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Alvarez ‘very surprised’ Bielema bolted for Hogs

Bret Bielema,  Barry Alvarez AP

On the coaching Richter scale, Bret Bielema‘s departure for Arkansas registered somewhere between an 11.8 and “Holy Crap!”  Especially, ya know, given Bielema’s disdain for the ways of the SEC.

While most of the college football world was stunned over the completely under-the-radar development, there may have been none more so than Bielema’s boss.

Around the same time Arkansas issued a press release confirming the hiring of Bielema, Wisconsin issued a statement from athletic director Barry Alvarez addressing the development that will lead to an unexpected and unanticipated coaching search.

“I was very surprised when Bret told me he was taking the offer from Arkansas,” Alvarez’s statement began. “He did a great job for us during his seven years as head coach, both on the field and off. I want to thank him for his work and wish him the best at Arkansas.”

Bielema’s departure for Fayetteville comes three days after the Badgers won their second consecutive Big Ten title, sending UW to its third trip to the Rose Bowl in as many years.

While Bielema reportedly wants to coach the Badgers in that game (awkward), speculation is that Alvarez, who became the winningest head coach in UW history before stepping into his current AD role, would essentially take on the roll of coach emeritus for the game.  Alvarez was the head coach for three UW Rose Bowl appearances, winning all three; Bielema was the head coach for UW’s last two Rose Bowl losses.

In his statement, Alvarez talked around what tack the athletic department will take when it comes to this year’s Grandaddy of Them All.

“Along with finding a new coach, my other main objective is to make sure that our student-athletes, specifically our seniors playing in their final game as Badgers, have a tremendous experience in the Rose Bowl. We will do everything within our power to make that happen.”

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31 Responses to “Alvarez ‘very surprised’ Bielema bolted for Hogs”
  1. be4bama says: Dec 4, 2012 8:27 PM

    SEC is where the $$ is.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. alligatorsnapper says: Dec 4, 2012 8:37 PM

    There will be posters in other SEC teams locker rooms, quoting Bielema on his anti-SEC statements and it will be used a motivation.

    Welcome Bielema to the smash mouth SEC, where defense is a way of life (or death).

  3. clevelandschronic2 says: Dec 4, 2012 8:41 PM

    First bielima cried like a little girl when he didnt like the fact that urban got some of his verbal(s) to flip. And talks about how he hates the SEC now he tucks his tail and bails on his team and recruits. Bet they Wish they could up and bail without sitting out a year.

  4. clevelandschronic2 says: Dec 4, 2012 8:44 PM

    This guy couldnt handle urban flipping some recruits how is he gonna handle the SEC. Lol. Arkansas screwed themselves.

  5. badgerbuck says: Dec 4, 2012 8:46 PM

    How many coaches on the badger staff go with him

  6. irishking says: Dec 4, 2012 8:48 PM

    Bielema disappoints and I am sure also his players.

  7. peopletrains says: Dec 4, 2012 8:50 PM

    Alvarez knew that Bielema was looking and there were even rumors among former players that Bielema was leaving after this season. I am sure Alvarez has a list of coaches ready to go. I assume he will go with someone he is comfortable with rather than outside his tree, and someone perhaps on the young side. I am thinking Bevell, Brad Childress (as much as I think he is an average coach), Bostad.

  8. canuck54143 says: Dec 4, 2012 8:52 PM

    He couldn’t win the big game anyway. Wisconsin says piss off and enjoy last place in SEC every year. Everyone in Wisconsin knows Barry’s still running the show.

  9. effjohntaylornorelation says: Dec 4, 2012 8:53 PM

    As a B1G graduate I really like Big Fatty going to the SEC, especially with his bowl record. Maybe this is all part of a grand scheme to pollute their conference with some of our worst coaches.

  10. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Dec 4, 2012 9:10 PM

    Bielema going to Arkansas makes as much sense as Rich-Rod going to Michigan a few years back. Head scratcher!

  11. mgmac says: Dec 4, 2012 9:19 PM

    While Bielema reportedly wants to coach the Badgers in that game (Rose Bowl). I hope Alvarez either laughed at him or told him to shove it when bielema asked to coach UW in the Rose Bowl. bielema’s so arrogant to even ask

  12. teal379 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:32 PM

    B doesn’t dislike the SEC – he was just ticked he hadn’t tried to do what Meyer was doing.

    He hated that he hadn’t thought about it and took it out in the press.

    I’m thinking Bevell will be coming back to Madison.

  13. dean112263 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:05 AM

    In a way, Alvarez would be OK as a stopgap. I just don’t see it as a long term solution. The Bill Snyder situation keeps getting brought up, but that result is a rarity, IMO.

    The ESPN affiliates in Madison – Milwaukee saying Alvarez is talking to Jags’ asst head coach (and fmr Badger DB Mel Tucker).

    Bielema seemed to freeze in really big games (not counting last weekend’s mauling in Indy). He seemed a little thin skinned, though. Interesting how he’ll handle getting criticized by the fanatical Hogs’ fans.

    He’s a very good, but not great, head coach. He kept Alvarez’s program and moved up slightly, but was never able to take that full elite step up.

    Yes, UW-Madison is much harder academically than most schools, which keeps some of the talent away. That being said, you aren’t about to be run out of town if you finished third in your division with a 7-5 record and lost to both the 1 & 2 teams in your division, either.

  14. twelvesbelt says: Dec 5, 2012 12:06 AM

    B-rett will be sweating like a Ar-kansas pig in his stupid ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ windbreaker whilst getting steamrolled against ‘Bama, LSU, Flo-Rida, Jo-Ja, TX Agriculture & Mining…………… Oh ya, his first recruits will be Honey Boo-Boo and all of The Duggars. Phuck ‘em Bucky.

