Wisconsin's new-look coaching staff is complete.
Bret Bielema has made his final assistant coaching hire by naming former Wisconsin player Eddie Faulkner as the team's new tight ends coach. Faulkner, a former Wisconsin running back who backed up Ron Dayne during his career from 1996-2000, replaces Joe Rudolph, one of three Badgers assistants who left to join former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst at Pitt.
Faulkner spent the 2011 season as Northern Illinois' running backs coach and special teams coordinator, working under former Badgers assistant Dave Doeren. Here's the interesting part: he had left NIU's staff last month to join Chryst at Pitt but now jumps to Wisconsin. Maybe this is Bielema's way of telling Chryst: two can play this game.
Those conversations between Bielema and his former assistants at Bielema's wedding next month will be fascinating. Chryst took three assistants from Bielema, who took Faulkner and offensive coordinator Matt Canada away from Doeren and Faulkner away from Chryst.
"I'm excited to be able to bring Eddie back to Madison," Bielema said in a statement. "It's always special to be able to hire a former letterwinner. In addition to coaching our tight ends, Eddie brings great experience coaching special teams and has tremendous talents as a recruiter. He's obviously worked with Matt and he is highly-respected among the coaches on our staff."
Faulkner's special teams expertise is key, as he also coached special teams at Ball State, serving under current Michigan head coach Brady Hoke from 2003-08. He hasn't coached tight ends before in his career but inherits a talented group led by Jacob Pedersen.
Barring any more changes in Madison, here's what has transpired with Wisconsin's staff.
Paul Chryst, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Bob Bostad, offensive line coach
Dave Huxtable, linebackers coach
Joe Rudolph, tight ends coach
DelVaughn Alexander, wide receivers coach
DeMontie Cross, safeties coach/special teams coordinator
Matt Canada, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Mike Markuson, offensive line
Zach Azzanni, wide receivers
Eddie Faulkner, tight ends
Andy Buh, linebackers
Ben Strickland, assistant for defensive backs and special teams