Wisconsin officially posts head coach vacancy

Wisconsin beat Nebraska 15-14 Saturday afternoon to become bowl eligible for the 21st consecutive season. Hours later, the school officially posted the opening for its vacant head coaching position.

The position must be posted for seven days before a hire can be made, though the overwhelming expectation is Athletic Director Chris McIntosh has already decided to promote Interim Coach Jim Leonhard to the head job when the seven-day window expires. Leonhard, who has served as Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator since 2017, has led the Badgers to a 4-2 record since taking over for Paul Chryst in October.

The interim head coach was asked after Saturday’s win over the Cornhuskers what he has learned about himself and the program in the last six weeks.

“We have a lot of great players in that locker room. We have a lot of people that care,” Leonhard said about the program. “I think we got a little complacent. I’ve tried to shake that up and continue to push. To see the way the players respond gives me confidence I can get this done long term.”

Getting a deal done now is vital with important dates coming in the next month. The NCAA transfer portal opens Dec. 5, while the early signing period for class of 2023 prospects is Dec. 21. The Badgers have already lost three commits in their 2023 class, including two within a couple hours in the last week.

“I think, hopefully, within the near future there is an answer because the longer it takes, the harder it gets to ask people to be patient,” Leonhard said Thursday. “Because there are huge deadlines coming up with your current roster and decisions they may have to make, recruits and signing day, the transfer portal thing is starting to get closer and closer. So, the longer it takes the harder, it becomes to ask for that patience. Everyone involved, I think, knows that.”

With the decision to post the position, the uncertainty around the program will fade away and the Jim Leonhard era will soon begin.