Barry Alvarez's message: 'Don't panic'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on December 16, 2012
Barry Alvarez has a message for Wisconsin fans: Don't panic.
Since Bret Bielema stunned the college football world by leaving for Arkansas, the state of the Badgers program has been in limbo a bit. The athletic director Alvarez temporarily plugged the hole by taking over the Rose Bowl, but the long-term future is still in question.
"Everyone gets anxious, but I said all along that we were going to take our time to get the right guy," Alvarez said Sunday. "It's only been 10 days. I couldn't hire somebody if I wanted to until the latter part of this coming week, but I feel good about it. I feel good about the due diligence and 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."
Recruiting is in a dead period, so Alvarez doesn't feel a need to rush since he and some assistants talked with recruits immediately following Bielema's departure.
But several assistants have already taken other jobs, although some are staying for the Rose Bowl. Alvarez admitted he briefly considered continuing his return to coaching through next season in order to keep the assistants, but it wouldn't have solved anything.
"I'd like for them to stay, but they had to protect their families," Alvarez said. 'A coach says you've got 24 hours to make a decision or the job isn't there, they have to do something, because I couldn't promise them the next coach would retain them. I was so emotionally zapped the other day with some of these guys, I think they all would have stayed. I was thinking about doing it myself, just to keep them, but we'd be in the same situation next year."
There has been speculation that Wisconsin has been turned down by some coaches at other schools. Asked if his short list has changed, Alvarez was careful with his words.
"My short list changed immediately because many of the guys were hired prior to our opening," he said. "Not really. Some of the guys on my short list were loyal to their program. There were guys I wanted to contact and see if they'd be interested, but some guys are loyal to their program, loyal to their chancellor and that thing and didn't feel it was the time to leave the program."
Alvarez admitted the Badgers have been a bit spoiled with their coaching stability since he first took over 1990. This is something that happens across the country, and Alvarez remained confident the program would hire a great coach and continue competing for championships.
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