- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Bret Bielema is taking one of Wisconsin's top assistants with him to Arkansas.
Badgers defensive coordinator Chris Ash will join Bielema in the same role with the Razorbacks, Arkansas announced Tuesday night. Ash will remain with Wisconsin through the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO on Jan. 1 against Stanford.
"I am excited to welcome Chris to our staff," Bielema said in a prepared statement. "In the last three years working together, I gained a great respect for the way Chris teaches the game and develops student-athletes. I've followed his career for a long time, and his knowledge of the way we run our program and specifically the defense will be valuable for us moving forward in our transition. Chris helped us improve drastically in our pass defense at Wisconsin where his defenses consistently ranked in the top 25 nationally in all the major categories."
Ash did a terrific job in two seasons as the Badgers' defensive coordinator after taking over for Dave Doeren. Wisconsin's defense ranks in the top 25 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and pass-efficiency defense this season.
His departure isn't a huge surprise, as Wisconsin doesn't have a permanent head coach and Ash appeared likely to be in high demand. There was some talk he'd join Doeren at NC State, but he's off to Hog Country.