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These are the Wisconsin Badgers football coaches in the past century

Luke Fickell was named head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers football team in a Sunday stunner. These are the names he's following to the post.

Jim Leonhard (2022)

University of Wisconsin football defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard addresses reporters during a news conference announcing the firing of head coach Paul Chryst in Madison, Wis. Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022
University of Wisconsin football defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard addresses reporters during a news conference announcing the firing of head coach Paul Chryst in Madison, Wis. Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022

Appointed on an interim basis after Wisconsin fired head coach Paul Chryst, the former Badgers star safety was widely seen as the favorite to land the full-time job before it went to Luke Fickell instead. Hailing from Tony, Wisconsin, Leonhard became a classic underdog story as a walk-on who went on to merit multiple All-American honors and logged a decade in the NFL before becoming a celebrated defensive coordinator at UW, beginning in 2017.

Paul Chryst (2015-22)

Wisconsin Badgers football head coach Paul Chryst speaks during a press conference as part of Wisconsin Badgers men’s football media day at the McClain Center in Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.
Wisconsin Badgers football head coach Paul Chryst speaks during a press conference as part of Wisconsin Badgers men’s football media day at the McClain Center in Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.
  • Record: 67-26

  • Bowl record: 6-1

The Wisconsin native and university graduate had previously been the school's successful offensive coordinator and was hired away from Pittsburgh, where he was head coach, at age 49. He enjoyed a stellar bowl game record, with a win in the Orange Bowl and narrow loss in the Rose Bowl counting as the only blemish on his 6-1 record in postseason games. He was fired after UW started 2-3 in the 2022 season.

Gary Andersen (2013-14)

  • Record: 19-7

  • Bowl record: 0-1

Hired after a successful run as head coach at Utah State, Andersen led the Badgers to a divisional title in 2014 but abruptly departed the program for Oregon State after the 2014 regular season. He was reportedly frustrated with the high admissions thresholds for student-athletes.

Bret Bielema (2006-12)

Wisconsin Badger head coach Bret Bielema holds the Big Ten title trophy after winning the Big Ten title in 2011.
Wisconsin Badger head coach Bret Bielema holds the Big Ten title trophy after winning the Big Ten title in 2011.
  • Record: 68-24

  • Bowl record: 2-4

The Wisconsin defensive coordinator was the hand-picked successor to longtime successful coach Barry Alvarez, and he was named Big Ten coach of the year in his first season. He was at the helm in 2011 when Russell Wilson led the Badgers to victory in the inaugural Big Ten championship game over Michigan State, then again for a win the following year against Nebraska in a 70-31 blowout. UW lost in the Rose Bowl both times, then Bielema stunned UW fans with the announcement that he was heading to Arkansas as head coach.

Barry Alvarez (1990-2005)

Wisconsin's coach Barry Alvarez celebrates a 21-20 victory against UCLA while being doused with ice water by his players Friday, Dec. 29, 2000, at the 67th annual Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
Wisconsin's coach Barry Alvarez celebrates a 21-20 victory against UCLA while being doused with ice water by his players Friday, Dec. 29, 2000, at the 67th annual Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
  • Record: 118-73-4

  • Bowl record: 8-3

The former defensive coordinator at Notre Dame joined a program in need of a spark and transformed it into a powerhouse, with an unforgettable run to the Rose Bowl title in 1993 and twice more in 1998 and 1999. The Wisconsin sports legend went on to become the athletic director at UW and even served as interim coach for two bowl games in 2012 and 2014 after his successors departed for other jobs. Alvarez is by far the winningest coach in program history.

Don Morton (1987-1989)

Don Morton
Don Morton
  • Record: 6-27

  • Bowl record: n/a

Morton is often associated, fairly or unfairly, with the depths to which the program had drifted. The former Tulsa head coach was 39 years old and a former NCAA Division II champion coach at North Dakota State who at UW tried to implement a veer offense absent players who fit the scheme. In three seasons, Wisconsin fumbled 111 times (lost 61) and threw 32 interceptions with just eight touchdown passes.

Jim Hilles (1986)

Jim Hilles
Jim Hilles
  • Record: 3-9

  • Bowl record: n/a

Hilles was technically the interim coach even though he was in the role for a full year. Hilles was given the challenging task of replacing Dave McClain, who died suddenly after a heart attack in April. The former defensive coordinator at Ball State followed McClain to Wisconsin and then went on to coach at places such as Kent State, Kansas and spots in the Canadian Football League as a defensive coach, with even a year in the XFL.

Dave McClain (1978-1985)

Dave McClain
Dave McClain
  • Record: 46-42-3

  • Bowl record: 1-2

The former Ball State head coach oversaw a landmark moment in program history when the Badgers won their first bowl game in the 1982 Independence Bowl. His teams recorded winning seasons in five of eight years, but he died of a heart attack in a sauna at Camp Randall Stadium before the 1986 season. The indoor athletic facility adjacent to Camp Randall Stadium is named for McClain.

