Luke Fickell and Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh are sending praise to Jim Leonhard. The interim head coach and longtime defensive coordinator for the Badgers announced he will not be returning next season.

Leonhard has been on Wisconsin’s coaching staff since 2016 and was a safety for the Badgers from 2001-2004.

He was an All-American during his time in Madison, registering 21 interceptions, including 11 in 2002. Despite his fantastic college career, Leonhard went undrafted before being signed by the Buffalo Bills. He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL before retiring after the 2014 season.

McIntosh noted how Leonhard will always be a Badger.

“Jim Leonhard will forever be a Badger,” said Director of Athletics Chris McIntosh. “He has made us proud at every turn, as a player, as a coach, as an ambassador to our program.”

Fickell stated that Leonhard was the epitome of Wisconsin football during his time there.

“Jim Leonhard is the epitome of what we want this program to be about, selfless, hard-working, passionate,” said Fickell.

Leonhard plans to coach the team in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against Oklahoma State on Dec. 27th in Phoenix, Arizona before leaving the staff. Kickoff for Leonhard’s last game will be at 10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN