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Alvarez News Conference Transcript



The following is the complete transcript of Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Barry Alvarez's news conference on Thursday announcing he will step down as football coach at the end of the 2005 season. Current defensive coordinator Bret Bielema has been named his successor.

STEVE MALCHOW: On behalf of the UW Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, I welcome you to a very special announcement this afternoon. Joining me on the dais today is head football coach and athletic director, Barry Alvarez, and UW-Madison chancellor, John Wiley. We will have several speakers today and will conclude this news conference with a question-and-answer session with the news media.

When we get to that Q&A, I would ask media members wishing to ask a question to raise your hand. Well get a microphone to you, and then Ill recognize your question. To begin, its my distinct pleasure to present Wisconsin athletic director and head football coach, Barry Alvarez.

BARRY ALVAREZ: Thanks, Steve. Bear with me. These types of announcements can be difficult. But Ive decided to announce today that Ill step down as the head football coach at the University of Wisconsin at the conclusion of the 2005 season. I will remain the athletic director and am very excited about the prospects for our athletic department.

Todays announcement has been in the works for a number of months. This is my personal timeline. As one of my close friends told me, youll know when its the right time. I believe its the right time.

For me personally, today is really a day of thank you to my family, to my wife, Cindy. They say that to have a chance to be a good coach you have to have a great wife, and she is the absolute best. Shes been a partner and like an assistant coach from the days we started as a high school assistant. Shes been a great mother and my best friend.

To my children, Dawn, Stacy and Chad. I know its not easy to be a coachs kid all the time. But theres never been a complaint and theyve always been very supportive, and each one of them have excelled in their own right. And Im very proud and I love them. I see my two grandsons, Joe and Jake, sitting there. Man, am I going to have fun watching them grow up.

Ill always be indebted to Pat Richter for giving me this opportunity. We were a good team, Pat. For Donna Shalala for really getting the ball rolling. I certainly want to thank Chancellor Wiley for his continued support. Im very appreciative of what he does for me and the entire Athletic Department.

Ive had a great group of assistant coaches in the last 15 years. We couldnt have accomplished this without my assistant coaches. Theyve all been very loyal, hardworking, and very dedicated, and I thank each and every one of them.

To the hundreds of players who have, who what this is really all about, who really bought into what we were selling, to buy in when we were selling blue sky, to come here and help build a program. I thank all of our former players.

To the loyal staffers, like John Chadima and Steve Malchow, who were young punks just out of college when I hired them, guys that have been married to their jobs 24/7, loyal, hardworking. Ill always be indebted to them.

To Mendota members, particularly the board and director Wayne Esser. We wouldnt have had a chance to compete without Mendota and for all of the things that theyve done for us. And I want to thank you for giving me that opportunity, giving our program the opportunity.

To Monsignor Mike Burke, a close friend to not only me, but our entire staff and every player thats ever walked through here probably in the last 24 years, friend and confidant. I always have to look after him, which most of you dont, wouldnt realize.

I also want to thank the loyal and proud Wisconsin fans. One of my greatest joys is when a fan simply says, hey, Coach, thanks for a job well done, youve done a great job, were proud. Theres nothing like it.

About 15 years ago, I looked at the UW as a sleeping giant. I was familiar with the campus, the community, the stadium, and we felt that we could put these pieces together and build a program. My on-the-field memories could fill a book. I would do that except Justin just wrote a book on all those memories. But things like clinching a Rose Bowl berth in Tokyo, watching an overtime win at Minnesota from a hospital bed at the Mayo Clinic, giving Ron Dayne a bear hug after coming down to the sidelines the day he broke the NCAA rushing record, us clinching a Rose Bowl berth that day.

The sense of pride for players like Joe Panos and Joe Rudolph, heroes who helped their fellow students at the fan crush in 93. And our old lunch-pail gang, blue collar, winning the first Rose Bowl.

The improbable pitch and catch from Schaebert to Evans to defeat defending national champ Ohio State. And a great post-game exchange with Brooks Bollinger, who competed his fanny off in the late-game comeback win against Colorado in San Antonio. And I can go on and on forever.

