Wisconsin athletic director/interim head coach Barry Alvarez discussed the progress of his coaching search and staff movement after the Badgers’ bowl practice today. As you are surely well are, Alvarez fill in as head coach for Wisconsin’s Rose Bowl date with Stanford after Bret Bielema’s stunning departure to Arkansas.
Here are Alvarez’s thoughts relevant to the search and the subsequent loss of assistant coaches.
On the status of the search… We’re moving along. We’re progressing. Everyone gets anxious but I’ve said all along we were going to take our time. It’s only been 10 days. I couldn’t hire someone even if I wanted to until the latter part of this week. I feel good about the due diligence of the people that I’ve talked to. I have one more to visit with and then we’ll sit down and decide on the best person. I feel good about the candidates we’ve interviewed.
On if there’s a sense of urgency to hire a coach before the Rose Bowl… There isn’t. This is a dead period now, you can’t reruit anyhow. We’ve done a pretty good job of staying in contact with our recruits in the first week after Bret’s resignation. I’ve felt pretty solid about all of them. We had a good group of commitments in. Our guys have done a good job of staying in contact with them. Hopefully when we get a new coach in place we’ll get some momentum and really get everything going down.
On losing assistant coaches… They couldn’t delay their decision because other coaches were putting pressure on them and giving them 24 hours to make a decision. I’d like for them to stay but they had to protect their families. A coach says, ‘You’ve got 24 hours to make a decision or your job isn’t there.’ I couldn’t promise them the next coach would retain them. I was so emotionally zapped the other day, I was thinking about doing it myself just so we could keep them. If I do it for another year, we’d be in the same situation next year. It was unfortunate. I couldn’t have sped the process up. I have to get to the people that I want to talk to. You have to do it right. I feel bad for losing them because they’re very good coaches, very professional throughout this. Their main concern was the kids and getting them ready. They’ve given us everything as far as preparation, game planning and practice.
On if his short list has changed… My short list changed immediately because many of the guys were hired prior to our opening. Some of the guys were loyal to their chancellor and to their program, that type of thing.
On the perception of the Wisconsin job changing after so much recent turnover… That’s an unfair question because it’s not accurate. The guys that left last year, one guy got a head job and they all got promotions. We had one head guy that jumped and (the current assistants) have to make a decision. We’re spoiled here because we were one of the most stable programs in the country with me being here 16 years and elevating an assistant (to head coach) for seven years. This happens around the country. I’ll hire a good coach and this program will continue being very good. For those that are panicking, don’t panic. We’ll take care of business and this program will be in excellent hands.