Barry Alvarez is in his ninth year as Director of Athletics at the University of Wisconsin in 2012-13, and his seventh without the additional title of head football coach. Alvarez served as A.D. and football coach from 2004-05.
Wisconsin has enjoyed remarkable success during Alvarez's tenure at the head of the athletic department, winning a combined 16 team national titles and 37 conference regular-season or tournament crowns since he took over.
In Alvarez's eight previous seasons as A.D., Wisconsin has finished at least 22nd in the NACDA Director's Cup five times, including a 16th-place finish in 2006-07. That is the second-best finish in school history. Six different teams have won national titles during Alvarez's tenure, including four in the magical 2005-06 season. Ten different teams have been crowned as conference champions, including five in each of the 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.
On the academic side, more than 1,000 student-athletes have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in Alvarez' eight-year tenure.
In 2011-12, seven sports recorded their highest team grade-point averages for either the fall or spring terms.
Alvarez was appointed in the spring of 2008 as one of the chairs of the NCAA's Football Academic Enhancement Group, which was formed to review and recommend improvements for the APR rating. He also serves on the NCAA Football Issues Committee. In addition, Alvarez was named "Person of the Year" by the Big Ten Club of Southern California in 2008. Alvarez was voted into the state of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2009 and will be inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
The Alvarez Era Items of note on Alvarez's coaching career
Coached nine first-round NFL draft choices (Troy Vincent, Aaron Gibson, Ron Dayne, Chris McIntosh, Jamar Fletcher, Michael Bennett, Wendell Bryant, Lee Evans and Erasmus James) at UW.
Coached 59 NFL draft choices at Wisconsin.
Coached 34 All-Americans, including seven consensus first-team choices, at Wisconsin.
Coached 62 first-team All-Big Ten selections at Wisconsin.
Coached 119 Academic All-Big Ten selections at Wisconsin.
Big Ten-record 10 straight seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher (1993-2002).
Four Big Ten Defensive Players of the Year.
Two Big Ten MVPs.
Two Big Ten Offensive Players of the Year.
Three Big Ten Freshmen of the Year.
Three Big Ten and Rose Bowl championship teams (the only other Big Ten coach with at least three Rose Bowl wins was Ohio State's Woody Hayes).
Eleven bowl qualifiers.
Coached or played in 22 bowl games (at Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Iowa and Nebraska).
Was a head coach in the 1995 Blue-Gray Game, 1996 East-West Shrine game, 2000 Hula Bowl and 2004 Florida Gridiron Classic.
Alvarez received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Nebraska in May of 2003.
Barry was inducted into the Washington County (Pa.) chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Alvarez and his wife, Cindy, endowed a football scholarship at the UW in the spring of 2000. "I thought it was a small way for me to say thanks to the UW-Madison," Alvarez said of his quarter-million dollar contribution to the school's foundation.
Alvarez set a goal to become a collegiate head coach by his 42nd birthday and was named to the Wisconsin post three days after he turned 42.
Alvarez added administrative duties to his job description in 2000 when he was named Associate Athletic Director. He became Wisconsin's Director of Athletics in April 2004, operating in a dual role as football coach as well.
Alvarez grew up in a small mining town (Langeloth) in western Pennsylvania. He played all sports as a kid and idolized former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente.
Babcock Hall, which houses the UW-Madison's nationally acclaimed dairy school, developed an ice cream flavor in honor of the Badger head coach in 1994. It was named Berry Alvarez, and the flavor was a mixture of raspberry, strawberry and blueberry.
Alvarez, a big baseball fan, helped honor former Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray by singing "Take me out to the ballgame" during a seventh-inning stretch in May of 1999.
Alvarez was a finalist for ESPN's College Football Coach of the Decade Award in 1999. He was one of 18 coaches named to a new position in 1990 and was the only one still at the school that hired him when he retired in 2005.
