Will Jim Leonhard Stay At Wisconsin? Luke Fickell Leaves The Door Wide Open

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Jim Leonhard’s time at Wisconsin might not be over.

The Badgers signed a gigantic contract with Luke Fickell worth more than $50 million to make him the new head football coach in Madison.

Many expected Leonhard to get the job after being elevated from DC to the interim head coach role. When it didn’t happen, the next logical move for Leonhard would certainly seem to be to chase a head coaching role or a big check elsewhere, including the NFL.

However, Fickell is leaving the door wide open for Leonhard to stay in Madison.

“Yes, definitely I am,” Fickell told the press late Monday afternoon during his introductory press conference when asked if he’s considering keeping Leonhard on staff.

“I think we’re very similar in a lot of ways. Jim will know what’s best for him. Jim will know what’s best for the program. Jim will know what’s best for this team and I respect that. We’ll continue to talk about what the future looks like, but we don’t know what that is right now,” the former Cincy coach turned Badgers leader added.

What would it mean for Luke Fickell to keep Jim Leonhard on staff?

If Luke Fickell successfully convinces Leonhard to stay, he deserves a substantial bonus. Leonhard is arguably the best defensive coordinator in America.

The Badgers have an elite defense every single season under his leadership. Even without the star recruits you see at premier programs like Ohio State and Alabama, the Badgers still terrorize opposing offenses.

Leonhard is the main reason why. Being able to maintain that under Fickell’s leadership would be incredible.

Wisconsin chose Luke Fickell over Jim Leonhard. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

Is it realistic to expect Leonhard to stay?

While Wisconsin fans and Fickell might be interested in Leonhard sticking around, I’m not sure there’s a great chance it actually happens.

He’s a former Badgers star, a standout coordinator and all indications were given that this was his job. Then, at the 11th hour, Wisconsin pivoted to Luke Fickell.

Fans aren’t upset at all. In fact, we’re incredibly happy, but that doesn’t mean those feelings are reciprocated by Leonhard. Is it reasonable to ask a man who thought the head coaching job was his to return to being the DC? I’m not so sure. Logically speaking, the answer seems to be a clear no.

Will Jim Leonhard stay at Wisconsin as the defensive coordinator? (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

I would love to be wrong. Fickell convincing Jim Leonhard to stay would be incredible. It just appears to be a massive uphill battle.

Written by David Hookstead

David is a college football fanatic who foolishly convinces himself every season the Wisconsin Badgers will finally win a national title. Has been pretending to be a cowboy ever since the first episode of Yellowstone aired.

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  1. “Leonhard is arguably the best defensive coordinator in America.” …… Oh For Heaven Sakes …… “Captain Hyperbole” strikes again.

    David you live in a Wisconsin-centric Universe that the rest of us have no knowledge of. …….. LOLOLOL!

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