Former Badger Jim Leonhard returning as defensive backs coach

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One of Wisconsin’s own is set to return to Mad Town as a coach. Again.

According to reports from Rivals and FootballScoop late Friday night, Wisconsin is set to hire former Badgers safety Jim Leonhard as the team’s defensive backs coach. (Full disclosure: I also write for FootballScoop.)

Leonhard would make the fourth former Badger on Wisconsin’s coaching staff, joining head coach Paul Chryst, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Rudolph and tight ends coach Mickey Turner.

A former walk-on with zero scholarship offers, Leonhard more than won his way on to the field, eventually collecting 281 career tackles and 21 interceptions while leaving school with the Big Ten record for punt return yards, earning a spot as a team captain and receiving various All-America honors.

Leonard left Wisconsin after the 2004 season, forging a lengthy NFL career with the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns before leaving the game in 2014.

Leonhard would replace Daronte Jones, who accepted a job with the Miami Dolphins earlier this winter.

Update: Wisconsin has announced the hire.

“Family is extremely important to me. But having a great relationship with Coach Chryst — knowing the family man that he is and how important it is to him to be a dad, to be a husband — I felt comfortable with the decision to coach,” Leonhard said.

“I can honestly say I didn’t want to do this anywhere else, I only wanted to do it at the UW.”

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.