Announcement will be coming shortly.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 2, 2022
Jim Leonhard’s First Comments as Interim Head Coach
Shortly after the news broke on social media, the Wisconsin Badgers held a press conference to announce the firing formally and introduce Jim Leonhard as the Interim Wisconsin Football Head Coach. In his interview, Leonhard was nothing but gracious towards Coach Chryst.
“This man hired me with zero coaching experience,” Leonhard said, “and named me his coordinator a year later.”
Jim Leonhard’s opening statement about taking over as interim head coach for Wisconsin pic.twitter.com/41JFvv0R15
— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) October 3, 2022
Leonhard went on to say: “This place means a lot to me. I feel like I can take this opportunity and help this place grow. That’s why I came back a number of years ago. It’s why I haven’t left.”
The Green Bay Packers famously offered Jim Leonhard their defensive coordinator position during the 2021 offseason. The Packers had fired their defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. As many may recall, Leonhard spent most of his NFL career playing for Pettine. However, Leonhard turned down the Packers’ offer to remain with Wisconsin. At the time, many believed he was promised to be the next Wisconsin Football Head Coach of the Badgers if he remained.
According to Badgers insider Evan Flood, it may not be too long before the Badgers remove the interim tag from Leonhard’s title:
Not a shocker, but from everything I'm hearing, I'd be really surprised if Jim Leonhard is not the next (permeant) head coach at Wisconsin. #Badgers
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) October 3, 2022