Dave McClain was the Wisconsin coach from 1978 until his sudden death in the spring before the 1986 season. He was never able to break the 7-win barrier but the Badgers kept looking like like they were close to breaking out. He did have a number of big wins, including four wins over Ohio State and one over Michigan (sigh).
The year he died, they went with an interim coach, Jim Hiller, and then hired Don Morton before the 1987 season. This terrible 1987 team was actually Morton's best and managed his only win over a decent opponent, a 26-24 upset of Ohio State that led to the firing of Earle Bruce.