Wisconsin stays within the family to find new defensive line coach

Wisconsin has its new defensive line coach and it’s a familiar face.

The program announced Wednesday that Ross Kolodziej would replace Inoke Breckterfield, who took the same job at Vanderbilt.

Kolodziej has spent the last six seasons as the Badgers head strength and conditioning coach. Before that, he was with coach Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh.

“I’m excited for Ross and for our team that he will have the opportunity to coach our defensive line,” Chryst said in a UW release. “He has played the position at the highest level and has tremendous knowledge of the position. I’m confident in his abilities as a coach and have witnessed that first-hand through all the years we have been together.

“Our players who have worked with Ross, both present players and guys that have gone through the program, are fired up for him. I know our current guys in the D-line room are looking forward to getting to work with him even more closely now.”

Kolodziej knows the position. It’s where he spent his playing career with the Badgers from 1997-2000, starting 45 games and playing on back-to-back Rose Bowl championship teams. A seventh-round pick of the New York Giants in the 2001 NFL draft, Kolodziej played for four teams over a seven-year career.

“When I wrapped up my playing career, it was my intent to get into coaching with the idea of becoming a defensive line coach,” Kolodziej said in the UW release. “So when (defensive coordinator) Jim Leonhard and Paul Chryst came to me asking if I wanted to coach, saying that they think I can help the program be successful in this role, it was an easy answer to their question.

“I get to work with and learn from a tremendous group of coaches on the football side, and I can’t think of a better place to be or a better group of players to coach.”