A familiar face is returning to the sidelines for the Badgers.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez announced this morning he'll be coaching the school's football team in the Rose Bowl.
Alvarez said he was shocked upon learning of Bret Bielema's decision to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks. But once Bielema made it official, Alvarez's first concern was about the players.
"How to let the seniors walk out of here with a positive experience in the Rose Bowl," Alvarez said.
Linebacker Mike Taylor and Quarterback Curt Phillips reached out to Alvarez on Tuesday night, asking him to be their coach for the New Year's Day contest. It's an idea that didn't cross his mind at all.
"I would be honored to coach them, and I wanted them to understand, if I were going to coach, we weren't going to screw around," Alvarez said. "We were going to go out there to win."
In his sixteen seasons of coaching the Badgers before choosing Bielema to take over, Alvarez led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowl titles.
"There's no venue prettier in all of sports than the Rose Bowl," Alvarez said. "I feel it's a special place. I love the atmosphere. I love the week leading up to it. There isn't anything that I don't enjoy more."
The players say they are very excited to have Barry Alvarez, a Rose Bowl Hall-of-Famer coach in the sidelines in Pasadena.
"The group of guys we have is always close, we're all friends and like I said, it's the players team, it's our team," Taylor said. "We wouldn't want anyone else besides coach Alvarez to coach us in this game."
"For us, it couldn't be a better opportunity to have coach Alvarez step in here," Phillips said. "Somebody who has had success on this stage. and for him to lead us and come show us how this needs to be done."
The Badgers are making its third straight trip to the Rose Bowl and after losing the previous two, the team hopes Alvarez is the key to finally getting a win.
Alvarez made it very clear this is just a one-game return. He has no intentions of becoming the Badgers permanent coach.
"There have been a lot of people who have contacted me with interest in it. I always have a short list, you guys know that," Alvarez said.
"I have a short list of coaches and I've made contact with a couple of them I will proceed in the interview process after this weekend. It's going to be too crazy this weekend. But I'll start next week."
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