Jim Leonhard, the longtime defensive coordinator and one-time interim head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, is a coaching free agent. Recently, it was reported that he could be a candidate for the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator job if Raheem Morris is hired as the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, as one of the nation’s best defensive minds on the college level, there have been many teams, both professional and collegiate, that have been linked to Leonhard.
The Miami Hurricanes Have Jim Leonhard on Their Short List of Defensive Coordinator Candidates
Alabama head coach Nick Saban saw both his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator leave for other opportunities after the 2022 season. Bill O’Brien departed for the NFL and Pete Golding took the defensive coordinator position at Ole Miss. To fill his own defensive coordinator vacancy, Saban hired Miami Hurricanes defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, who will serve under Saban for the third time in his career.
Miami, in need of a new defensive coordinator, reportedly has a short list of seven candidates for the position. One of the names on this list is none other than Badgers legend Jim Leonhard.
“Inside the U” analyst David Lake had the following to say on a potential Leonhard hire:
To me Wisconsin’s Jim Leonhard, the former defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, kind of … I don’t know if he wasn’t retained by Luke Fickell or it was just a mutual parting of ways. He’s a guy who’s 40 years old. Highly respected, played at the NFL level. I think he has a head coach future, but he needs get that springboard opportunity and Miami could certainly give him that. I think he could also get some looks at the NFL level, so he’s a name to know there. I think with defensive coordinator in general now with where we’re at with this calendar, Mario Cristobal can just be patient and see who the NFL kind of passes on. So, let’s say Jim Leonhard does not get an NFL coordinator job, Miami might be sitting pretty there.”
With NFL jobs seemingly going to recycled names so far in this cycle, it may be another year or so before Leonhard gets a look at a NFL job. Of course, he is being paid $1 million by Wisconsin this year as part of his departure package, so he does not necessarily need a job. That being said, Miami is a high-profile program and could be a great career stepping stone for Leonhard.
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