Bielema hires wide receivers coach

first_imgWisconsin football head coach Bret Bielema began filling the void left by his departed assistants Monday by announcing the addition Zach Azzanni as the team’s wide receivers coach.Azzanni will call Wisconsin his third home in as many years, as he spent the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for Western Kentucky and the 2010 season overseeing Florida’s wideouts.“Zach is a great fit for Wisconsin,” Bielema said. “He is a terrificcoach who stresses fundamentals and is also a great recruiter. Hiscoaching philosophy, personality and character fit perfectly with whatwe do here and how we do it. I’ve known Zach for a number of years andI’m very excited to be able to add him to our staff.”Azzanni will replace DelVaughn Alexander, who left Wisconsin to join Todd Graham’s staff at Arizona State, as the man in charge of UW’s wide receivers. Bielema still has vacancies for quarterbacks, tight ends, offensive line and linebackers coaches, as well as offensive coordinator.With Azzanni coordinating Western Kentucky’s offense, the Hilltopppers featured the nation’s No. 2 rusher of the 2011 season, Bobby Rainey, who averaged 141.25 yards per game. WKU tight end Jack Doyle also finished fifth in the nation among tight ends in receiving yards with 614.Over his 13-year coaching career, Azzanni has also spent three seasons as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach at Central Michigan, his alma matter. There he developed two players – Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson – who went on to sign NFL contracts. Brown was named to the 2011-12 Pro Bowl roster – representing the Pittsburgh Steelers – after becoming the first player in league history to accumulate 1,000 receiving and return yards in the same season.Prior to joining his alma matter, Azzanni devoted six seasons to coaching at Bowling Green, where he coached the wider receivers from 2003-06, producing five players that signed contracts with NFL teams. In 2004, he coached a receiving corps that featured four 1,000-yard receivers.“My family and I are ecstatic about coming to Madison and joining theBadgers,” Azzanni said. “I’ve known coach Bielema for a number of yearsand I jumped at the opportunity to become a part of one of the Big Ten’sbest programs. I look forward to getting started and continuing thegreat tradition at Wisconsin.”last_img

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