It’s time for the Wisconsin Badgers to officially remove Jim Leonhard’s interim tag.
The Badgers handled a good Maryland team with ease Saturday, and while it wasn’t pretty, Wisconsin still notched a 23-10 win over the Terrapins.
Going into the game, I said it was the hardest game left on Wisconsin’s schedule. If Jim Leonhard could earn a victory, it would be enough to remove the interim tag.
That’s exactly what happened, and it’s time for Chris McIntosh to pull the trigger on keeping Leonhard for years to come.
There are some laws on the books in Wisconsin that require the school to publicly post the job and consider other candidates. At this point, that’s nothing more than a formality. McIntosh needs to get the clock started so he can name Jim Leonhard the permanent head coach ASAP.
Time is not on Wisconsin’s side. With every day that passes with Jim Leonhard still carrying the interim tag, the window is open to lose recruits.
Wisconsin needs stability. The best way to do that is to name Leonhard the new head coach at the very first possible opportunity.
The Wisconsin Badgers look like a different team under Jim Leonhard.
There’s no question in my mind or the minds of other Wisconsin fans that Jim Leonhard has done more than enough to earn the job.
The numbers are crystal clear. In the first five games of the season under Paul Chryst, the Badgers were a terrible 2-3. Those losses were against a bad Washington State team and blowout losses to Ohio State and Illinois.
Since taking over, Jim Leonhard has gone 3-1 with wins over solid Purdue and Maryland squads. He’s also opened up the offense. That has resulted in Graham Mertz, who did struggle in terrible weather conditions Saturday, throwing nine touchdowns and just one interception over the past four games.
Once again, there is excitement in the air for Badgers fans.
Outside of the numbers being much better under Leonhard, for the first time in a very long time, Wisconsin fans have a ton of energy and excitement.
Wisconsin fans were content going 10-2 or 9-3 under Paul Chryst, but I wouldn’t say there was a ton of excitement. It was hard to get pumped up knowing we’d likely never win the B1G title game.
Everyone I’ve talked to over the past few weeks can’t stop talking about Jim Leonhard and the future. That’s a powerful thing. When people buy in, especially those who spend money on the program, it provides an injection of energy, hope and optimism. After the past few years, all of those are now a premium for the Wisconsin Badgers.
With three games left the rest of the stretch, it’s likely already a done deal for Jim Leonhard. Now, Chris McIntosh just needs to make it official. Remove the interim tag, and announce Leonhard as the new head coach immediately.