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Wisconsin football: Jim Leonhard to leave UW after the bowl game

Long-time Wisconsin assistant Jim Leonhard will leave Wisconsin after serving as defensive coordinator for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
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After a report by Jeff Potrykus surfaced that Jim Leonhard would return to the Wisconsin Badgers over the weekend, fans across the state were overjoyed. 

However, on Tuesday night the veteran defensive coordinator and interim head coach of the Badgers made his decision official, taking to Twitter to announce that he would not be returning to Wisconsin in 2023. 

Leonhard shared a heartfelt message, saying:

It has meant the world to me to be able to pour my heart and soul into the UW Football program over the last 7 years. After discussions with my family and Coach Fickell, I will remain the DC through the bowl game but no longer be a part of the staff after the conclusion of the 2022 season. It has been an honor to coach these young men and thank you to all the fans who supported us along the way. On Wisconsin!"

A former All-American at Wisconsin, Leonhard was recently passed over for the head coaching position after helping lead the Badgers to a 4-3 record as interim head coach this past season. With the hiring of Luke Fickell, a long-time defensive coordinator himself, Wisconsin is expected to have Mike Tressel and Colin Hitschler co-coordinate the defense as they did in Cincinnati a year ago. 

Leonhard's decision to leave will likely impact a number of defensive players as he was beloved for his ability to teach and get the best out of his players. The Badgers have seen seven players enter their names into the transfer portal over the past three days, and it will now be interesting to see if Leonhard leaving leads to any more movement.

Under Leonhard's watch, Wisconsin has been one of the best defensive teams in the country, ranking third in scoring defense, first in total yards allowed, and first in pass efficiency defense over the course of his first five years. 

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Leonhard will remain on the staff for the next three weeks as the Badgers prepare for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, but he will move on after the conclusion of the 2022 season. Leonhard will likely have no shortage of job opportunities, both at the college and NFL level. 

Best of luck to Coach Leonhard as he moves forward with his career. 

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