Wisconsin football all-time roster: Coaches, kickers and specialists

·6 min read

We close out the Wisconsin all-time roster series with a look at the special team’s stars and all-time coaching staff.

The final piece of the roster is highlighted by a current Badger coach landing on it in two separate spots. Legendary program changer Barry Alvarez not only found himself as the head coach on our all-time team, but some of his assistants also made the final cut.

Thinking back to all-time returners, David Gilreath’s return against Ohio State helped cement his place on the list. Without any other spoilers, here is a look at Wisconsin’s all-time special teams unit and coaching staff.

See Wisconsin’s all-time offense and all-time defense

Check out our other College Wire all-time lineups: AlabamaArkansasAuburnClemsonColoradoFloridaGeorgiaIowaLSUMichiganNebraskaNorth CarolinaOhio StateOklahomaOregonPenn StateRutgersTennesseeTexasTexas A&MUSC

Starting Kicker: Rafael Gaglianone

Oct 10, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Wisconsin Badgers place kicker Rafael Gaglianone (10) celebrates the winning field goal against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin’s all-time leading scorer at kicker is Rafael Gaglianone. He connected on 70 field goals from 2014-18 and finished with 426 points scored.

Backup Kicker: Philip Welch

Nov 27, 2010; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers kicker Philip Welch (18) kicks off during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Northwestern 70-23. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welch was Wisconsin’s kicker from 2008-11 and finished with 384 points scored. He went 59-76 (77.6%) on all field goal attempts.

Starting Punter: Kevin Stemke

Stemke averaged 43.5 yards per punt from 1997-2000. He would go on to play five seasons in the NFL.

Backup Punter: Andy Vujnovich

Sep 4, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers punter Andy Vujnovich (38) during the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

He’s certainly the strongest punter Wisconsin has ever had, but Vujnovich also leads the Badgers in all-time punt average at 44.5 yards. This fall, the nation’s strongest punter will suit up for his third season as a Badger.

Starting Returner: Jim Leonhard

MADISON, WI – NOVEMBER 9: Sophomore defensive back Jim Leonhard #18 of the Wisconsin Badgers turns upfield after intercepting a pass during the Big Ten Conference football game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Camp Randall Stadium on November 9, 2002 in Madison, Wisconsin. The Ilini won 37-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

One of the greatest Badgers of all time not only excelled on defense, but also on special teams. Leonhard played at Wisconsin from 2001-04 and remains No. 1 in program history in punt returns (105), punt-return yards (1,347), and No. 2 in average per return (12.8 yards).

Backup Returner: David Gilreath

Oct 25, 2008; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin wide receiver David Gilreath (85) rushes with the football during the game against Illinois at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Illinois 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Gilreath finished his Wisconsin career with 3,025 kickoff return yards, which was a Big Ten record at the time (now second place). His iconic touchdown return against Ohio State will live on forever in Badger lore.

Head Coach: Barry Alvarez

Jan 1, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Barry Alvarez reacts as gatorade gets dumped on him after they beat the Auburn Tigers in the 2015 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The man who built the Wisconsin football program. Need we say more? There was no easier choice on the Badger all-time roster.

Offensive Coordinator: Paul Chryst

Paul Chryst
Paul Chryst

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst instructs players during a game against Nebraska at Camp Randall Stadium on Nov. 20, 2021. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

After spending six seasons (2006-11) as Wisconsin’s OC/QB coach, Chryst began his current run as head coach of the Badgers in 2015. The Badgers are 84-42 under Chryst’s leadership.

Defensive Coordinator: Jim Leonhard

MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 02: Wisconsin defensive coach Jim Leonhard looks on in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium on October 02, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

It’s Leonhard’s third appearance on the all-time team and each selection feels more deserving than the last. An assistant with head coaching almost certainly in his future, Leonhard has built some of the nation’s best defenses in Madison.

Assistant: Brad Childress

Aug 15, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs special projects coach Brad Childress against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason NFL football game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Childress served first as a running backs coach and later on as an offensive coordinator under Barry Alvarez. He would go on to have a head coaching stint in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.

Assistant: Dan McCarney

Sept. 28, 2002: Iowa State coach Dan McCarney celebrates with quarterback Seneca Wallace during the second quarter against Nebraska.
Dan Mccarney And Seneca Wallace 2002

McCarney served as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach under Barry Alvarez from 1990-1994 as the program underwent a shocking four-year transformation.

 

Assistant: Darrell Bevell

Quarterback Darrell Bevell, tight end Michael Roan and the rest of the 1993 Wisconsin Badgers squad that beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl will be honored before UW’s game against Nebraska on Oct. 6.
1994 Press Photo University Of Wisconsin S Quarterback Darrell Bevell

Fine, while he technically never coached for the Badgers it would be hard to find a better offensive assistant than the former Wisconsin quarterback. Bevell has been coaching at the NFL level since 2000.

Assistant: Bill Callahan

Cleveland Browns offensive line coach Bill Callahan barks at his lineman during training camp on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022 in Berea.

The beginning of Wisconsin’s offensive line dominance was under Bill Callahan. Alvarez hired the longtime assistant coach in his younger days to be Wisconsin’s offensive line coach. Callahan currently serves in the same role with the Cleveland Browns.

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire