Luke Fickell comments on Jim Leonhard’s decision
The Wisconsin Badgers need a makeover. That seems to be new head coach Luke Fickell’s assessment as he hires a new staff and former Badgers and recruits head for the hills. In their place, Fickell is going after talent that fits his system. He’s bringing in an accomplished staff that hopes to turn Wisconsin into a Big Ten contender again. That staff won’t include Wisconsin favorite, Jim Leonhard.
Leonhard announced Tuesday night he would seek employment elsewhere after the team’s game in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. The move appears necessary for the future of the Badgers program and Leonhard. Fickell would have likely offered Leonhard what would have amounted to a demotion if he stayed next year. Wisconsin Athletics Director Christ McIntosh and Fickell commented on Leonhard’s decision Wednesday afternoon in a statement released on the football program’s Twitter account.
Fickell wishes Leonhard success
Fickell wished Leonhard well and said the decision came after he and Leonhard discussed his role with the Badgers:
“Jim Leonhard is the epitome of what we want this program to be about, selfless, hardworking, passionate. I enjoyed getting to know him more through our conversations and look forward to spending the next couple weeks with him. After our discussions, it was decided it was best for all of us to come to this conclusion. I admire Jim as a coach and as a person and I look forward to following his successes in the future.”
McIntosh gave his response Wednesday as well. He wished Leonhard the best.
“Jim Leonhard will forever be a Badger. He has made us proud at every turn, as a player, as a coach, as an ambassador for our program. As interim head coach, he navigated extremely difficult circumstances over the last two months of this season, always putting our players first and helping them through a trying time in their lives. For that, we owe him our gratitude. I have every confidence that Jim will be successful in whatever he chooses to do with this next chapter and I wish him, Katie and the boys nothing but the best”
Thank you for everything Coach Leonhard
Wishing nothing but the best for you and your family pic.twitter.com/XheJBKyVwx
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) December 7, 2022
Now we’ll see where Leonhard goes next. He will have plenty of offers in the coming weeks.