Off the field Ive been very fortunate to establish some wonderful friendships, folks like Ted Kellner, Larry and Pam Jacobson, John and Jeannie Fleisch, Tony Kannoni, and many others. You know its easy to have, you have a lot of friends when you go to the Rose Bowl, but these are friends that are there in good times and bad times.

Although I feel as though I just walked down memory lane, Im just as excited about the future of UW athletics. Its been a joy and a privilege to serve the University of Wisconsin as the athletic director and head football coach for the past 16 months, but it takes its toll. Im proud of the job my staffs have done, both administrative and football.

I think its very important to emphasize that my immediate focus is to coach the 2005 football team and coach them to its fullest potential. The thing that I shared with the players this morning, that I would guarantee them that they will have a great effort and great preparation and tremendous focus from myself and our entire staff. They deserve that because theyve worked so hard in preparation for this season, and we will not let them down.

I feel truly fortunate to have a coach on my staff that will continue the level of success that weve enjoyed. Although weve spent just one season together, I couldnt be more convinced that Bret Bielema is the right man to replace me. Bret, above all, is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the game of football. Hes been around success his entire life. He has tremendous rapport with players and coaches. Hes a tireless worker and I feel as though hes a rising star in our profession.

One of the main reasons that Im making this announcement today is to keep the momentum in recruiting. Were off to a very good start and have a number of recruits committed. I think we have the luxury of, by having the luxury of maintaining continuity within our staff, it allows us to not lose a recruiting season, but to move right into a recruiting season and to have an outstanding one.

The only change that will be made during this football season will be the fact that Bret will head up the recruitment. He will be in charge of identifying all the recruits. Having Bret by my side this fall will ease the transition into the future for our players. And I mentioned that this morning. Change is hard. Anytime you have a change in coaching staff, its hard. But I think this will be a very easy transition for our players because they know the coaches, they know the head coach that will be with them.

And I think itll be a very easy transition, much like the one that I had the luxury of having with Pat when I assumed the AD duties. That year meant an awful lot to me, and at that time I thought it was very unique. I dont know how many times its happened in college football, but I thought it would be an excellent way to do the same thing when I was ready.

I can say to you with great confidence that Bret Bielema is the perfect person for me to hand off the head coaching duties to next January. Its been my personal pleasure to serve this outstanding institution as its football coach. Thank you.

STEVE MALCHOW: Thank you, Barry. Our next speaker today is UW-Madison chancellor, John Wiley.

JOHN WILEY: Thank you. I know you are looking forward to hearing a few words from Bret, so Ill be brief. I just wanted to reflect a bit, that two years ago we were sitting here, Pat Richter, Barry and I, announcing a transition and a plan for a transition that probably caught a few people by surprise and seemed a little unusual, but I think its worked phenomenally well. And what youre hearing today is another transition plan that I expect will work equally well.

Barry has done a fabulous job in the dual role as head football coach and athletic director, and hes brought to the job of athletic director the same meticulous, disciplined management style that he always used as football coach. Hes got a tremendous ability to judge people, make good selections. Hes very detailed and detail-oriented in everything he does. And I think thats just brought a phenomenal wealth of talent to the Athletic Department. I expect great things ahead for the entire department under Barrys leadership.

As I said, I think the transition in the football coach position will be similarly smooth. The ability to overlap for a good share of a year between the two incumbents is just invaluable. Bret shares many of the same traits that Barry has that made him such a great football coach. Hes dynamic. Hes personable. He has the confidence and the energy to lead, the character to inspire his students and make sure that they deliver all that they can both on the field and in the classroom. He had an immediate impact on our defense when he arrived here. And I think we can expect to see a continuation of a really strong football program.

Finally, Id like to join Barry in acknowledging Cindy. I think very few people realize what an impact jobs like these have on the family, on family life in general and all the members of the family, and particularly on the spouse. And Ive had the opportunity on numerous occasions to observe Cindy up close during periods of high stress, and I can tell you that no one could have handled it better. Shes just been phenomenal, a great asset to the institution, to the football program, and to the Athletic Department. Thank you, Cindy.

BARRY ALVAREZ: Thank you, Chancellor. Its my sincere pleasure to bring Bret Bielema, the Wisconsin head football coach beginning with the 2006 season and my current defensive coordinator, to the dais.

