Former Badger star and NFL player Jim Leonhard was named the Badgers’ new secondary coach this weekend.
Leonhard will replace Daronte Jones, who left UW earlier this month to take an assistant defensive backs coach position with the Miami Dolphins.
Leonhard, 33, starred as a safety with the Badgers from 2001-04 before embarking on a 10-year NFL career with Buffalo, Baltimore, the New York Jets, Denver, New Orleans and Cleveland.
With the Badgers, Leonhard was named to the All-America team three times to go along with his three first-team All-Big Ten honors. Leonhard was twice named a CoSIDA Academic All-America selection and also was a recipient of the National Football Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship.
“I’m very appreciative to have Jim join our coaching staff,” head coach Paul Chryst said. “I’m excited for our players and coaches to be able to work with him and learn from him. What makes Jim special is his desire to teach, to help young men grow and to develop them to reach their full potential. He has a tremendous love and appreciation for the University of Wisconsin and our football program.
“Jim has always been a part of our Wisconsin family and I’m looking forward to him impacting this program in a new role,” he added.
Leonhard led the nation with 11 interceptions in 2002, tying the Big Ten’s single-season record. That performance led to Leonhard becoming the first sophomore to be named Wisconsin’s team MVP since 1947. He matched UW’s school record with 21 interceptions in his career, the fourth-most in Big Ten history.
This will be the first coaching job for Leonhard. The Badgers open spring practice on March 12 and will host the 2016 Wisconsin Football Spring Game at noon on April 23.