Barry Alvarez Returns to Coach Wisconsin, but for Just One Game

December 7, 2012 – 7:45 am by Eric Schmoldt

Bret Bielema stunned the college football world this week when he left Wisconsin to become the coach at Arkansas. Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez says he hopes to have a coach in place by Jan. 1, but will coach the team in the Rose Bowl, a situation that he knows plenty well.

Barry Alvarez joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss coming back to coach one game, the surprise of Bret Bielema stepping down as coach at Wisconsin, the state of the business in terms of college head-coaching jobs these days and potential coaching candidates.

You are going to coach the Rose Bowl. Is this definitely for one game only?:

“Just the Rose Bowl. … After Bret Bielema informed me that he was going to step down and take the job at Arkansas, I was trying to put together a plan to decide which assistant coach to make interim coach when I got calls from our captains and they asked if I would coach them in the Rose Bowl. You can’t tell the kids, ‘No.’”

How did you find out that Bielema was leaving and did you have any inkling before that?:

“He told me Tuesday, about Noon. … I had no inkling, so it was a total shock to me, and he had already accepted it when we talked. … I know the business. I’m a little surprised that I didn’t have some indication that he was going to talk or that I would grant permission for someone to talk to him. I’m a bit surprised by that, but I understand the business.”

Did he talk to the players before he left?:

“He did, he left New York, came right back and called a team meeting to meet with the kids.”

Is Chris Petersen on your list of potential coaches?:

“I haven’t talked to Chris Petersen. I always felt Chris was pretty locked in in Boise. … I may ask and see if he’s interested, see if there’s any interest in this area.”

Why don’t we have programs that hire coaches and refuse to have a buyout where coaches can flirt with other jobs?:

“I can’t answer that. I stayed here for 22 years. … I could put in that there’s a big enough buyout. … It’s going to happen. You just have to deal with it whether you like it or don’t like it.”

Does “the business” make you frustrated? Angry?:

“No, you know what? I’m fine with it; I really am. I wasn’t real happy when it happened, but I understand it. We’ve had such stability here. We just haven’t lost coaches. I went 16 straight years, and Bret seven, so we’re just not accustomed to change here. But I see it around the country, I stay on top of it, I know how it works.”

What kind of relationship did you have with Bret?:

“He was like a son to me. … I would have tried to explain to him how good of a situation he had here.”

Would you do one season if you had to?:

“I would prefer not to. … I can find the right guy.”

Listen to Barry Alvarez on The Dan Patrick Show here

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