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With the news that Paul Chryst has been fired from his alma mater, there's no time like the present to take a look at who could be the next head man for Wisconsin. 

(Editor's note: Our follow up article with five more candidates can be found here.)

Jim Leonhard

Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin

The Badgers' interim head coach, Leonhard will be given every opportunity to succeed. The 10-year NFL vet is one of the best defensive minds in football, a legendary program alum, and one of the hottest candidates in the business. If I were handicapping this job, I would put the odds around -500 that his interim tag is removed after the regular season.

Wisconsin safeties Collin Wilder (18) and Tyler Mais work with defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard at practice Friday, August 13, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin safeties Collin Wilder (18) and Tyler Mais work with defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard at practice Friday, August 13, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sean Lewis

Head Coach, Kent State

Another Wisconsin alum, Lewis has done a great job revitalizing a moribund Kent State program. Assuming his top lieutenant, offensive coordinator Andrew Sowder comes with him and brings a much more modern system, this could be an amazing fit. Lewis is from the midwest, emphasizes toughness, and has a clear understanding of expectations at Wisconsin.

Sep 10, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Sep 10, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

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Lance Leipold

Head Coach, Kansas

The Badger state native was a legend at D-III Wisconsin-Whitewater, winning six national titles in eight seasons, and still has plenty of ties to the state. He's got Kansas humming and is one of the hottest names in the nation not only because of what he's done for the Jayhawks but also how quickly he turned around an awful Buffalo program.

Sep 10, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold celebrates with cornerback Ra'Mello Dotson (3) after beating the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sep 10, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold celebrates with cornerback Ra'Mello Dotson (3) after beating the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Darrell Bevell

QB Coach, Miami Dolphins

Another Wisconsin alum, Bevell would be an interesting fit. Bevell was a Rose Bowl-winning QB under Barry Alvarez and has a ton of experience in the pro game. Would he want to go back to the college ranks? Maybe not, but it would be worth a shot.

May 13, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell talks to reporters during rookie minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex.

May 13, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell talks to reporters during rookie minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex.

Brian Hartline

WR Coach, Ohio State

This is far and away the most outside-of-the-box guy, but just hear me out. If Wisconsin really wants to update their offense to join the rest of us in the 21st century and get a bump from one of the best recruiters out there, then Hartline is their guy. It's going to take a lot to pry him away from Ohio State, as he's an alum and in a cushy position, but he would be a coup. 

Aug 4, 2022; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes passing game coordinator Brian Hartline talks to his wide receivers during the first fall football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Aug 4, 2022; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes passing game coordinator Brian Hartline talks to his wide receivers during the first fall football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.