Wisconsin announces hire of Mark D’Onofrio as inside linebackers coach

Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst has finalized his coaching staff.

The Badgers announced Friday they had hired longtime college assistant Mark D’Onofrio to coach the inside linebackers.

“I’m excited to have Mark join our staff,” Chryst said in a statement. “He’s very passionate and brings great energy. He has a wealth of experience, both as a player and coach. That experience will help players, especially those in the inside linebacker room. Mark’s an excellent fit for our staff personally and philosophically. I can’t wait for him to be able to get around our players and I’m excited about their opportunity to learn from him.”

D’Onofrio hasn’t coached the last three years with his most recent job was serving as defensive coordinator at Houston from 2016-2018. His other stops in a career that started in 1999 include Miami, Temple, Virginia and Rutgers. In his seven seasons as defensive coordinator at Houston and Miami, his units ranked better than 45th in total defense just once and the Cougars bottomed out at 127th in 2018.

Green Bay Packers fans may remember D’Onofrio’s name. He was the team’s second-round pick in the 1992 NFL Draft out of Penn State but his career was cut short due to a severe hamstring injury.

“My family and I are thrilled to join this program, and I want to thank Coach Chryst for the opportunity,” D’Onofrio said. “As a coach, and as a fan of college football, I’ve admired the culture at Wisconsin for a long time. This is a place that fits who I am as a football coach. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to work with players of such high caliber and high character, and I’m energized to contribute to such a tremendous coaching staff.”

The 53-year-old takes a job previously held by Bill Sheridan, who resigned in May when it was reported he was under investigation by the NCAA for recruiting violations.