May 27, 2010
Alvarez Announcement | The Alvarez Era | Hall of Fame Badgers
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez, the winningest football coach in school history, will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2010, the National Football Foundation announced Thursday. Alvarez conducted an interview with UWBadgers.com upon learning of his selection.
A complete transcript is below.
Video: Alvarez Reacts to College Football Hall of Fame Announcement
"Obviously this is a tremendous honor for me. I'm thrilled. I'm humbled. When you're selected primarily by your peers to go into a hall of fame, one that means so much to me, naturally, it's very rewarding.
"I was fortunate to play for a Hall of Fame coach. The two head coaches that I worked for Lou Holtz and Hayden Fry were both Hall of Fame inductees. To walk in the same steps as they have to win this honor, I'm absolutely thrilled.
"Any time that you win an honor such as this, it's not one person. It's about the accumulated work of a number of people. From a staff, a very loyal staff that came to the University of Wisconsin and believed in the plan that I had and worked very hard to get it done, to a group of players that bought in and changed the culture, not only in our football program, but changed the culture of our athletic department while we were here. Then you take a look at the entire department. Anyone that touches the football department had to buy in and had to, in some way, contribute, regardless of whatever their job was. Whether it's tickets or training table or secretaries, everyone that touched our football program had something to do with this award. I'm very grateful to all of them for their loyalty over the years."
Q: How did you find out that you were selected and what were your emotions at that time?
"We were at Big Ten meetings, and it's kind of a funny story. Steve Hatchell from the National Football Foundation made arrangements with the Big Ten officials to come in. There's a party that the Big Ten hosted on Tuesday night. All of the athletic directors, administrators, sports faculty reps, SWAs, football coaches, basketball coaches - men and women, and all the Big Ten people attend. That's a night that I like to take my staff, everyone from Wisconsin, I take them out to dinner.
"Apparently, Steve Hatchell ran into Bo (Ryan) in the hotel lobby and he said to Bo, "Barry is going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame tomorrow. It will be announced that he's going in. We're going to make the presentation at the dinner," and Bo said, "Barry is not even going to be there. He's taking us all to dinner, but I can get him there if you want me to." He said, "No, that's all right. We'll do it in the morning."
"So, in the morning, we start the morning out at 8:00 with the football coaches, athletic directors, faculty reps, and we go over all football issues. Steve Hatchell started the program. He talked about the National Football Foundation. Bret (Bielema) said, "I was watching you, and you were going through everything, didn't seem like you were paying attention." Then they went through the fact that they were going to announce. They had one other thing they had to cover and that was to name an inductee. That's when it was announced. Had a very nice reception from those in the room. I was shocked. I was very emotional. I broke down. I was very proud."
Q: Now that you've had a couple days to digest it, what are your feelings on joining a very exclusive club with the elite of college football?
"It's something that you never really think about. You just want to coach. Coaches just want to coach and want do the best job they can and represent the university the right way. Now that you can sit back and reflect a little bit, you think of all the coaches, all the people that have coached, and the few that are in the Hall of Fame, and you just feel very fortunate. I feel very fortunate. I feel very blessed that I've had people around me who have supported me, people that dedicated themselves to the job that we did here."
Q: This is kind of the culmination of a very exciting year for you personally with the Wisconsin State Athletic Hall of Fame, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, and now the College Football Hall of Fame, can you talk about receiving all those honors in such a short period of time?
"It's overwhelming, when you think about it. The thing that I enjoy is when I can share it with family and friends. I think I learned in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. I had some friends that came out to Pasadena with me. My wife went, but I didn't take any of my children or my grandkids, and afterwards, I had second thoughts. I thought I should have. I'm going to make sure everyone that has had something to do with my background, and close friends and family, that they all have an opportunity to come to South Bend and to New York this year. I think it's important to celebrate all of these with the people that mean the most to you."