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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

Luke Fickell shares update on status of Jim Leonhard

Jim Leonhard in a hat

Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is shown before their game against Illinois State Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Luke Fickell is now the head coach at Wisconsin, and one big question many have had is what will happen with Jim Leonhard.

Leonhard played at Wisconsin from 2001-2004 and followed that with a lengthy NFL career. He later joined Paul Chryst’s staff with the Badgers in 2016 and quickly rose to the position of defensive coordinator.

When Chryst was let go earlier this season, many thought that Wisconsin was transitioning towards Leonhard, who had been regarded as a coach-in-waiting. Wisconsin went 4-3 under Leonhard, who has operated as the interim head coach.

Will Leonhard remain with Wisconsin under Fickell? Fickell says he met with Leonhard on Sunday and will meet with him again on Wednesday. Fickell said they had a “great conversation.”

If Fickell is able to convince the 40-year-old to stay on as a defensive coordinator or some other role, many will consider that a win.

Recall, Fickell was once in the same position as Leonhard. He went 6-7 as the interim head coach for Ohio State in 2011 between the Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer eras. Fickell remained with Ohio State even after Meyer was hired and resumed his old coaching position from 2012-2016 before leaving for Cincinnati.

Perhaps Leonhard will follow a similar path.

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