Jim Leonhard will return to Wisconsin's coaching staff next season, working under new head coach Luke Fickell, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday.
Leonhard served as the Badgers' interim coach for the final seven games of the season after the firing of Paul Chryst.
With a 4-3 record, Leonhard appeared to have the inside track for the permanent position, and it was a surprise to many last weekend when the Badgers announced the hiring of Fickell, formerly the head coach at Cincinnati.
The report indicated Leonhard likely will return as defensive coordinator, the position he had held since 2017.
Leonhard, 40, and Fickell met on Wednesday, and Fickell once stood in Leonhard's shoes. He was the interim head coach at Ohio State in 2011, following the departure of Jim Tressel and before the hiring of Urban Meyer.
Fickell stayed on the staff under Meyer and remained there until Cincinnati named him head coach late in 2016.
"That's not easy. There's a lot of things we all have to be able to get over," Fickell said about his decision to return to Ohio State in an assistant role, per the Journal Sentinel. "It takes a special person in some ways to get over a lot of those things.
"I had a hard time with it. But I do believe it was the right thing for me and the way that I did it and went out about it and it helped me become who I am.
"But my way is not always the right way. It's not the way for everybody else. But that is what it really comes down to. What is in your heart and what is in your mind?"
--Field Level Media