Bielema Completes Defensive Staff

Charlie Partridge (Fleming/File)

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema announced Tuesday that he has promoted Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge to co-defensive coordinators and hired Dave Huxtable, most recently the defensive coordinator at UCF, to coach linebackers.

MADISON -Consider it the worst kept secret in an off season of speculation.

With former defensive coordinator Dave Doeren leaving to take the head coaching job at Northern Illinois, Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema chose to keep his staff's vision and direction intact, promoting defensive line Coach Charlie Partridge and secondary coach Chris Ash to co-defensive coordinators.

"I'm excited to announce the completion of our coaching staff," Bielema said in a release. "I'm thrilled to be able to promote Chris and Charlie to co-defensive coordinators and keep the continuity of our defensive staff intact. They have both done terrific jobs during their time at Wisconsin and, with a number of key returning players on that side of the ball, I'm eager to watch them continue to develop good players."

Partridge and Ash were college teammates at Drake and on the same coaching staff at Drake in 1996-97.

Partridge is entering his fourth season at Wisconsin. He spent the last three years as UW's defensive line coach. Under his tutelage, five different players have earned All-Big Ten honors, including first-team selections O'Brien Schofield and J.J. Watt. Partridge has also worked with the Badgers' specialists.

Ash is starting his second year at UW. In his first season with the Badgers, Ash coached the secondary. Three of Wisconsin's four starting defensive backs (Antonio Fenelus, Aaron Henry and Niles Brinkley) earned All-Big Ten honors in 2010.

Bielema also announced the hiring of UCF linebacker coach Dave Huxtable. With 29 years of college coaching experience, Huxtable has spent the last seven seasons at UCF, the last three as the Golden Knights' defensive coordinator. Last year UCF won the Conference USA title and defeated Georgia in the Liberty Bowl, recording a school-record 11 wins. Huxtable's defense was a big reason for that success. The Knights ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense (17.1 ppg.), eighth in rushing defense (108.4 ypg.), 15th in total defense (315.4 ypg.) and 18th in pass efficiency defense (113.0).

"I think Dave is a great addition to our staff," Bielema said. "He brings a ton of experience, having coached the linebacker position virtually his entire career. His defenses at UCF were very well-coached, as evidenced by their success this season. As good a coach as he is, he is even a better person and he will fit into our staff very well."

In 2009, UCF was fourth in the country in rushing defense (82.8 ypg.), sixth in sacks (38.0) and tied for seventh in fumbles recovered (16). In Huxtable's first season as coordinator, the Knights were third in the country in tackles for loss (8.2 per game) and 18th in the country in pass efficiency defense (107.5).

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to coach at Wisconsin," said Huxtable, who has also worked at North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, East Carolina and Iowa State. "The University of Wisconsin is a top-notch program with great tradition. When I came up to visit I was so impressed with the people, the coaching staff and Coach Bielema. I'm very excited to get the opportunity to work for him. I'm looking forward to getting up to Madison and winning football games."

Raise for Chryst

After once being courted by Texas and Pittsburgh, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is being rewarded for staying in Madison. At a committee meeting Tuesday afternoon with members of the Finance, Facilities & Operations Committee, Randy Marnocha, UW's associate athletic director for business operations, said new compensation packages for Chryst and Bielema should be finalized and likely approved sometime next month, this according to jsonline.com.

The UW Board of Regents is set to meet Feb. 10 and 11.

Bielema's annual compensation package for 2010 was $1.482 million while Chryst's annual compensation package was $361,094.

According to the report, updated figures were not immediately available but Marnocha told the committee members the raises would add a combined $316,668 to the 2010-'11 athletic department budget.

UW (11-2) won a share of the Big Ten Conference title for the first time since 1999 last season and suffered a 21-19 loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl.

On its way to Pasadena, UW averaged 41.5 points and 445.2 yards per game in 2010, setting program records for points scored (539), points per game (41.5) and rushing touchdowns (48).

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