BRET BIELEMA: Thank you, Coach. Obviously its a big day for everybody involved in our program and everything that goes with that. First off, obviously Id like to thank Coach Alvarez for believing in me, trusting in me. Obviously Ive been with him for a year, but I realized very early on that he was someone that, who was going to be a joy to work with every day. And it has been, and I appreciate all the things that hes taught me.

To Chancellor Wiley and the University administration for their belief in me. I mean, obviously coming here for a year, no previous head coaching experience, but the trust and the belief and Coach Alvarezs recommendation and the confidence that theyve shown in me.

To all the Badger fans, from students to the people of Madison, to Mendota, to the great state of Wisconsin and the Badger fans across the country, its something that Ive enjoyed for a year and look forward to for many years to come.

Im very excited about this opportunity, obviously for a lot of different reasons. First and foremost, I first experienced Wisconsin from the wrong side. I came in as a visitor wearing the wrong color and its something that I obviously was able to see the transition when Coach Alvarez first came in. Ill have it be noted I never lost to him as a player, but as a coach I did. And maybe thats because I started coaching.

But obviously the rich football tradition with three Rose Bowl victories in a decade, all the bowl game tradition that exists, the new stadium renovation. Obviously a year ago, but when you guys see this for the first time this year its going to be another step up. The academic excellence, throughout the University with the general student population, within our student-athletes, 108 Academic All-Big Tens during Coach Alvarezs times. So many success stories outside of the world of football and those are things that are easily seen by people outside of the program.

I know there are many challenges ahead of me and a lot of people will draw assumptions to my abilities to handle it. And I do know this. I have experienced four different programs in two different conferences and Im going to draw from those experiences. Under Hayden Fry, obviously I played for him and then coached for him for a long time, I learned the psychology of the game. He was kind of a Zen master in his own right, was very knowledgeable in trying to get the most out of his student-athletes at any given time in any different area.

As I look back on it, I didnt realize at the time, but my experience with Kirk Ferentz at the University of Iowa, obviously he replaced a legend in Hayden Fry, and the transition that I experienced my first three years with him are going to be very beneficial in the transition that I now have to face.

Then going to Coach Snyder, who, like Coach Ferentz and like Coach Alvarez, was under Coach Frys first original staff at Iowa. Coach Snyder had maintained a level of dominance within a conference after he had built it up from nothing, and that was great to experience for two years, to show the consistency that needs to take place.

And then finally here with Coach Alvarez, from the first moment that I received a phone call about this job, I knew that I was going to take it if I had the opportunity to get it. Its something that I jumped at with everything I had for a variety of different reasons. Coach Alvarez was not at Iowa when I was there.

I had known him, you know, through being in the Big Ten Conference, recruiting against the University of Wisconsin, and developed a relationship with him, but had no idea the effect that he would have on me as a coach, the effect that the coaches on our current staff would have on me in allowing me to grow as a coach themselves and look forward to the days ahead.

There will be a bunch of questions today about my philosophies, staff, future opportunities and everything that goes with this job. And those questions will be answered in due time. What I do know is I have seen firsthand what it takes to win here at Wisconsin. Coach Alvarez has instilled several things. The things that jump out to me are obviously the hard work that our players, our coaches, our administration, our university are willing to do to make this place special.

I understand that people make a difference. It doesnt matter who you are, where you are, people make the world go round, and I dont ever intend on losing sight of that. To be able to be committed to the task at hand, no matter what it is.

I know, you know, I always chuckle because I came from a town of 1,800 people, but I had 2,500 pigs on my farm, so, and everybody else, you know, got to go to the mall on Saturday and I stayed home and did chores. I didnt understand it at the time, but I do now. I do understand that if youre going to commit yourself to something, to doing it right, its got to be 100 percent commitment.

As Coach Alvarez mentioned, the announcement here today, he first came to me a couple months ago. To avoid the question early on, this job wasnt promised to me when I took the job here. This ensures a smooth transition for the coming year. Our players, I think, were very receptive today. Ive seen several of them since. Its a transition year for recruiting.

