The University of Wisconsin Athletic Board convened Friday and expressed its excitement over the search for the next head coach for the football program.
Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez will coach the Wisconsin football team at what will be its third Rose Bowl appearance in as many years. Alvarez told the board he was surprised and honored when the football team captains called and asked him to step up as head coach.
“I’m fired up about going,” Alvarez said. “[The Rose Bowl] is a great opportunity for our student athletes and I am excited for them.”
Athletic Board Member and UW alumni, Jack Edi, told the board Alvarez’s announcement inspired people to make the trip to Pasadena that were not originally planning on going.
Board Member Barb Smith commended the leaders on the Wisconsin football team. She said it was outstanding that as soon as the athletes heard about the departure of former head coach Bret Bielema they got together and took action. The players reacted very positively and the reaction spread like wildfire across the fan base, she added.
“[Alvarez] is giving us a gift I never thought we would have,” Edi said.
The Athletic Board also addressed the ongoing search for a permanent new head coach. According to Alvarez, when Bielema informed the director of his decision, Alvarez was already on the phone with the representatives for possible head coaches to fill his spot. Alvarez said he always keeps a short list of coaches.
Athletic Board Chair Dale Bjorling stressed the importance of confidentiality when going after a head coach. It could hurt the potential candidate in their current position if they do not get the job, he explained.
Alvarez said he is not in a hurry to find a new coach and maintained the need to focus on continuing to recruit and maintain the players currently on the roster.
After a successful meeting between a member of the athletic board and the Associated Students of Madison, board members discussed how they could continue to improve cooperation and communication between the athletic department and campus.
“Many people don’t understand that the UW athletic department is a revenue generator for [the university],” Board member Adam Gamoran said. “It’s not a revenue drain like at other schools.”
Board Member Regina Murphy advocated for a more interactive webpage for the department, explaining that it would be increase communication with students and alumni.
Bjorling said it will the important for the new chancellor at UW to improve communication between the department and the rest of the university.
Bjorling said it is important to have someone who understands and supports athletics. He said athletics are important to all members of this university, from students to alumni to faculty.
Alvarez also touched on the recent addition of Rutgers University and the University of Maryland to the Big Ten. The additions will benefit the university in the future because it will increase the exposure in that part of the country, he said.