Ranking each Wisconsin defensive coordinator over the last decade

Wisconsin has had some of the best defenses in the last decade; the numbers don't lie.
Wisconsin head coach Jim Leonhard, center, is shown  during the first quarter of their game.
Wisconsin head coach Jim Leonhard, center, is shown during the first quarter of their game. / MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Wisconsin has had a number of football head coaches go through their doors in the last decade. Normally there is more turnover for coordinators than head coaches, but it has been quite the opposite for Wisconsin.

Over the last decade, the Badgers have had a total of three defensive coordinators, one that lasted seven years. With he head coaching change in 2023 came new coordinators and almost an entirely new coaching staff.

So of the three coordinators to coach the Badger defense over the last decade, which one was the best?

Wisconsin DC. . Mike Tressel. 3. player. 493. . . Mike Tressel.

Mike Tressel finds himself at the bottom of this list having just one season of stats to show. However, compared to the other two coordinators, his numbers are not even comparable.

Tressel came to Wisconsin with Luke Fickell from Cincinnati where he spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator. Tressel was a part of the College Football Playoff team at Cincinnati and helped produce great talent for the NFL like Sauce Gardner.

However, at Wisconsin, Tressel made the return to the Big Ten after working at Michigan State for seven years. He struggled a bit in his first season with the Badgers with his defense allowing an average of 344.0 total yards to opposing offenses. While these numbers are good for many teams, the Badger defense is known for playing in the trenches and beating down their opponents on defense.

. . Dave Aranda. player. 493. Wisconsin DC. . Dave Aranda. . 2

Dave Aranda had an excellent four-year stint at Wisconsin following head coach Gary Anderson. Aranda put up great numbers in his first two years as the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, but his last two years were even better.

In 2014 and 2015, Aranda's defense allowed an average of 294.1 total yards per game and 268.5 total yards per game. Aranda had one of the top defenses in the country during his final two years at Wisconsin.

809. . Jim Leonhard. player. Wisconsin DC. . Jim Leonhard. . . 1

Jim Leonhard was the defensive coordinator for seven seasons at Wisconsin before Luke Fickell came in and brought his own coaching staff with him. It is a wonder why Fickell wouldn't try to keep Leonhard around when he announced he would be leaving at the end of the 2022 season.

Leonhard had only three seasons where his defenses allowed over an average of 300 total yards to opposing offenses. His best season came in 2021 when Wisconsin had the fourth-best defense in the country, the best in the Big Ten, and allowed the lowest number of average total yards to opposing offenses.

Leonhard by far had the best defenses of the past decade at Wisconsin and it shows now that he is coaching in the NFL for the Denver Broncos.