My responsibilities, added responsibilities for recruiting will in no way take away my performance as a defensive coordinator. I know that Ill be a lot of time, Ill stay early, or come in early or stay late, whatever needs to be done to be able to take care of those things. Recruiting will focus on our primary areas. Obviously the State of Wisconsin is our number-one goal, our number-one priority, and that will continue as long as Im here at the University of Wisconsin.

We have a current pool, a current set of commitments that obviously we want to secure, but those things wont change. Today is a day to celebrate Coach Alvarez and to be a part of it in this way is very, very special to me, something Ill never forget, but this place is what it is today and the football program because of what Coach Alvarez has accomplished, the people that have been involved in it, and Im very excited about the future. Thank you.

STEVE MALCHOW: Thank you, Bret. At this time well go ahead and start the Q&A with the news media. If you could raise your hand, well get a microphone to you and then well recognize you for your question.

QUESTION #1: I was just wondering, with the transition this year, particularly with both you guys, you know, players are looking, a lot of young players saying heres my coach now, heres my coach in the future, what kind of challenges do you anticipate as far as coaching

ALVAREZ: I really dont anticipate any challenges. Thats the message that I sent to the players today. This season will not change. The players will not see any difference, anything different than what theyve been accustomed to. Brets taking charge of recruitment wont affect them. So I dont think that the players will see anything different or recognize anything different the way the program is being run.

QUESTION #2: What was it about Bret Was there a specific thing or element that convinced you that he would be the right person to be your successor

ALVAREZ: Well, not a specific thing, Mike. I think there were a number of things. I mentioned I thought, I really believe he has a very good rapport with players. The feedback I had from the players indicates that. I was impressed how a young guy, a young assistant coming into a new situation with a veteran staff, how well and how sensitive he was towards that staff and how well he communicated and got along with them.

You know, there are people that put in a lot of hours and there are people that work hard and get things done. I was very impressed with the fact that he was a tireless worker and his knowledge of the game. All those things combined, and it wasnt just one, but all those things.

And the thing that struck me when, it kind of took me to him as, kind of called him out from anyone else when I was looking at defensive coordinators, its very hard to move a graduate, if a player plays at a university and then goes on as a graduate assistant, its very difficult because hes coaching guys that he went to school with.

To make the next step and then to be a full-time assistant, and I know how difficult and how tough Hayden Fry is, to make that assistant, make him a graduate assistant, and then make him a full-time coach I think sent a strong message to me, and then the fact Kurt held him over. You know, Hayden knew him as a coach, or as a player, a coach, and then made him a full-time coach. I think that sent a strong message.

QUESTION #3: Did you see something in Bret that reminded you of a young Alvarez when he was coming . . .

ALVAREZ: I know one thing, he had a lot more hair than I did.

QUESTION #4: How do you balance being your successors boss and not seeing all of his toes get crunched

ALVAREZ: Well, you know what Ive tried to emulate my college coach. And I thought, I can look at a couple situations where coaches have stepped down and took director jobs, were too involved and there wasnt success afterwards. But I really watched closely as Bob Devaney took over the athletic directors job when he hired a young coach on his staff named Tom Osborne. And he stayed out of his way and was available for help when needed.

Bret knows that. Weve had that discussion. Hes got a year to sit down and ask questions and kind of stay close, to get a feel for things, so itll be an easy transition. But Im going to be a coach, Im going to be a director thatll be there to support him and help him in any way I can. And in this business you need somebody to bounce things off of. No one has all the answers. Ive used a number of coaches, and he has someone right down the hall if he chooses to go to it to get those answers.

QUESTION #5: Barry, I know you have another year to coach, but you mentioned a moment ago you thought Wisconsin when you took the job was a sleeping giant. Could you ever have imagined the three Rose Bowl victories, Big Ten Championships, literally doubling attendance at Camp Randall Stadium

ALVAREZ: Well, I think I maybe indicated that we could fill the stadium foolishly in my first press conference. You know, Brian, you have a vision, but you have such tunnel vision as a coach, you know, someone says did you ever think, how long did, did you ever think youd stay there that long or have the success. I never thought of that.

All I just worried about was that day and what we had to get done. I just, you know, we just grind it. I brought a group of young coaches in here and we grinded. I mean, we had so much to get done and so much work to do, and thats all we focused on. So I, you know, Im proud of what weve accomplished and all the people that had something to do with it.

