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Jim Leonhard has big reason to take year off from coaching?

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 1/31/2023 Steve DelVecchio, Larry Brown Sports
Jim Leonhard. © Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports Jim Leonhard.

Jim Leonhard is viewed as one of the most promising young coaches in college football, and there are likely plenty of programs that want to hire him heading into the 2023 season. The former NFL safety may not be in a rush to take another job, however.

Leonhard was named interim head coach at Wisconsin after Paul Chryst was fired. He led his alma mater to a 5-3 record. Leonhard decided not to remain on Luke Fickell’s staff as defensive coordinator even though the new head coach wanted to keep him.

According to a report from Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal, Leonhard will receive a hefty salary from the University of Wisconsin if he does not take another job right away.

Leonhard signed a separation agreement with Wisconsin when he left that will pay him $1 million if he does not land an FBS or NFL coaching job. The payments will be made in installments from March 2023 through January 2024.

What is particularly unusual about the agreement is that it does not require Leonhard to actively seek new employment in order to receive his buyout money. The contract states that Leonhard can use his “judgment regarding what is in the best interest of his family” to determine if he wants to seek employment.

Leonhard made $1.5 million as Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator and then interim head coach last season. The separation agreement gives him financial security, but he is reportedly drawing interest at least one position that could advance his career.

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