Wisconsin hires Azzanni as WRs coach

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema has filled the first of five staff vacancies with Zach Azzanni, who will work with the Badgers' wide receivers.

Azzanni comes to Madison from Western Kentucky, where he spent the 2011 season as offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach. He served as Florida's receivers coach/passing game coordinator in 2010 and also has coached receivers at both Central Michigan and Bowling Green. He has coached several standout MAC receivers such as Central Michigan's Bryan Anderson and Bowling Green's Charles Sharon.

Azzanni replaces DelVaughn Alexander, who left this month for a position with Arizona State.

"Zach is a great fit for Wisconsin," Bielema said in a statement. "He is a terrific coach who stresses fundamentals and is also a great recruiter. His coaching philosophy, personality and character fit perfectly with what we do here and how we do it. I've known Zach for a number of years and I'm very excited to be able to add him to our staff."

The Big Ten has filled up with members of the Urban Meyer coaching tree this offseason, and Azzanni is among them. Not only has Meyer brought some of his former assistants to Ohio State, but Illinois head coach Tim Beckman, a former Meyer assistant, named Billy Gonzales as his co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach. Gonzales and Azzanni have very similar profiles, and Azzanni replaced Gonzales at Florida after Gonzales left for LSU.

This looks like a solid hire, as Azzanni has risen quickly up the coaching ranks and should help Wisconsin's recruiting efforts.

Four more to go for Bielema ...