QUESTION #6: This is for John Wiley. Can you just talk about the impact, we know what Coach Alvarez has done with the football program, but his impact on the University as a whole

WILEY: Well, hes had a tremendous impact. And I have to tell a story on myself. These guys have heard it before. When Barry first came, he saw that it would be valuable to integrate the Athletic Department more with the campus, and he told all of his assistant coaches they needed to go have lunch with a dean. He assigned everyone a dean. And one poor guy got me. I was dean of the Grad School.

And so when I got a call from a football coach saying I want to have lunch with you, I said why, why would you want to have lunch with me. Well, I want to tell you about my program. I said do I need to know about your program. Thats how isolated the academic side of the house and the Athletic Department was in those days.

We had lunch, by the way. It was a very nice lunch. The ground rule was we wouldnt talk athletics. Times have really changed. Now Barry comes to the deans meetings. Hes the functional equivalent of a dean. He runs a huge unit here, larger than many of our colleges. And I think both the Athletic Department and the deans and the rest of the campus have benefited greatly from better understanding and better coordination.

I think its also, there are very few programs of our size or in our league that have as their number-one priority exceeding the graduation rate as the campus as a whole. That says a lot for this department and this director.

QUESTION #7: Barry, beyond the immediate recruiting implications, could you just talk in broader terms of your entire career why you really believe the time is right right now

ALVAREZ: Well, as I said, I didnt, I really never had a time set. You know, so many questions were asked, how long can you do this, how long do you want to coach. I really didnt know. I just knew that the time would be right. The fact that I had someone on the staff that I felt comfortable with, and both jobs over a long period of time would be very difficult and it would take its toll. You know, putting all those things together, knowing how much a change after a season hurts a recruiting class, basically you lose a recruiting class, I just felt that it was the right time. You know, I cant put it any, I dont know how to explain it any more than that.

QUESTION #8: Barry, you mentioned earlier that youve always viewed this program as a sleeping giant when you first took it over. Obviously 15 years later, things have changed. Whats your perception of the program now and where do you think Bret, what do you think Bret will be able to do with it for however long he stays

ALVAREZ: Well, I think our program, I think weve proven that we can be very competitive in the Big Ten and been competitive in the national scene, have been rated at the end of the season I think at least three times in the top ten, got as high as four at the end of one season. You know, weve been a player in Division I and every year competitive, even the years where weve been right around .500, the games you lose, youre right there, you have a chance to win those games.

I think we have good young players in the program. You know, I would expect Bret to continue the program, you know, continue to be very competitive. I happen to know what the restrictions are here. I happen to know, you know, there are certain limitations here. You know, there are some schools that have an advantage.

But, you know, the thing, what we always try to do, we dont try to make excuses, we dont try to say, well, this school has more tradition or they have more players in their state. Those are all facts. We just have to find ways to win here. I think Bret certainly can maintain this and hopefully take it to another level.

QUESTION #9: Coach Bielema, people are going to say a really young guy, no head coaching experience. What do you say when you hear something like that

BIELEMA: Well, first of all, I dont think age has been a factor in any job that Ive received to this point. Its more based on the experiences that Ive been able to gather, the success Ive been able to have. Im very fortunate to be surrounded by the people Ive been surrounded by, obviously with the people that have guided the programs that Ive been involved with, all of them are uniquely different.

About a year ago someone asked me to give an adjective to describe all four coaches that Id worked for, and they all were uniquely different. So the people that are concerned about my age, focus more on the abilities that Ive been able to show to this point. I think thatll get us to where we need to be.

QUESTION #10: Coach Alvarez, George Johnson, Channel 3. Was there any moment in particular that just made you say, you know, this is what Ive got to do Was it looking at the wife Was it looking at the grandchildren Was it something that you just say, you know, this is it, I cant do this any more

ALVAREZ: Very well said, George. No, there wasnt any one particular thing, probably a combination of all of those things.

QUESTION #11: Barry, you talked about the two jobs taking a toll. How do they take a toll

ALVAREZ: Well, I think eventually they will take a toll. You know, its just, its 24/7. Its a multitude of things. I just, I have a sense that over a period of time, because of the demand on your time, itll take a toll on you physically. I think itll also take a toll maybe on not dotting the Is and crossing the Ts in both jobs, maybe letting a few things slip in one job or the other and I dont want that to happen.

