Wisconsin fans were likely displeased to hear Florida State was eyeing Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard to assume the same position in Tallahassee, but a new report indicates it would take a lot to pry Leonhard from Madison.
FootballScoop picked up the report that Florida State coach Willie Taggart was courting Leonhard to join the Seminoles, but also noted Wednesday that a source indicated poaching Leonhard would be no easy task.
There’s no question that luring the 34-year-old Leonhard out of Madison would be a coup for Taggart, but a source tells FootballScoop that it would take something special to get him to leave his alma mater.
Losing Leonhard would be an extraordinarily bitter pill for Wisconsin fans to swallow, as that would leave the Badgers looking for their fourth defensive coordinator in four seasons. Leonhard also holds much more ties to Wisconsin than Dave Aranda and Justin Wilcox, growing up in Tony, Wis., and playing for the Badgers in college.
It’s easy to see why teams would want Leonhard, a rising star in the coaching ranks, but it’s also easy to see why Leonhard might be less than eager to leave Wisconsin. He’s currently coaching an elite unit in a stable and successful program and recruiting the territory in which he grew up. Leaving that for the same job at a new program might not be too attractive for the 35-year-old, even if it came with an Aranda-esque pay raise.
Still, there will be more suitors as long as Leonhard continues to deliver elite defenses. He is at least likely due for a raise if Wisconsin seriously wants to show it values him, as his $600,000 per year salary isn’t much for a top coordinator in college football these days.