Alvarez explains why he's 'honored' to coach Rose Bowl, why he won't hire Chryst
MADISON - When Badgers linebacker Mike Taylor left a voice mail for University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez earlier this week about coaching the upcoming Rose Bowl against Stanford, Alvarez called back and said, "I told him I would be honored...we would go out there to win."
Alvarez explained that Thursday when he announced he would act as interim head coach for the Rose Bowl while he decides on a successor to Bret Bielema, who departed for the University of Arkansas.
He also suggested he would not be pursuing former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, currently at Pittsburgh, to take the job.
"I think (Chryst) has come out and said he's committed to Pitt, and he should be," said Alvarez during the Thursday news conference. "I don't think it would feel right (to hire Chryst)."
Alvarez previously coached the Wisconsin Badgers to three Rose Bowl wins, during the 1993, 1998 and 1999 seasons. He's the only Big Ten coach ever to win consecutive Rose Bowls.
He'll have two main functions over the next 26 days: coaching that game, and hiring the coach who will take over for him. He emphasized that he's not looking to re-hire himself for the future.
"This will be one game...not looking to do it any longer than 1 game," said Alvarez, who described how after Bielema left, coaching "did not cross my mind, but when players asked, it's about players."
The Badgers' six captains specifically asked him to coach the game.
"I'll manage the game, oversee both sides of the ball," said Alvarez. "I expect (assistants) to game plan. I'll take a look at practice schedules."
"I will enjoy every minute of it."
Alvarez also described moments he didn't necessarily enjoy, how Bielema had told him he had already accepted the job at Arkansas.
"I was surprised no one had contacted me for permission," said Alvarez.
Both Alvarez and Bielema were attending a hall of fame induction for college football coaches in New York.
"Bret called & said he had to talk to me. He came down to my room and (told) me," said Alvarez.
" 'You already took the job?' (Bret) said 'Yes.' "
During his news conference Wednesday in Arkansas, Bielema expressed concerns about the pay scale Wisconsin football assistant coaches have.
In response to questions about Bielema's comments, Alvarez said, "Our pay scale for assistant coaches is more than competitive & fair...we all see what the salaries are. We're more than competitive."
Still, he complimented Bielema. "I'm proud of the job Bret Bielema did for me. The record speaks for itself."
Alvarez's other role in the next 26 days will be to hire a new head coach.
He said that head coaching experience isn't a requirement, but "I will start with head coaches."
Alvarez also described that he wanted someone who might not necessarily be a former Badger, but who understands the culture of the Badgers' football program.
"The coach I will hire will have to understand how we go about our business," said Alvarez. "You want to hire somebody that understands the culture here, Big Ten football."
In a previous interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jay Sorgi, he explained about how when he first recruited players at UW, he realized that his top priority involved offensive lineman - something he knew he could successfully recruit at UW.
On Thursday, he described how he hoped that pattern would continue.
"It starts with those big palookas up front."
He described how he's already begun the process of contacting possible candidates, and that he would further that process next week.
Alvarez also explained how he would not depend on a search committee.
"I won't use a search committee. Most search committees use me."
Before the news broke about his deciding to coach the Rose Bowl, Alvarez spoke to the Wall Street Journal and gave his reasoning.
"I want to assure them that we're going to do everything we can to let the seniors go out on a positive note," he told WSJ.
"I'll have a coach in place that they'll be able to identify with, and someone they'll enjoy playing for."
Watch the video of the interview below:
Who will Alvarez pick to take over once the Rose Bowl is done?