Gary Andersen's new coaching staff at Wisconsin is nearly complete: the Badgers officially announced the hiring of former Auburn tight ends coach Jay Boulware to coach in the same capacity in Madison next season. Boulware will also serve as Wisconsin's special teams coordinator.
With Boulware on board, the Badgers and Andersen are looking for a wide receivers coach to round out their staff. In addition to holding Thomas Hammock and Ben Strickland over from last season, Andersen hired six new assistant coaches, including three that were on his staff at Utah State last season.
And even the three new coaches that weren't in Logan last year had worked with Andersen before: offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a, and Boulware had all worked with Andersen previously in their careers before coming to Madison. Andersen said that having that previous working relationship was important to him in the hiring process, and he hopes it'll make the transition to Wisconsin a little easier.
"I feel really comfortable with the staff," Andersen said Thursday. "It took some time to get to this point- we still have one more hire to go but that's a little ways away. It's a staff that recruits throughout the nation and has a lot of experience in it."
Andersen said previous working experience is not a "catch all" for him in the process, but it helps if he and a coach have gone through a season together in the past. As for Ludwig and his new defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, Andersen said the pair do a good job of identifying talent and teaching their players.
"I think they're on the cutting edge with scheme, both offensively and defensively," Andersen said. "The relationships they have with young men are important and they're unbelievably consistent as coaches."
Andersen said he and his staff have been reaching out to all of the players to try and make the transition as smooth as possible, and the whole team will have a meeting on Jan. 22 once Wisconsin's spring semester starts and everyone is back on campus. NCAA rules mandate that a coaching staff have limited contact with it's players during the offseason conditioning part of the calendar, but Andersen said he's confident that his new coaches and players will take to each other pretty quickly.
"I have no doubt with any of my coaches that they're going to walk into a room and are going to gain the [players'] respect and trust," Andersen said.
Audio from Andersen's press conference is provided below, and is thanks to Tom Lea of ESPNWisconsin.com.
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