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Former Wisconsin Football Coaches Connected to Northwestern Job



Former Wisconsin football head coaches Paul Chryst and Jim Leonhard
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, right, and defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard argue in vain against a Notre Dame touchdown reception during the second quarter of their game Saturday, September 25, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill.

Former Wisconsin Football Coaches Connected to Northwestern Job

After disturbing details and allegations emerged, Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired after 17 years with the Wildcats, five bowl wins, and three 10-win seasons.

With his firing — comes the million-dollar question — who do they hire in mid-July to replace him? After all, Northwestern does have top-notch facilities, a world-class education, and plenty of financial backing.

Rivals National Recruiting Analyst Clint Cosgrove believes that former Wisconsin football coaches Paul Chryst and Jim Leonhard will be considered for the Northwestern job vacancy.

He also mentioned New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Pittsburgh DC Randy Bates, and Denver Broncos running back coach Louis Ayeni, who have ties to the program.

Why Former Wisconsin Football HC Paul Chryst Makes Sense for Northwestern

Earlier this offseason, former Wisconsin football head coach Paul Chryst accepted a job as an offensive analyst with Steve Sarkisian and the Texas Longhorns

However, Chryst could make a ton of sense for Northwestern. 

Coach Dad compiled a record of 67-26 (43-18 Big Ten) while coaching Wisconsin from 2015-22. He won three Big Ten West titles (2016, 2017, 2019) and was a 2x Big Ten Coach of the Year (2016, 2017). Chryst also enjoyed tremendous post-season success, compiling a 6-1 bowl record and two NY6 victories.

After the whole Gary Anderson debacle — Chryst came in and brought back stability and order to the program and quickly turned it into a budding college football playoffs contender. 

Northwestern has been terrible the past few seasons and could use someone like Coach Chryst to right the ship, build strong relationships, and restore order. 

Why Former Wisconsin Football Interim HC Jim Leonhard Makes Sense for Northwestern

Jim Leonhard is a Wisconsin football legend on the field and the sideline as a defensive coordinator.  

Last season, after stepping in as the interim head coach Leonhard led the Badgers to a 4-3 record and kept Wisconsin’s bowl eligibility streak alive. However, athletic director Chris McIntosh passed him over for his dream coaching job in favor of hiring Luke Fickell

That said, he did an admirable job keeping the proverbial ship afloat. Jimmy is a premier defensive coordinator and one of the brightest young defensive minds who could pick his next opportunity in college or the NFL because he’s a rising star in the industry

Even though many believe Leonhard is taking this season off to plan his next move — if given a legitimate chance at the Northwestern job — a Power 5 gig close to home might be too much to pass up. 

I’d love to see Jim Leonhard build up a program in his vision, hire his staff, run an offense of his choosing, and continue his coaching ascension. Every Wisconsin football fan will cheer for Leonhard wherever he goes. 

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