  15. rsmeans says: Dec 5, 2012 12:21 AM

    Bielema was the best coach in the Little10 and made the right decision in moving to the SEC. The Little10 is so poor they should concentrate only on Hockey or Ping Pong where they can be more competitive. Sorta funny when a SEC coach begins to lose it all he moves to Ohio State where football is lacking on both sides of the ball. The SEC would not want any other coach than Hoke or the coach at Michigan State. The other coaches are more competent to coach at the Junior High level.

  16. 27xwschamps says: Dec 5, 2012 3:01 AM

    Talk bout a kick in the nuts for Whiskey fans.

  17. packforever52 says: Dec 5, 2012 6:09 AM

    Arkansas can have him!!

  18. WingT says: Dec 5, 2012 7:47 AM

    I guess Bielema is just following that age-old advice of ” if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.

    Welcome to the SEC Bret.

  19. florida727 says: Dec 5, 2012 8:49 AM

    Pretty arrogant to even ask to coach the team in the Rose Bowl after essentially abandoning them just so you can try your luck in the SEC. I hope Barry had his office emptied out within minutes of the announcement. Bret, welcome to the SEC. Wonder if you have any idea of what’s waiting for you.

    Here’s what I don’t get, seriously: you reach an agreement with Arkansas. Fine. That’s your choice to make. Keep your mouth shut for 30 days, coach in the Rose Bowl so as not to screw your seniors over, THEN announce you’re leaving. Are you telling me that the next 30 days are so critical to Arkansas that they couldn’t accommodate that? I don’t think so.

    There’s a right way to change jobs, and a wrong way. This was the wrong way.

  20. 1historian says: Dec 5, 2012 8:52 AM

    Stanford is going to kick some serious badgerbutt

  21. hor2012 says: Dec 5, 2012 9:25 AM

    I’m shocked.

  22. CBFAN says: Dec 5, 2012 9:29 AM

    Let’s face it, Wisky should not even be in the rose bowl this year. I would think for them it would be kind of embarassing to be there knowing they were not even close to the best team in the conference.

  23. 1westcoastphinfan says: Dec 5, 2012 10:14 AM

    The Badgers competed in every game they played this year, and NOBODY blew them out. The losses were by 3-4 points each. If the Badgers can carry the same enthusiasm, grit, and determination they showed at Indianapolis to Pasadena on New Year’s Day, they will defeat mighty Stanford and teach all you bad-mouthers a good lesson. I hope Barry himself will coach the Rose Bowl game and show Brett the door long before it happens. Considering we are playing with our 3rd string QB and the injuries and bad calls with which we have contended, I’d say the Badgers are a very good representative of the Big10 conference. By the way, I went to the Stanford/Wisconsin Rose Bowl 1999 and Stanford was heavily favored then too, but please do check out the final score: Wisconsin kicked their butts.

  24. CBFAN says: Dec 5, 2012 10:45 AM

    For the big ten’s sake, I hope you are right. Of course I had high hopes when Wisky played TCU in the rose bowl too.

  25. huskersrock1 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:03 PM

    I would highly recommend that Wisconsin tries to hire Bo Pelini.

    Please come get Bo Pelini.

  26. lethimplaycoach says: Dec 5, 2012 12:51 PM

    Can’t believe he wouldn’t hold out for a better job than take this lateral move to a mediocre program.

    His win/loss record of 68-24 looks impressive, but most wins are versus inferior out-of-conference opponents and the weaker Big Ten teams. Still, there were a lot of people impressed with him, and I think in 1-2 years he could have moved to a better program than Arkansas.

  27. lethimplaycoach says: Dec 5, 2012 12:53 PM

    “Here’s what I don’t get, seriously: you reach an agreement with Arkansas. Fine. That’s your choice to make. Keep your mouth shut for 30 days, coach in the Rose Bowl so as not to screw your seniors over, THEN announce you’re leaving. Are you telling me that the next 30 days are so critical to Arkansas that they couldn’t accommodate that? I don’t think so.”

    Yes the next 30 days are critical for recruiting. Otherwise kids considering Arkansas would be hearing from other coaches – “they don’t even know who their coach will be.”

  28. florida727 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:08 PM

    #lethimplaycoach, I copied the below from an NCAA website:

    (1) December 16, 2012: Quiet Period
    (2) December 17, 2012, through January 3, 2013, [except for (a) below]: Dead Period
    (a) Institutional staff members may have contact with a prospective student-athlete who has been admitted for midyear enrollment, provided the prospect has signed a National Letter of Intent or other offer of admission and/or financial aid to attend the institution and is required to be on campus to attend institutional orientation sessions for all students:

    Unless I’m misreading this, it looks as though the “bowl season” is actually a “dead period”, so I’d respectfully disagree with your comment that it is a critical period for recruiting.

  29. lethimplaycoach says: Dec 5, 2012 1:27 PM

    Yes but Dec. 5th to Dec. 15th it is full speed ahead.

  30. immafubared says: Dec 5, 2012 1:59 PM

    Wow, did he ever do that program a favor. Any coach who would go out and look for and find a Wilson, bring him in and make him starter when you have what three other guys vying for that spot who signed a contract to play, practiced and did everything asked to have an outsider join the team and put you on the bench, sucks.
    He tried it again this year but the guy got hurt and bulimia had to play the other guys. What a prick.
    If I was a yound QB I would not go to Arkansas just because of him.

  31. florida727 says: Dec 5, 2012 3:10 PM

    #lethimplaycoach, good catch. I missed that. You’re right.

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