UW football: Faulkner returns to coach tight ends

2012-02-06T15:00:00Z 2012-02-08T07:30:04Z UW football: Faulkner returns to coach tight endsTom Mulhern | tmulhern@madison.com | 608-252-6169 | madison.com

University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema took a swipe back at former Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and also filled out the UW coaching staff on Monday.

Bielema hired former Badgers running back Eddie Faulkner to be the tight ends coach. Faulkner was hired a month ago by Chryst, the new head coach at Pittsburgh, to coach the running backs.

Faulkner spent last season as running backs coach at Northern Illinois under offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who is now UW's offensive coordinator.

Previously, Bielema lost three of his assistant coaches to Chryst, offensive line coach Bob Bostad, tight ends coach Joe Rudolph and linebackers coach Dave Huxtable.

"I'm excited to be able to bring Eddie back to Madison," Bielema said in a statement. "It's always special to be able to hire a former letterwinner. In addition to coaching our tight ends, Eddie brings great experience coaching special teams and has tremendous talents as a recruiter. He's obviously worked with Matt and he is highly respected among the coaches on our staff."

The Huskies finished 11-3 last season, won the Mid-American Conference championship and earned a victory in the GoDaddy.com Bowl under former UW defensive coordinator Dave Doeren.

Under Faulkner, tailback Jasmin Hopkins was named to the All-MAC team, rushing for 956 yards and 15 touchdowns on 187 carries. NIU ranked 12th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 234.1 yards per game.

Faulkner was a member of two Big Ten Conference championship teams during his career at UW from 1996 to 2000. He earned four letters before signing a free-agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2001, then went on to a career in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos.

"I'm very excited about the chance to come back to Madison and coach," Faulkner said in a statement. "Being an alum and coming back to the university I graduated from, I think that's an opportunity most coaches look for.

"I want to thank Coach Bielema for this chance. I worked for Matt Canada last year at Northern Illinois and he is a great coach and someone I really respect. I can't begin to say how excited I am about coming back and I'm looking forward to getting to work."

Faulkner has never coached tight ends. Prior to NIU, he spent eight seasons at Ball State (2003-10). He initially joined Brady Hoke's staff as a graduate assistant, then was elevated to running backs and special teams coach, prior to serving as the offensive coordinator his final two years.

He was Ball State's interim head coach at the end of the 2010 season, before leaving for NIU.

During his time at Ball State, the Cardinals captured two MAC West Division championships and advanced to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history.

The 2008 team went undefeated during the regular season and tailback MiQuale Lewis rushed for a Ball State record 1,736 yards.

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