Wisconsin Badgers Football: The Top 5 Assistant to Head Coaching Success Stories

Chris KennedyCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2012

Wisconsin Badgers Football: The Top 5 Assistant to Head Coaching Success Stories

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    With the this year's departure of offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and last year's departure of defensive coordinator Dave Doeren to head coaching jobs at the University of Pittsburgh and Northern Illinois University respectively, the University of Wisconsin football program finds themselves in a familiar position.

    Some may view these departures as a detriment to the program. But Wisconsin always fills the larder again with qualified, sought-after assistants. It's a compliment to the program and the way it is run to have so many coaches go on to head coaching positions at other universities and the NFL.

    In the last 25 years, Wisconsin football has turned out some pretty good teams and assistant coaches who have gone on to head coaching success at the college and professional levels.

    Here are the top 5.

Gotta Lovie It

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    The University of Wisconsin had a linebackers coach in the late 80s by the name of Lovie Smith.

    Coach Smith left for a few more college assistant coaching gigs and a couple in the pros before ultimately acquiring his current head coaching position in 2004 with the Chicago Bears.

    Lovie made history along with his opposing coach and former colleague, Tony Dungy (then with Indianapolis), by becoming the first two black head coaches to reach a Super Bowl in 2006.

The Callahan Man

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    Legendary Wisconsin football coach Barry Alvarez has long been praised for the first team and staff he assembled that won the first Rose Bowl in Wisconsin football history.

    One of the prime assistants he brought to Madison in 1990 was offensive line coach Bill Callahan. After five seasons with the Badgers, Callahan went on to assistant coaching jobs with the Philadelphia Eagles and then the Oakland Raiders, who in 2002, made him the head coach.

    Callahan lead the Raiders to the 2002 Super Bowl in his first season as a head coach. He is currently the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.

Chili Time

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    Coming to Wisconsin as the offensive coordinator in 1992, Brad Childress helped the Badgers win two Rose Bowls in 1994 and 1999.

    Childress went to the NFL as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles and then the head coaching job with the Minnesota Vikings from 2006-2010.

    In 2009, Childress and the Vikings were just short of making the Super Bowl losing in overtime to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game.

    Childress is currently the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

Big Mac

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    Coach Dan McCarney came to Wisconsin in 1990 from the University of Iowa staff as Barry Alvarez's defensive coordinator.

    After helping to lead the Badgers to a Rose Bowl win in 1994, McCarney became the head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones from 1995-2006.

    After a few years as an assistant with the Florida Gators, last season McCarney became the head coach of the University of North Texas Mean Green football team.

Getting Rob'bed

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    Rob Ianello spent five seasons at Wisconsin as the recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach from 1990-1993 and 2003-2004.

    Coach Ianello went on to the University of Notre Dame where he was an interim head coach between Charlie Weis's firing and Brian Kelly's hiring.

    In 2010, Ianello was named the head coach of the Akron Zips.

    He is currently the receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Playing On

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    While these two were never Wisconsin football coaches, they were Wisconsin football players and teammates--Darrell Bevell and Melvin Tucker--who went on to coaching success in the NFL.

    Tucker was the defensive coordinator and interim head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.

    He is no longer the head coach but was retained as the team's defensive coordinator.

    Bevell broke into the NFL coaching ranks as an assistant with the Green Bay Packers for six season before being named the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings through the 2010 season.

    Bevell is currently the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.

    Throughout the years, many accomplished coaches have passed through the Wisconsin football program and many will more come through.

    In Wisconsin, coaches can trust they're part of a solid foundation to stay awhile or launch to their next destination, which just may be the Super Bowl.