A former University of Wisconsin assistant football coach is coming back to the Big Ten Conference and Chris Ash is leaving former Badgers head coach Bret Bielema to do it.
SI.com reported Tuesday that Ash — the defensive coordinator this past season under Bielema at Arkansas — has accepted an offer to become the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. He joins former Penn State assistant Larry Johnson, who will become defensive line coach, as new faces on Meyer's staff.
"Have always felt transition on my staff has allowed us to get even better," Bielema Tweeted shortly after the news of Ash's departure broke. "Have had success hiring right people and will again. ... Very happy for former coaches that decide to move to new challenges, the respect our staff gets nationally will continue to grow."
Ash followed Bielema to Arkansas last season after spending three seasons at UW, the last two as co-defensive coordinator. He also oversaw the defensive secondary all three years in Madison.
In 2012, the Badgers led the Big Ten and ranked third in the NCAA with a three-and-out percentage of 41.72, and their 5.23 three and outs per game topped the Big Ten and was fourth in the country. The Badgers' defense was 13th in the NCAA in total defense and tied for 19th in the country in scoring defense.
In three games against Ohio State while at UW, the Badgers defense held the Buckeyes to less than 120 yards per game passing despite losing two of those games. Braxton Miller was Ohio State's quarterback in two of those games and Terrell Pryor was under center in the other.
The Buckeyes struggled against the pass last season, finishing No. 110 in passing yards allowed (268 per game). Ohio State gave up 682 yards in its final two games of the season, losses to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game and Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Ash is the second assistant coach to leave Bielema's staff after one year with the Razorbacks. Last month, defensive line coach Charlie Partridge left to become the head coach at Florida Atlantic.