Ben Strickland, a former Wisconsin defensive back who spent the last three seasons on the Badger coaching staff, is in his first year as a full-time assistant coach. Strickland will assist with the defensive secondary and be involved with special teams.
With Strickland's guidance, the UW secondary helped the Badgers' defense become one of the nation's top units. Wisconsin ranks 23rd in the country in pass defense, allowing just 196.5 passing yards per game and 21st in the country in pass efficiency defense (112.6). UW has allowed opponents to complete just 54.5 percent of their passes this season, good for a tie for 15th in the country.
Three of the Badgers four starters in the secondary received All-Big Ten honors. Senior CB Devin Smith, who is tied for the Big Ten lead with four interceptions this season, was a second-team selection by the media. UW's other senior CB, Marcus Cromartie, was a consensus honorable mention pick, as was junior SS Dezmen Southward.
Strickland spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant working with the defense. He returned to Wisconsin is 2009, serving as the team's defensive quality control coordinator.
A former walk-on, Strickland was elected team captain as a senior in 2007. A four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Strickland played in 51 games as a Badger on special teams and as a defensive back. He finished his career with 72 tackles, eight passes defensed and one interception.
On special teams he blocked and recovered a punt in the 2007 Capital One Bowl. He also recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to cap a dramatic comeback win at Minnesota in 2005, a play that was later named Pontiac's Game-Changing Performance of the Year.
Strickland graduated from UW in December 2007 with a degree in special education and is finishing his master's degree in educational leadership. Following graduation, he spent a year teaching at Wayzata High School in Minnesota and coached defensive backs at Minnetonka High School.
Strickland and his wife, Laura, were married last summer and live in Madison.