John Jardine (1970-77)

John Jardine
John Jardine

Record: 37-47-3Bowl record: n/a

A former UCLA assistant coach, he was offered the Badgers job as his first head-coaching gig at age 34, with his best year coming with the 7-4 Badgers in 1974. The Badgers had won just 11 games in the previous six seasons, and Jardine brought competitiveness back to the program, though he resigned after eight seasons. He died in 1990 at age 54 not long after receiving a heart transplant.

John Coatta (1967-69)

John Coatta
John Coatta
  • Record: 3-26-1

  • Bowl record: n/a

The former Badgers quarterback had more success as a player than a coach, promoted to the position from his assistant spot after Milt Bruhn resigned. His teams went 0-19-1 his first two years before the Badgers registered three wins in 1969, though he was fired thereafter. He died of bone cancer at age 71 in 2000.

Milt Bruhn (1956-66)

Milt Bruhn (center)
Milt Bruhn (center)
  • Record: 52-45-6

  • Bowl record: 0-2

He was at the helm for two conference titles and appearances in two Rose Bowls, including an unforgettable 1962 season in which Wisconsin nearly came back against USC in a 42-37 loss with the Badgers ranked No. 2 in the country and the Trojans ranked No. 1. He recruited in-state stars Pat Richter and Ron VanderKelen, who helped turn the program into a national power. He was a good friend of Vince Lombardi's who implemented many of Lombardi's tactics. He was fired in 1966, but remained at the university directing club sports and the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. He died of a heart attack in 1991 at age 78.

Ivy Williamson (1949-55)

Ivy Williamson
Ivy Williamson
  • Record: 41-19-4

  • Bowl record: 0-1

Coming from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, he led the 1952 team with Alan Ameche to the Rose Bowl, part of a successful tenure before he handed the job off to his assistant, Bruhn. Williamson became the athletic director for 13 years at the school and oversaw projects such as the construction of a natatorium and a Camp Randall expansion before he was fired in early 1969; a month later, he died at age 58 after sustaining a head injury falling down basement stairs.

Harry Stuhldreher (1936-48)

Harry Stuhldreher
Harry Stuhldreher
  • Record: 45-62-6

  • Bowl record: n/a

He rose to prominence as one of the "Four Horsemen" at Notre Dame, then joined Wisconsin as athletic director and head coach at age 35; he'd stay on as AD until 1950. He came to UW from Villanova, where he'd been a successful coach, and his best season came in 1942 when the Badgers went 8-1-1 and reached No. 3 in the Associated Press ranking, though a 6-0 loss to Iowa kept the Badgers from a Big Ten title and possible national title as well. Instead, the national title went to Ohio State, a team Wisconsin defeated at Camp Randall Stadium, 17-7. Stuhldreher died in 1965 at age 63.

Clarence Spears (1932-35)

Clarence Spears
Clarence Spears
  • Record: 13-17-2

  • Bowl record: n/a

Hired from Oregon and previously the coach at Minnesota, Spears had one winning season in 1932 when his team went 6-1-1, and he famously clashed with athletic director Walter Meanwell before both were gone after the 1935 season. He went on to become athletic director and coach at Toledo and also happened to be a medical doctor.

Glenn Thistlethwaite (1927-31)

Glenn Thistlethwaite (center, with hat)
Glenn Thistlethwaite (center, with hat)
  • Record: 26-16-3

  • Bowl record: n/a

He came from Northwestern and later became coach at Carroll College, but in between he spent five years at Wisconsin, where his teams posted three winning seasons and one .500 year. His best team went 7-1-1 in 1928. He was hand-picked by predecessor George Little, who went on to become athletic director, but both fell out of favor with alumni and resigned after the 1931 season.

George Little (1925-26)

  • Record: 11-3-2

  • Bowl record: n/a

Little became the UW athletic director and football coach after coming from Michigan, with two successful seasons (and one taking second place only to Little's former team, Michigan). He stepped down to focus on athletic director responsibilities but was pushed out and tendered his resignation in late 1931.

John J. Ryan (1923-24)

  • Record: 5-6-4

  • Bowl record: n/a

He coached at Marquette first from 1917-21, then took the job at UW after a brief stretch at Dartmouth. After two years with the Badgers, he wound up as an assistant under future Badgers head coach Glenn Thistlethwaite at Northwestern. He became a member of the Milwaukee School Board from 1940 until his death in 1950.

John R. Richards (1911, 1917, 1919-22)

  • Record: 20-6-2

  • Bowl record: n/a

A former player (and star hurdler) at Wisconsin before the turn of the century, "Big John" came to the Badgers first from Colorado College in 1911, then again after a year at Ohio State in the 1912 season. After he left UW at the reported insistence of his wife, he became director of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District for 25 years.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: These are the Wisconsin Badgers football coaches over past 100 years