There seem to be more head coaching changes this far into a season than we have ever seen before, but for the most part, the changes have been somewhat expected. But on Sunday, Wisconsin announced a change in leadership with the removal of Paul Chryst as head coach. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard has been named the team’s interim head coach.
Chryst was removed as head coach following Wisconsin’s embarrassing loss at home to Illinois. Adding salt on the wounds of that loss is the fact the Illini are coached by former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. The loss dropped Wisconsin to 2-3 this season. But what separates Wisconsin from the other programs that have already made a head coaching change is the Badgers have largely been a model of consistency and winning year in and year out while the other programs in need of a head coach have been floundering.
But the change in leadership likely is a result of feeling a need to change things up within the program after things have plateaued under Chryst’s leadership. Wisconsin has likely shown how good it can be under Chryst, and now Wisconsin is hoping it can find someone who can take the next step forward toward competing for and winning a Big Ten championship and, potentially, secure a spot in the College Football Playoff (especially as the playoff expands to 12 teams in a matter of years).
Wisconsin is the second Big Ten team in search of a new head coach already in this round of the coaching carousel. The Badgers join Nebraska, who made the first head coaching change of the year with the firing of Scott Frost. There is a feeling that Leonhard may actually be Wisconsin’s guy, and that would seem to fit Wisconsin’s philosophy.
But with another job opening in the Big Ten, Penn State fans will once again keep an eye on the coaching search in Madison just in case anyone with a Penn State tie pops into the rumor mill. The closest that could potentially get though is with former Penn State linebacker Matt Rhule, now the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and off to a rough start this season. But Bill O’Brien could have another option to consider as well.
— AJ Spurr (@SpurrFM) October 2, 2022
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