Barry Alvarez got his college coaching start with Hayden Fry at Iowa in 1979, one season after leading Mason City High School to the 4A state championship. One of the staffs of which Alvarez was a member featured six men who went on to lead their own college programs: Alvarez; Kirk Ferentz, Iowa; Dan McCarney, former Iowa State; Del Miller, former Missouri State; Don Patterson, former Western Illinois; Bill Snyder, Kansas State.
Alvarez was named one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Business in October of 2001.
Alvarez and his wife, Cindy, were co-campaign chairs in the effort to bring a Gilda's Club (a free support center for families dealing with cancer) to Madison. It opened in the fall of 2008. In addition, Alvarez serves on the Board of Directors of the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).
Numerous former Alvarez assistants at Wisconsin have gone on to success on the professional level, among them Bill Callahan (former Oakland Raiders and Nebraska head coach), Brad Childress (Minnesota Vikings head coach), Jay Hayes (Cincinnati Bengals defensive line coach), Jim Hueber (Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach), Jeff Horton (St. Louis Rams assistant offensive line coach).
Recently elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, Alvarez guided Wisconsin's football fortunes for 16 seasons (1990-2005). He has been at the forefront of the revival of the Badger athletic program during his entire tenure in Madison. He piloted Wisconsin to three Big Ten and Rose Bowl titles (including back-to-back in 1998-99) en route to becoming the winningest football coach in school history (118-73-4 record).
Alvarez was just the 10th coach in Big Ten history to win 100 games at one conference institution. His 8-3 (.727) record in bowl games with the Badgers is the best in college football history (among coaches with at least 11 bowl appearances). The 1993 national coach of the year, he was a two-time (1993 and 1998) Big Ten coach of the year and a finalist for ESPN's coach of the decade (1990s) honor. He received the Victor Award's 1999 National Coach of the Year accolade and was the 2004 AFCA Region 3 Coach of the Year.
Alvarez retired from coaching at the conclusion of the 2005 season in order to concentrate solely on running the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. He has made a lasting impression on the Wisconsin sports scene. His well-documented turnaround of the once-moribund Badger football program has helped to allow the school's entire athletic department to blossom into one of the nation's finest and most respected organizations in college sports.
When Alvarez arrived in Madison in 1990, Wisconsin had compiled a 9-36 record during the previous four seasons and attendance at Camp Randall Stadium had dipped to an average of 41,734 per game (54 percent of capacity). The program sorely needed a boost and got it when new Director of Athletics Pat Richter hired Alvarez from Notre Dame, where he had been an assistant coach under Lou Holtz.
Over the next 16 seasons Alvarez transformed the football program and, subsequently, the culture of athletics at the UW. The success of the football program ignited and heightened interest in Badger sports. Alvarez's list of accomplishments at Wisconsin is remarkable. Consider just a few of the most notable ...
winningest coach in school history (record of 118-73-4, .615)
highest bowl winning percentage of all-time (8-3, .727)
coached three Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions
only Big Ten coach ever to win the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons
just the 10th coach in Big Ten history with 100 victories at one conference institution
coached five national award winners, including Ron Dayne (Heisman, Doak Walker, Maxwell), Jamar Fletcher (Jim Thorpe) and Kevin Stemke (Ray Guy)
guided UW to back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1998 and 1999 (hadn't happened at Wisconsin since 1896-97)
coached the four of the five winningest teams in school history
named national coach of the year in 1993; Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1998; Victor Award's 1999 National Coach of the Year; and 2004 AFCA Region 3 Coach of the Year.
THE ALVAREZ ERA, YEAR-BY-YEAR 2005 (10-3): Wisconsin capped the Alvarez era with a stunning 24-10 upset win over seventh-ranked Auburn in the Capital One Bowl. UW won 10 games for just the fourth time in school history. The Badgers set school records for scoring and passing yardage and were led by running back Brian Calhoun, who became just the second player in NCAA Division I history to accumulate 1,500 rushing and 500 receiving yards. Wisconsin finished ranked No. 15 in the media and coaches polls. Calhoun, OT Joe Thomas, WR Brandon Williams and P Ken DeBauche all earned All-America honors.
