In December of 2012, after Bret Bielema stunned the college football world by leaving Wisconsin for Arkansas, former UW head coach and current UW athletic director Barry Alvarez grabbed his coaching whistle and guided the Badgers in their Rose Bowl game against Stanford the following January. In December of 2014, Gary Andersen stunned the college football world by leaving Wisconsin for Oregon State.
With a postseason date with an SEC program looming off on the horizon, it’s deja vu all over again.
The Badgers and Tigers will square of at noon ET New Year’s Day at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. (For the entire bowl lineup, click HERE)
Alvarez, who serves as one of the 12 members of the College Football Playoff committee, coached the Badgers from 1990-2005, compiling an overall record of 118-73-4. In his first “comeback,” Alvarez was 0-1 as the Badgers fell to the Cardinal 20-14, the third straight loss in the Granddaddy Of Them All for the Badgers.
Don’t look for Alvarez to take over the job full-time, though. The last comeback, Alvarez says he flirted “for about a day” with the idea of taking over full-time. As Alvarez will turn 69 at the end of this month, I’m guessing the flirtation this go-around will last “for about a nanosecond.”
One more thing to consider: Alvarez will be coaching against a team that he will, presumably, be evaluating next season as part of his job as a CFP committee member. I’m guessing that may not go over well with some of the more black-helicopter-oriented crowd who calls SEC country home.
UPDATED 3:06 p.m. ET: Wisconsin made it officially official Thursday afternoon, announcing that athletic director Barry Alvarez will coach Wisconsin in the bowl game against Auburn. Alvarez also confirmed that the team’s seniors came to him and requested that he coach them in the game.
“A number of the seniors met with me on Wednesday after our team meeting and asked if I would consider coaching the team,” the former UW coach said in a statement. “I told them I would have to sleep on it. After thinking it over and meeting with some of the seniors again this morning I have decided to coach. I feel this gives our assistants an opportunity to concentrate on getting the team ready for a very good opponent in Auburn. My goal is to make sure our players, especially the seniors playing their last game, have a memorable experience and we do everything we can to prepare to win the game.”