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B1G 2012 // Wisconsin’s Smartest Guys in the Room

CHICAGO, IL - Caption this photo. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - Caption this photo. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

If there's one constant in college football it's stability equals success. The teams that are successful are the ones that are able to keep their core coaching staff together. When coordinators start defecting, things go awry. See: Florida State minus Mark Richt.

Under head coach Bret Bielema, the Wisconsin Badgers enjoyed that stability at offensive coordinator with stalwart Paul Chryst for six years. Under Chryst, the Badgers had four 10+ win seasons, two Big Ten titles and two bowl victories. Capitalizing off the two straight Rose Bowl appearances, Chryst made a lateral move this offseason by taking over what Todd Graham left of the University of Pittsburgh (seriously, it's a lateral move). Fortunately, the Badgers still have this guy:

Oh, Biels.

Head Coach -- Bret Bielema

The Skinny (LOL):

Bret Bielema wasn't always the ultra successful head Badger Brah on the sideline. In fact, he used to be a Hawkeye. Wait, scratch that. He'll always be a Hawkeye. A native of Prophetstown, Illinois, Bielema walked on to the University of Iowa football team and earned a scholarship after his first year. Always ambitious, he was a starter at nose-tackle by his junior season and named team co-captain his senior year. After a brief professional career Bielema joined Hayden Fry & Company back at Iowa as a graduate assistant in 1994 and was named linebackers coach in 1996. He stuck with the Hawkeyes until they appeared to be turning a corner in 2001 and then migrated to Manhattan, Kansas to become Bill Snyder's co-defensive coordinator.

Snyder, an ex-Iowa coach himself, was coming off his first non-winning season since 1992 and needed someone to replace Phil Bennett. Enter: The Bret. In two seasons with Bielema and Bob Elliott at defensive coordinator the Kansas State Wildcats won 22 games, a Big 12 title (their first) and absolutely crushed (seriously, it was a beating) Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game. Naturally, thanks to the BCS being ridiculous, that same Oklahoma team went on to play in the BCS Championship but hey we'll save "BCS is terrible" arguments for another day.

Bielema made another move in 2004 by joining ex-Iowa coach (notice the trend) Barry Alvarez at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His hard work and ambition paid off only a year later when Alvarez announced that he would retire and named Bielema as his successor. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 2006 the Badgers won a school record 11 regular season games with their only loss coming to eventual Big 10 Champion Michigan. In 2007 the Badgers took a step back but still managed to go 5-3 in conference. Then came 2008, where the Badgers were 3-4 at one point after starting the season ranked #12 in the nation. Following their loss to Iowa I recall the Fire Bret Bielema campaign coming to a full head. Yes, this actually happened Wisconsin fans, don't think I forgot.

Fortunately, the Badgers rattled off three straight wins and finished the season 7-5 (OMG THEY TOTALLY SHOULD'VE LOST TO CAL POLY STUPID KICKER). That was apparently the last time Bielema wanted to sit on the hot seat because over the next three seasons he won 10+ games, two Big Ten titles and never scheduled Cal Poly again.


There are a few things that happened early on that I made people aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league, that I had seen take place in other leagues. Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal.

- Bielema on Urban Meyer's recruiting practices. Apparently, Bielema has no problem subscribing to multiple Iowa recruiting websites to get the scoop on who he wants to steal from the Hawkeyes but does take issue with the Urbz rolling into town like Ron O'Neal. Oh, Biels.


Unfortunately, Being Bielema is not Bret Bielema's official Twitter account although we're certain that's how he actually talks when he's not acting as Wisconsin's head coach. Bielema's real Twitter account is pretty much "GOOOOOO BUCKY" and every Tweet ends with "On Wisconsin." To his credit though, at least he doesn't Tweet everything in caps like GO FIGHT WIN TRY FAIL GET FIRED WORK ON THE SIDELINE.

Offensive Coordinator -- Matt Canada

What do you think of when you think of Wisconsin? The accents. I suppose that's why someone with a name like Canada fits right in with the Badgers. A graduate of Indiana University, Canada took his first coaching job as a student coach for the Hoosiers in 1992 and bounced around to Butler and Northern Illinois before returning to Indiana...and then leaving for NIU again. Hey, it's not Matt's fault that Indiana is a tire fire. Is it? Most recently, Canada held the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks position at NIU and helped lead the Huskies to a MAC Championship and Bowl Championship. Canada, who ran a spread at Indiana and NIU over the past seven years, will give the pro-style offense a go in 2012.



Unresearched O/U on Years it will take to become a Head Coach

4 years. Why four? Because Kevin Wilson is going to get fired in four years and Canada is a native Hoosier. Plus, the Hoosiers always run the spread offense and it's something Canada has a decade of experience with.

Defensive Coordinator(s) -- Chris Ash/Charlie Partridge

Wisconsin enters their second season of using a dual-headed monster at defensive coordinator. Ash, a native Iowan and graduate of Drake University (GO BULLDOGS), coached at his alma mater with ex-defensive coordinator Dave Doeren and current partner Charlie Partridge in the late 1990's before joining Dan McCarney at Iowa State in 2000. Following McCarney's "retirement" in 2006, Ash spent a couple seasons with Chuck Long at SDSU and Paul Rhoads at Iowa State before finally settling down at Wisconsin in 2010 as their defensive backs coach.

Charlie Partridge, also a graduate of Drake University, followed a similar path as Ash. He started out at Drake, joined McCarney at Iowa State and ended up with Walt Harris at Pitt in 2003. After suffering through the Wannstache era he reunited with Ash in 2010 and took over Wisconsin's defensive line. When Doeren took the head coaching position at Northern Illinois, he and Ash were promoted to co-defensive coordinators. If you don't know, now you know.


Ash doesn't have an account but Partridge does. Much like Biels there's a lot of "On Wisconsin" to be found.

Unresearched O/U on Years it will take to become a Head Coach

Never. Two coaches can't become one head coach, silly.