QUESTION #12: That was your concern, that it might dull your edge a little bit with either one of the two jobs

ALVAREZ: Well, I didnt want it to happen. I thought we had a very good first year. I thought we were on top of it both in football and because of the excellent help we have and a deputy I have like Jamie, that we were on top of everything and the administrative side. But I certainly didnt want it to slip. And I just saw some potential for some things, and I dont want it to happen.

QUESTION #13: Bret, Barry had said that this has been in the works for some months. When he first approached you or you got your first inkling of the opportunity that was going to be presented to you, were you surprised at all or what was your reaction Was there any even hesitation in your mind that youre not ready for the job

BIELEMA: Absolutely no hesitation in my mind. It was kind of funny, I shared it with Coach when he first, finally gave the decision that he wanted to do it at this time. Every coach that Ive ever left, I still carry a note from Coach Fry that he gave me on the day when he was walking out the door, told me that Id be a great head coach, be prepared when I get there. Same thing happened when I left Kirk. Same thing when I left Coach Snyder.

So I said I was just glad to finally work for a guy that gave me the job. I just, I mean, I dont believe its anything that I knew a timetable when it would happen. Obviously you grow up and you set some ideas in your mind and some plans and, you know, write them down. But I felt that the right time would be in the right place and one of the great things I learned early on in coaching is you really dont try to look for your next job. You just try to make people take notice of the one you did and thats all Ive tried to do.

QUESTION #14: One other question real quick, Coach. Do you anticipate any distractions whatsoever, I mean, for the kids, I mean, just from us, just from some of the fans and things like that as the year progresses

ALVAREZ: One of the reasons we did it today, our players will have probably another week and a half before they report. I wanted to get this out of the way before they reported. I wanted to get it settled in their system and out of the media and everything else. So, and that was one of the, one of my points of emphasis to them at the meeting this morning.

You know, when you come back to camp, were going to be focused on football, the coaches will. Weve had a great week of meetings in preparation for this camp and for this season. And I expect them to come back focused, ready to play. This has really no bearing on this season. So thats why, one of the reasons we did this, so that we can eliminate distractions.

QUESTION #15: In weighing the two jobs you currently have, Barry, did you ever consider ever giving up the AD duties and just going back to football coaching

ALVAREZ: I didnt. You know what Ive always, in the back of my mind, thought this, you know, and I made it very clear to Pat when Pat and I talked in my first interview, that this, you know, I love my college football coach and always try to follow his path. I guess after a year and then a year with Pat, after he announced his retirement, I found that I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would enjoy the directors job. So once I got into it, I just felt that I would go in this direction.

QUESTION #16: Bret, we all know about the success in the last 15 years here. But Barry also spoke of some limitations in the program. Do you think this program has topped out or do you think you can grow it further

BIELEMA: Absolutely not. The thing that Im excited about Wisconsin is the stadium itself, the renovation. Obviously the support is here to do a lot of special things. Obviously Ill be answering to a boss that I like to answer to. So I think well continue to get great leadership there. And the world of college football is constantly evolving. Obviously when Coach came into the league and did what he did within the Big Ten Conference, now youve seen several other coaches come in and kick-start their programs.

And Ill just constantly go back to anything that Ive learned in the past. One of the greatest things that you can do is learn from past experiences, learn from your own mistakes as well as others, and thats why I think, I think college football today, yeah, there is a lot of different teams that rise up year to year, but Wisconsin has stayed on top for a long period of time and its doing the right things consistently that will be able to make this program continue. And Im not going to upset him, I hope to take it to a higher level as well.

QUESTION #17: Chancellor, the prestige that Coach Alvarez has brought to the football team, sold out Camp Randall Stadium game after game, energizing the Madison community, fundraising, attendance, etc., what has that meant to the University as its tried to attract students in general and tried to attract biotech and all other fields

WILEY: I honestly dont know how to answer that. And I have thought about it. And in some years we think we can see some difference in applications that may be attributable to the previous years athletic successes, but its always hard to know exactly what causes it. We get so many applications these days, over 22,000 for maybe 5,500 freshman slots, that getting more isnt our problem.

