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Badgers tried to keep running backs coach John Settle, but he’s leaving for Kentucky
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Badgers tried to keep running backs coach John Settle, but he’s leaving for Kentucky

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John Settle leaving

University of Wisconsin running backs coach John Settle talks with players during the Badgers’ game against Iowa on Nov. 11, 2017. Settle is leaving the program for the same job at Kentucky, State Journal sources confirmed Friday.

Despite a push by the University of Wisconsin to keep him, running backs coach John Settle will be leaving the Badgers football team and joining the staff at Kentucky.

News of Settle’s departure began circulating Thursday night and was widely reported Friday morning, but it wasn’t official until Friday afternoon as multiple State Journal sources said UW tried to entice Settle to stay. Details of those efforts weren’t revealed.

Settle, who made $462,000 in fiscal year 2020, has been a part of the Badgers staff for a total of 11 seasons, including the past six since returning to the program with head coach Paul Chryst.

State Journal beat reporters Colten Bartholomew and Jim Polzin get together over Zoom to break down the news surrounding Badgers men’s basketball and football. They start with Greg Gard’s fiery comments about Big Ten officiating and if there’s a target on UW guard Brad Davison. They then discuss what the Badgers’ prospects are in the postseason and if they can flip the switch in tournament time. They wrap up the basketball portion by giving picks for the Big Ten tournament. Colten wraps up the show giving some thoughts on Badgers’ Pro Day and which numbers really matter from Wednesday.

Settle has helped the Badgers produce a number of stellar backs in his time, including Jonathan Taylor, Montee Ball, John Clay, Corey Clement and James White. He also fostered the talent of other future NFL backs such as Alec Ingold, Dare Ogunbowale and Derek Watt.

"He's a cool, calm, collected coach," White told the State Journal on Friday. "Never really raised his voice, he demanded the best out of his players, pushed each and every day at practice and had you prepared and ready to go on game day. I wish him the best of luck at Kentucky."

Settle will become the second new running backs coach at Kentucky this offseason — he’s replacing Jemal Singleton, who left the Wildcats for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles a month after being hired at Kentucky. Singleton’s salary at Kentucky was reportedly $500,000 per year.

Losing Settle continues an offseason of upheaval on the Badgers’ coaching staff, which has lost three assistants since winning the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Dec. 30. Inoke Breckterfield left UW for the same defensive line coaching position at Vanderbilt and Jon Budmayr left UW’s quarterbacks coaching role to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado State.

Ross Kolodziej, UW’s former strength and conditioning coach, filled Breckterfield’s position, while Chryst will assume QB coaching duties and brought in former NFL cornerback Hank Poteat to coach UW’s corners.

UW is slated to begin spring practices March 30, which leaves little time to recruit and hire a replacement.

After his playing career at Appalachian State and six seasons in the NFL, Settle joined the coaching ranks with the Cleveland Browns and made the move with the franchise to Baltimore. He then coached eight seasons at Fresno State before his first stint at UW. He also coached with Chryst in the latter’s last season at Pittsburgh in 2014, helping running back John Conner become the Big East player of the year.

Settle has been an important recruiter and mentor of players during his time with the Badgers.

“I think coach Settle does a great job of kind of knowing what each guy needs and maybe where their strength is, kind of how they’re spending their time they want to devote to football,” Chryst said of Settle in November.

“Even learning how to study film and learning how to self-evaluate. And that takes a coach, and that’s where I think coach Settle does a great job of truly assisting our guys and that’s as much of coaching as what to do on a play or what technique to use in different situations.”

Speaking of the running backs group this season, assistant head coach and run-game coordinator Joe Rudolph said Settle established the tone of the room.

“There’s such great leadership in the room, starting with coach Settle, helping those guys to develop,” he said.


Offseason development crucial for Badgers' offense

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