Thursday, December 6, 2012

Barry Alvarez "humbly" decides to coach the Badgers in the 2013 Rose Bowl

The last time Barry Alvarez coached the Wisconsin Badgers football team they upset the 7th ranked Auburn Tigers in the 2006 Capital One Bowl winning 24-10.  Everyone, including Alvarez, could not conceive of any way that Alvarez would even coach the Badgers again, let alone coach them in a Rose Bowl.

Part of the reason Alvarez agreed to coach Wisconsin in the 2013 Rose Bowl following the shocking departure of Bret Bielema to Arkansas was that Alvarez said he was "humbled" by the fact that the team captains asked him to coach the 2013 Rose Bowl.  I said "humbled" because if you've ever seen one of Alvarez's press conferences, he is anything but humble.

There is no doubt that Alvarez is the savior of the Wisconsin Badgers football program, which allowed Wisconsin to turn a blind eye to certain indiscretions on Alvarez's watch because of his impressive resume at Wisconsin:
- Head Coach from 1990 to 2005
- Athletic Director from 2004 to present
- Overall record as head coach of 118-73-4 (.615)
- Bowl record of 8-3, including 3-0 in the Rose Bowl (UCLA 21-16 in 1994, UCLA 38-31 in 1999, and Stanford 17-9 in 2000)
- Won 3 Big Ten Titles (1993, 1998, and 1999)
- College Football Hall of Game inductee in 2010

Besides the captains asking Alvarez to coach the team, there were a number of other converging factors that worked in Alvarez's favor to coach the Badgers one last time.  Most notably, Alvarez is the athletic director so he doesn't need to get his boss's permission because he is the boss.  Besides being the main decision maker, almost all of Wisconsin's assistant coaches have their sights set on other jobs.  Juxtapose that with Alvarez who has reportedly had other head coaching offers since stepping down as head coach following the 2005 season.  Instead of bolting Wisconsin for a more lucrative coaching job, Alvarez remained athletic director at Wisconsin.

There is the financial aspects of Alvarez coaching the Rose Bowl as well.  Alvarez earns an annual salary of $1 million for being the Wisconsin athletic director.  It is reported that Alvarez will earn at least $100,000 for coaching the Rose Bowl and is in line for a sizable bonus if the Badgers beat Stanford in the 2013 Rose Bowl.  Doubling or possibly tripling his salary for the month of December is a nice holiday bonus for Alvarez, which I am sure his wife and bank account will appreciate.

The 2013 Rose Bowl is technically Alvarez's 6th Rose Bowl as a coach since he was an assistant coach twice for the Iowa Hawkeyes (1982 and 1986) to go along with the four Rose Bowls as head coach for Wisconsin (1994, 1999, 2000, and 2013).  In terms of his legacy, this might be the most important Rose Bowl for Alvarez because he is putting his undefeated record as a head coach of 3-0 in the Rose Bowl on the line.  If Alvarez leads the Badgers over Stanford he will join Woody Hayes for the most wins by a Big Ten coach in Rose Bowl history.  Plus it would be a nice jab at his hand picked protege Bret Bielema that bolted Wisconsin for Arkansas earlier this month because Bielema has an 0-2 Rose Bowl record losing the 2011 and 2012 Rose Bowl.

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