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December 11, 2012Follow @McNamaraRivals
Wisconsin has lost its first assistant coach in the wake of Bret Bielema's move to Arkansas.
Defensive coordinator Chris Ash, who was on staff for three seasons in Madison, will follow Bielema to the SEC, the school announced Tuesday. He will remain with UW through the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
"I am excited to welcome Chris to our staff," Bielema said in a release on Arkansas' school Web site. "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."
Ash, who came to UW in 2010 from Iowa State, spent the last two seasons as UW's defensive coordinator. Ash's unit was a strength in 2012, ranking 13th in the country in total defense.
"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," Bielema said in the same release.
Ash is the first confirmed member from Bielema's former staff to have left for another position. As it stands, all nine assistants are expected to coach in the Rose Bowl against Stanford under interim coach Barry Alvarez.
Defensive line coach and co-coordinator Charlie Partridge would be a strong candidate to replace Ash in 2013 assuming he is retained by athenew head coach.
On the recruiting front, Ash was connected to UW verbals Garret Dooley, Jack Keeler, Troy Fumagalli and Sam Raridon in the 2013 class.
Keeler and Raridon are considered solid, though Fumagalli and Dooley could take visits upon hearing the news.