Feb. 4, 2013
• Spring Game News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez and Jeanette Roberts, dean of the School of Pharmacy at UW-Madison, met with the media to discuss a partnership for the 2013 Wisconsin Football Spring Game on April 20.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Alvarez's and Roberts' remarks can be found below.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez and Jeanette Roberts, the dean of the School of Pharmacy at UW-Madison. I will turn it over to Coach Alvarez for a special announcement regarding the upcoming spring game.
BARRY ALVAREZ: Three years ago, the athletic department and the football staff decided we would use proceeds for the spring game and partner with a department on campus to provide them assistance financially. It's been a very positive experience working with the other departments, plus it's a two way street. It also helps us promote the spring game.
In 2011 we partnered with the School of Nursing. In 2012 we partnered with the Center For Nonprofits in the School of Human Ecology. In both those cases we raised in the vicinity of at least $40,000 each year that was presented to both departments.
This year we're pleased to announce that we'll partner with the School of Pharmacy. Very excited about that and excited to work with them. Jeanette has assured me that they will promote and outdo the previous two departments.
This is an exciting spring game and a very exciting opportunity for our fans to have the opportunity to see a new coaching staff for the first time, see a very good football team, a good nucleus coming back. The players that haven't had a chance to play yet, for them to showcase themselves, and our fans have the opportunity to see next year's brand of the Badgers.
THE MODERATOR: Turn it over to Jeanette for some comments as well.
JEANETTE ROBERTS: Thank you, Coach.
We are absolutely thrilled to be the 2013 partner with UW Athletics for the spring football game. The School of Pharmacy is in a very exciting place right now for many reasons. One is that 2013 also represents our 130th anniversary. So we have an incredible tradition of excellence and impact on health care and pharmaceutical services as well as the research in various areas of pharmacy to improve health and promote well being.
So we're going to use this as an opportunity for us to highlight the school, to highlight the role of the pharmacist, and especially to launch a new med drop site at the UW Police Department headquarters across from Camp Randall. This will be the first med drop site on campus. We've been working in cooperation with UWPD and Madison Police Department to get this in place and to use the spring game as a focal point to bring up prescription drug abuse and misuse and to have people empty their medicine cabinets.
So this is a wonderful opportunity to, again, highlight pharmacy in conjunction with this game, and it's really all good.
We will be devoting the proceeds of the spring game to our Great People Scholarship program. This is all need-based scholarships, a program that was originated two or three years ago now, and we're absolutely committed to reducing the student debt load of our graduates and promoting the fact that pharmacy education can and should be accessible for any qualified student regardless of socioeconomic status.
So in the past 10 years, we've provided over $3.5 million in scholarships to many, many students. Last year we topped $450,000 to over 100 of our students, 150 of our students, and we're just now ramping up our Great People Scholarship Fund, and the proceeds from this game will take us a long way towards reducing the debt of pharmacy graduates, which averages about $85,000 upon graduation these days. So we want to fix that and, again, provide access to any qualified student regardless of their ability to pay.
So the proceeds of this game will be essential in pursuing that goal, and, again, we're thrilled to be the partner for the 2013 spring football game.
Of course, a warm welcome to new coach Gary Andersen as well. We'll have an opportunity to highlight his arrival at this game and work towards student support for the pharmacists of the future. Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: Before we get to questions, just wanted to add that tickets to the spring game held on April 20 at 2 p.m. will go on sale today. Fans can purchase those tickets at UWBadgers.com, by calling the ticket office or by stopping in person at the ticket office at Camp Randall Stadium. Tickets are $5 apiece.
We'll go ahead and open it up for questions.
QUESTON: Jeanette, did you pursue Barry for this opportunity?
ROBERTS: I happened to be standing behind Katharyn May, the Dean of Nursing, when he initiated this program with them two years ago. Unfortunately, Robin Douthitt, the Dean of Human Ecology, was in between the two of us. But we managed to get in line based on that very initial conversation, and I'm absolutely thrilled.
ALVAREZ: I might add, as we announced it I don't know if it was Robin or whoever it was brought it up, how are we going to help them? I came up with the idea that at that point and I had a line and a list of about 10 departments that went on the list immediately. So we have a pecking order, and you had to be there.
QUESTON: Barry, obviously, the departments are providing feedback. What type of feedback have you received from fans about what you're doing with the spring game?
ALVAREZ: I'll be honest with you. The feedback has come from the departments and different schools, how appreciative they've been, how positive it's been. It's made some people I think it was Robin who mentioned that, because of what we did, it made somewhere aware of what was going on, and there was a very large gift given because of that. The fans really haven't said anything.
I think players like to play in front of people. I haven't received much feedback other than whoever we're working with.
QUESTON: Just a football-related question. With Gary and his staff involved here in a couple of days with the national signing day, this is a very important time obviously for this program.
ALVAREZ: Well, it is. I can't speak to individual recruits but couldn't be more pleased with how Gary and his staff have come in, wrapped our arms around recruiting, been able to secure a recruiting class, make the whole thing secure within the state, the whole thing secure with those who had committed previously, and with their ties go out and find a few other players that really adds to this class.
So, yes, recruiting is the life blood of your program and the future of your program, and even though we made a coaching change, I don't see we dropped in recruiting. As a matter of fact, maybe took a step upward.
QUESTON: Another football related question. Have you spent much time in the last month thinking about the Rose Bowl? Anything you could have done differently? What has this month been like for you now that things have quieted down a little bit?
ALVAREZ: I don't know if I'll ever go through a month like I did in December. You learn in coaching you don't second guess. I thought our players to hold the thing together, to hold things together, and keep the players positive and stay focused on the Rose Bowl, I thought they competed very hard. Had a chance to win a game against an outstanding Stanford team. I couldn't be more pleased with their effort and the professionalism the assistant coaches have.
I couldn't have been more pleased. Naturally, you want to win the game. That's why you go. But the positive that came out of it really was very good. It was I felt good about it. Really wouldn't have done much different.
QUESTON: Because of your month spent coaching, you know the guys coming in a little better than you have in years past. With the quarterback situation and the number of guys competing for that job, are you pretty excited? Also, what do you think that will do for the number of people coming out for the spring game to see kind of how that competition is coming along?
ALVAREZ: I don't know. I think more about people would be interested in style of play and for newcomers. They know how the guys who have played are going to play. But I think fans would be interested in the style of play we're going to have. Who we're going to see who will hit the field that they haven't seen before. I think those and, of course, the quarterback battle certainly adds a little more interest to it, but I don't think that's the only thing although that's what most people want to talk about.
QUESTON: (On quarterback competition entering spring practice)
ALVAREZ: Really haven't put a lot of thought into it. I know we have one guy that won a championship (Curt Phillips), another guy that had beaten him out in Joel Stave. I understand Jon Budmayr is healthy. Bart Houston, I had a chance to see him practice and throw. I think he's very talented. I'm personally anxious to see how they evolve, how the staff will use all of them.