2004 (9-3): The Badgers won their first nine games en route to a No. 4 national ranking in both polls. In that winning streak, UW beat both No. 18/17 Ohio State and No. 5/5 Purdue on the road and led the nation in scoring defense with 9.1 ppg. Wisconsin finished third in the Big Ten and earned a bid to play Georgia in the Outback Bowl. Five Badgers were named All-Big Ten, including DE Erasmus James, a consensus All-American. Seven Badgers were NFL draft choice, including all four starters on the defensive line. 2003 (7-6): Wisconsin won six of its first seven games, including a 17-10 upset victory that ended No. 3-ranked Ohio State's 19-game winning streak. Four Badgers earned first-team All-Big Ten mention, including WR Lee Evans who finished his career ranked No. 2 on the all-time Big Ten receiving yardage list. UW qualified for its ninth bowl game in 11 years. UW lost to Minnesota on a FG as time ran out; to Purdue on a FG with 0:03 left; and to Iowa when the Badgers were unable to score on a last-minute drive.
2002 (8-6): A season-opening five-game winning streak and league wins over Michigan State and Minnesota qualified the Badgers for their eighth Alvarez-era bowl game, a 31-28 OT win over 14th-ranked Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. First-team All-American Jim Leonhard led the nation with a Big Ten record-tying 11 interceptions. Anthony Davis (1,555 yards) gave UW a 1,000-yard rusher for a Big Ten-record 10th straight year.
2001 (5-7): Several individual achievements highlighted a season in which the Badgers never won or lost more than two straight games. WR Lee Evans set the Big Ten record for receiving yards in a season with 1,545 and RB Anthony Davis led the conference in rushing. Evans and Davis were All-Americans and six Badgers earned first-team All-Big Ten acclaim, including DL Wendell Bryant who became a first-round NFL draft choice. The Badgers lost by a field goal to both Oregon and Michigan. 2000 (9-4): A five-game winning streak to end the season highlighted the Sun Bowl champions' 9-4 season. Fighting injuries and suspensions, the Badgers had a difficult time getting consistency in the early part of the league season. Jamar Fletcher (Jim Thorpe Award) and Kevin Stemke (inaugural Ray Guy Award) allowed UW to be the only school in the nation with two different players winning major awards.
1999 (10-2): A 17-9 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl allowed Wisconsin to become the first Big Ten school in history to win the "Granddaddy of Them All" in back-to-back campaigns. The 10-2 Badgers finished fourth in both the media and coaches final polls. Wisconsin defeated five nationally rated foes for the first time in school history and concluded the year with eight consecutive victories. The Badgers led the Big Ten in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Ron Dayne became the NCAA's all-time leading rusher and then walked away with the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award. Chris McIntosh (Outland Trophy) and Vitaly Pisetsky (Mosi Tatupu and Lou Groza Awards) were major award finalists. Alvarez was forced to coach from the press box or hospital in eight games after mid-season knee surgery.
1998 (11-1): The then-winningest season in school history ended in dramatic fashion with a thrilling 38-31 upset of sixth-ranked UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Game MVP Ron Dayne keyed the win with 246 yards rushing. Wisconsin led the nation in scoring defense and turnover margin. The Badgers' nine-game win streak to open the season tied a school record. Tom Burke (NCAA sack leader) and Aaron Gibson (a finalist for the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy) were consensus All-Americans. Alvarez was Big Ten Coach of the Year.
1997 (8-5): A six-game winning streak catapulted the Badgers to a second consecutive eight-win season and berth in the Outback Bowl vs. Georgia. The Badgers joined the `37 Michigan team as the only squads in league history to win three one-point decisions. Ron Dayne earned first-team All-America honors and Matt Davenport won two games with last-second field goals.
1996 (8-5): The Badgers opened quickly with a 3-0 non-league slate before losing four games (three by a combined total of 10 points) to highly ranked foes. The UW closed 4-1 and posted a 38-10 win over Utah in the Copper Bowl. Ron Dayne set an NCAA freshman rushing record and had 2,109 yards, including the bowl win.
