Quick summary of Barry Alvarez's press conference
University of Wisconsin Athletic Director, Barry Alvarez just finished addressing the media inside the Kohl Center in Madison. Wearing a perfect gray suit and striped red tie, Alvarez spoke about the departure of Bret Bielema, and the immediate and near future of the football program.
There were three things that really surprised Alvarez about the situation:
- Bielema's decision to leave Wisconsin was already made before the two met in person to talk.
- No one from the University of Arkansas reached out to Alvarez to ask permission to talk to Bielema. There is no rule in place that says a school must do so, but as a courtesy, it's a common occurrence.
- Bielema's notion that winning a national championship at Wisconsin would be more difficult than at Arkansas.
As for the Rose Bowl, Alvarez will be the Head Coach. He will coach this one game, and then return to his role as Athletic Director. Alvarez received a call on Wednesday from senior linebacker Mike Taylor asking him, on behalf of all the seniors, to lead them in Pasadena. Up to that point, Alvarez did not consider himself to fill the position.
Alvarez told Taylor he was flattered and that "we're not going there to screw around, we're going there to win".
Alvarez will oversee the entire operation, but will lean on the coordinators to develop the game plan for Stanford. In Alvarez's mind, there is no prettier place to play a football game then the Rose Bowl.
In regards to the next coach, Alvarez has a short list of candidates who he will begin meeting with next week. He is in no great rush to find a successor, and would prefer the next head coach have head coaching experience. Alvarez also noted that an understanding of the Wisconsin and Big Ten culture is important.
A reporter asked if current University of Pittsburgh Head Coach, Paul Chryst was on Alvarez's short list. Alvarez said he vouched for Chryst to earn the job at Pitt, and believes Chryst's statement regarding his commitment to the Pitt program should not be undervalued. My sense is that Alvarez will not aggressively pursue Chryst, who served as an assistant and offensive coordinator at Wisconsin.
That's a brief summary. Overall, Alvarez seemed relaxed, comfortable, and ready to move on to the next phase of Wisconsin football. He also seemed very excited to have the chance to coach again at the Rose Bowl, but insisted he does not want to be a distraction.