Wisconsin DC Jim Leonhard explains why he turned down Alabama, others
When Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt left to become Tennessee’s head coach, Nick Saban looked to Madison for his replacement.
But Saban, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Florida State’s Willie Taggart all found out the hard way that Jim Leonhard wasn’t interested in packing up and heading South.
“I had conversations with a lot of people,” Leonhard told Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at Wisconsin’s media day. “The biggest thing is, this is where I want to be. I’m home. This place means a lot to me and trying to take this program to the highest level, whatever that may be, means a lot to me. That is what it came down to.”
That’s not to say Leonhard hasn’t benefitted from SEC and ACC programs’ interest. UW has done what it can to make Leonhard happy in Madison. Leonhard’s total compensation package as the Badgers defensive coordinator will be $966,666 in 2018. That’s $366,666 more than what he took home in 2017.
But if Wisconsin finishes in the top five in total defense (No. 2 in 2017) and scoring defense (No. 3 in 2017), one can expect teams will come calling again.