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Barry Alvarez on the difficulty of hiring a head coach without head coaching experience

Madison.com

Madison.com

It's a dilemma that all of us run into at some point in life, whether it be as a 16-year-old first-time job seeker or a 40-year-old with nearly 20 years experience in the work force. At some point, all of us apply for jobs we have no experience doing that require "3-to-5 years experience" doing that same job.

"But how does anyone gain experience in a job unless someone hires them to do that job?" you ask as you slam your head against your desk.

Here's an answer from the other side of the equation. With longtime head coach Bo Ryan retiring after this season, Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez is faced with a protracted coaching search in the Badgers' most successful sport. At the top of the list is Greg Gard, a top Wisconsin assistant with no head coaching experience. Alvarez said Gard will be considered for the job, but he feels he owes it to the university to conduct a full search.

“It is a challenge, because every person that moves from that position - and I did it - you’re in that job for two weeks and the first thing you hear is, ’You didn’t tell me about all this stuff. You never prepared me for any of this,’” told the Associated Press.

“Everybody thinks they can make the move, but you’ve never been in a position where the buck stops here and that final decision is yours and you’re responsible for everybody and everything that’s done with the program. You’re always going to have some things come up — there are always going to be curveballs and some things you have to deal with that you haven’t been prepared for.”

For what it's worth, Alvarez wouldn't be where he is today if not for Wisconsin hiring a head coach with no head coaching experience, as it did with him in 1990 to spectacular, program-changing results. And on top of that, Alvarez's very first hire was to promote a longtime lieutenant to his first head coaching position. Following his retirement from coaching in 2005, Alvarez, already in place as Wisconsin's AD, chose Badgers defensive coordinator Bret Bielema as his replacement. In his first head coaching position, Bielema went 68-24 with three Big Ten championships and six top-25 finishes in his seven seasons on the job.