MADISON - Jay Boulware's stint at the University of Wisconsin ended before it even started, a factoid that annoys Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen to the nth degree.
Less than two months on the job, Boulware resigned from the Badgers' coaching staff on Friday and was hired to Bob Stoops' Oklahoma coaching staff that afternoon; giving Andersen approximately four hours notice before the hiring was announced by the Sooners.
"I told the kids, ultimately, I hired him," Andersen said in a Monday press conference previewing spring practices. "It's my fault. It's upsetting, and I brought the wrong guy in here. We'll be better off as we move forward."
Hired by Andersen on Jan. 9 after not being retained by Auburn following the school's coaching change, Boulware was set to coach Wisconsin's tight ends and coordinate the special teams. Auburn's punt-coverage unit ranked second in the nation in 2012, allowing an average of 4.0 yards per return on 70 punts. The Tigers also ranked third in the country in kickoff coverage, allowing 16.6 yards per return, under Boulware's watch.
Wisconsin is still to go through its first of 15 spring practices on Saturday.
"I don't like the timing of it," said Andersen. "I don't like the situation that we're in at all, but we'll get a coach in here that's as excited about Wisconsin football and wants to be here in the worst way, and he'll do a tremendous job. We'll rebound very quickly."
Admitting that the process is taxing on the tight ends and special teams, Andersen said he wouldn't have done anything different in the hiring process, but took the lion share of the blame for letting the kids down and hiring the wrong person, saying he did "a poor job."
"I failed the kids in this situation," said Andersen. "It's important. We talked about building a family environment and getting the right guys in here. It's part of the process, and there's no one else to look at and say, well, why did you do this? Why did you do that? We'll find the right guy here.
"I don't know if I'm blaming myself, but there's no one else to blame. So I'll look at myself in the mirror on that one."
While secondary coach Bill Busch has special teams experience, serving as Andersen's special teams coach the past two seasons, Andersen wasn't in favor of that considering that move would stretch a four-person defensive staff trying to install a new scheme even thinner.
With Wisconsin having five offensive assistants, Andersen will look for a new coach that will, "handle the special teams, will handle the tight ends, will have a lot of experience, be a tremendous recruiter and he'll care about the kids." His goal is to make a hire by Saturday.
"I will never beg a coach to stay," said Andersen. "And I feel the same way in recruiting. I will never beg a kid to come to Wisconsin. If you have something you think is better, then so be it. I'll voice my opinion why I think you're wrong and the direction you're heading. It may compromise the relationship between me and forever, and I'm okay with that.
"I'm here for the University of Wisconsin. I'm here to make everybody proud of the football program on and off the field. If I've got a coach or a player that doesn't want to buy into that, so be it because there's a lot of people that would love to be a part of it."