Barry Alvarez: 'I was very surprised'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday December 05, 2012
Posted by: Chris Vannini on December 4, 2012
Bret Bielema's decision to leave Wisconsin for Arkansas caught many people off-guard, including his athletic director.
In a statement, Barry Alvarez expressed surprise that Bielema was leaving Madison.
"I was very surprised when Bret told me he was taking the offer from Arkansas," Alvarez said. "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.
"I have a responsibility to our student-athletes, our football family and our fans, one that I take very seriously. It is my responsibility to ensure that the football program continues at a high level, and I have already started the process of trying to find a new head coach.
"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."
There was a report that Bielema still wanted to coach in the Rose Bowl, but it appears that will not be granted. Arkansas also put out a release announcing the hire.
"I am very humbled and honored to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks," Bielema in the release. "During my conversation with Jeff (Long) he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program. It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals. The infrastructure in place at Arkansas shows the commitment from the administration to accomplish our goals together and I am excited to begin to lead this group of student-athletes.
"This program will represent the state of Arkansas in a way Razorback fans everywhere will be proud of."
Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org