REPORTER: But just perception of the University

WILEY: Perception of the University, no doubt about it, the one thing that all of our alumni and fans all around the world have in common is they pay attention to our athletic successes, our athletic programs. Its a big galvanizing factor for alumni everywhere.

QUESTION #18: Barry, will you rely on your, confide in other coaches or athletic directors to work through the transition I know you talked about the transition with you and Pat, but this is fairly unique in the coaching circles. Will you rely on others to help this transition

ALVAREZ: Well, I visited with the Purdue people, because basically they did that with their basketball program. I happened to sit next to the new coach at our last Big Ten meetings and just in talking just asked how the transition was, how he felt it worked. He was very positive about it. I know that, if Im not mistaken, Jud Heathcoat did that with Tom Izzo, Bos Buddy.

And I know Izzo went out and recruited that year, didnt lose, really had a tremendous recruiting class, because Brtt will have the advantage in November and December to recruit as an assistant. He can see guys as an assistant. A head coach can only see them one time. So he can, we can gain a little advantage here in recruiting too. So those are two programs I looked at because I didnt know any others that had done it this way.

QUESTION #19: Bret, you mentioned you had an adjective for each of the coaches that youve learned under.

BIELEMA: I probably shouldnt have said that.

REPORTER: What was the adjective for Barry

BIELEMA: Fun. I think its kind of ironic. As college football coaches, we have a lot of pressures that develop, Big Ten championships, bowl games, wins and losses, graduation rates, recruiting. When we do our high school camps, we have an opportunity to work with some kids that are out there because theyre having fun, and it kind of always reminds you, bottom line, no matter what it gets down to, the first time we ever played the game.

We probably went out in the yard with our dad or our brother, whoever, and threw the ball around. There werent any stands. There werent any bowl games on the line. There wasnt national TV. So the one thing that, and I dont think Coach Snyder will mind me saying this, when I was at Kansas State you do your days work and then some and then some and then some, and thats what Kansas State needed.

And I think when I came here to Wisconsin I realized that we will do our work and we will come as early as we need to and stay as late as we need to, but just little things, the camaraderie that you get to join in with the staff, the open arms that Coach Alvarez and his family open you with, and really the people of the whole program, administration, Mendota, the Badger fans.

I mean, it is, you know, Coach had a quote earlier when he said some of the most rewarding times is when a fan just says job well done. That means the world to you as a coach because it all gets down to just trying to appreciate the game of football a little bit.

QUESTION #20: Coach, if I remember right, when the dual role was announced, you said it was important to you to be able to pick a successor to take care of the program. When you found Bret, in the back of your mind were you looking to see if he had any head-coaching capabilities

ALVAREZ: Well, I like to think that a lot of my assistant coaches have those capabilities or I wouldnt have hired them. But I really felt as I saw him work it was obvious to me that he certainly had all the qualities necessary to be outstanding as a head coach.

QUESTION #21: Barry, when did you decide, when did you absolutely know you were going to do this

ALVAREZ: Andy, I cant give you a specific time. I talked to Bret throughout this summer. I wanted to quiz him and feel comfortable with the decision, so we had discussions and talked about it quite a bit. I cant tell you exactly when the time was I said this is right, but I kept getting the right answers. You know, so I felt very comfortable when I finally, when I made the decision.

QUESTION #22: Bret, can this program win a National Championship

BIELEMA: Can this program win a National Championship I think anything is possible. The things that Im excited about right now is another year to work under Coach Alvarez. The thing that is so beneficial, yes, well be able to jump into another year of recruiting and keep a smooth transition, but to be able to learn the details of what this university, the things that he knows inside and out, the people of the community, the things that can make things happen, thats going to be the biggest benefit to me to try and have this thing be as successful as possible.

STEVE MALCHOW: I had, just before we wrap this up, two housecleaning items for the news media. There are packets of information, press releases in the back of the room. We also have a number of our current team members here, including Dontez Sanders, Jonathan Orr, Jason Palermo, Brandon Williams, Brett Bell, and John Stocco, and well help you have interviews with those fellas if youd like them. Thank you very much for attending today.

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