1995 (4-5-2): With the most inexperienced squad in the Big Ten and facing the nation's most difficult schedule (according to the Seattle Times), the Badgers posted a 4-5-2 mark. Darrell Bevell broke several passing records at the UW. The 17-9 upset at Penn State broke the NCAA's longest win streak (20 games). 1994 (8-3-1): Wisconsin won its second straight January bowl game by defeating Duke in the Hall of Fame Bowl. The regular season featured a win at Michigan for the first time since 1962. Center Cory Raymer was a consensus All-American. Seven players were drafted by the NFL.
1993 (10-1-1): The Badgers were Big Ten co-champions, beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl and were ranked as high as fifth (coaches) in the final polls. The UW had the NCAA's largest attendance increase, and its .875 winning percentage was the best by a Big Ten team since `79. A school-record eight players were named first-team All-Big Ten. Brent Moss was the Badgers' first Big Ten MVP since 1962. 1992 (5-6): UW was 5-6 and climbed in the Big Ten standings for the third season in a row. The Badgers upset 12th-ranked Ohio State, their first win over a nationally rated foe in eight years. Wisconsin received votes in the national polls for the first time in Alvarez's career and ended the year one victory short of a bowl bid. Three of the losses were by a total of four points.
1991 (5-6): Wisconsin improved its win total by four games, the fourth-largest improvement in the NCAA. Troy Vincent was an All-American, runner-up for the Jim Thorpe Award and the No. 7 pick in the NFL draft. A victory at Minnesota broke a 23-game road losing streak. 1990 (1-10): Wisconsin was within striking distance entering the fourth quarter in 10 games, although its only victory was over Ball State. UW had the third-best attendance gain nationally. Alvarez's coaching career began at the high school level. He served as an assistant at Lincoln (Neb.) Northeast High from 1971-73 before taking over as head coach at Lexington (Neb.) High from 1974-75. His last prep coaching stop was at Mason City (Iowa) High where he was head coach from 1976-78 and where his team won a 4A state title in his final year.
Iowa's Hayden Fry hired Alvarez as an assistant coach in 1979. The Hawkeyes played in six bowl games (two Rose Bowls) during Alvarez's eight years in Iowa City, compiling a 61-33-1 mark in the process. Alvarez's standout player with the Hawkeyes was LB Larry Station, a two-time All-American and two-time Academic All-American. Alvarez left Iowa after the 1986 season to become linebackers coach at Notre Dame. He was promoted (linebackers to defensive coordinator to assistant head coach) by Holtz each of his three seasons as the Fighting Irish went 32-5 and won the 1988 national title. While in South Bend, Alvarez coached All-America linebackers Michael Stonebreaker, Ned Bolcar, Cedric Figaro and Wes Pritchett.
Alvarez grew up in Langeloth, Pa., a small town among the coal mines and steel mills in western Pennsylvania. He starred as a prep linebacker and went on to play at Nebraska (1965-67) for legendary head coach Bob Devaney. Alvarez was the leading tackler for the 1967 Cornhuskers, who led the nation in total defense and created a school-record 40 turnovers. Alvarez played in both the Sugar and Orange bowls at Nebraska (the Cornhuskers were 25-7 during his three varsity seasons).
Alvarez is a 1969 graduate of the University of Nebraska, where he played linebacker and went on to earn his master's degree. He received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater in 2003. Alvarez and his wife, Cindy, were co-campaign chairs in the effort to bring a Gilda's Club (a free support center for families dealing with cancer) to Madison. That facility opened in the fall of 2008. In addition, Alvarez serves on the Board of Directors of the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).
Alvarez and his wife, Cindy, are the parents of three grown children - daughters Dawn and Stacy (Mrs. Mike Delzer) and son Chad (wife Stephanie). Barry and Cindy are grandparents to Joe and Jake Ferguson; Grace and Jackson Delzer; and Scarlett and Barry John Thomas Alvarez.