Bret Bielema to Arkansas: The Search for a Replacement is On

A couple of possible candidates have been eliminated, making Wisconsin's coaching search more of a waiting game. Updates on every development in the search for a new Badgers football coach.

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87 Total Updates since December 4, 2012
  • Important 64
  • Updates 24
  • Articles 63
  • All Updates 87

Badger Breakdown: Gary Andersen

In part 13 of our series, recent events have dictated a look at a hire that I will hop around and shout 'Yes!' about a whole bunch of times if it comes true.

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Report: UW Interviews Gary Andersen [UPDATED]

Two reports have surfaced indicating that Wisconsin's top choice to replace Bret Bielema may be Utah State head coach Gary Andersen.

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Report: Matt Campbell Back In Badgers' Coach Hunt

Has a name dropped in the flurry of rumors last week suddenly become serious?

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Badger Breakdown: Chris Ash

In part 11 of our series, we're looking at the possibility of a quick return...

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Report: Bob Diaco Hasn't Heard from Wisconsin

Notre Dame's defensive coordinator has been linked to the Badgers' head coaching job, though he reportedly has yet to be contacted.

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Barry Talks: "We'll Take Care of Business Here"

Wisconsin's Director of Athletics and interim head coach met with the media on Sunday afternoon. His message regarding this protracted coaching search? Don't panic.

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Report: Mel Tucker Interviewed at Wisconsin Friday

A name we all like is back in the news...

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Buh Heading to Cal, Not Arkansas

Wisconsin does indeed lose its linebackers coach, but not to Bret Bielema's staff.

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Could Barry's Choice Be... Barry?

Could the best replacement for Bret Bielema already be employed by the University of Wisconsin? Andy Baggot says it's a possibility.

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Report: Andy Buh Joining Bret Bielema at Arkansas

Buh becomes the fifth assistant to depart Wisconsin since Bret Bielema announced he was leaving for Arkansas.

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Charlie Partridge Leaving for Arkansas

Wisconsin loses its associate head coach and top recruiter to Bret Bielema's staff in Fayetteville.

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Official: Matt Canada Leaving for N.C. State

After just one season calling plays for Wisconsin, offensive coordinator Matt Canada has taken the same job at N.C. State.

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Report: WRs coach Azzanni Leaving for Tennessee

Azzanni made a strong impression in his one year in Madison, but appears to be headed for Butch Jones' staff in Knoxville.

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Matt Canada to North Carolina State?

We have a place, we have reports, are we about to have a confused goodbye?

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UPDATED: Mike Riley [Will Not] Interview at UW

A very interesting name has just emerged...

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Matt Canada Out at Wisconsin? [UPDATED]

The University of Wisconsin has posted a job opening. Will there be a new offensive coordinator in our midst? [Spoiler Alert? No. Not Yet Anyway]

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Chris Ash Gets $550,000 Salary at Arkansas

The details are out on Ash's defensive coordinator contract at Arkansas, and they confirm Wisconsin probably couldn't have kept him.

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Badger Breakdown: Jay Norvell

In part 10 of the series, we break down an Oklahoma offensive coordinator and gasp at how well that position has fed into the head coaching world.

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Al Golden [NOT] Favorite For UW Job [UPDATED]

Could there be a decision made today?

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Report: Dave Clawson In Mix for Badgers Job

The Bowling Green coach surfaces as a candidate for the open job in Madison.

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Chris Ash Named Arkansas Defensive Coordinator

And the first assistant domino falls...

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Report: Al Golden Not Interested in Wisconsin Job

Miami head coach Al Golden has been linked to the Wisconsin job pretty much since Bret Bielema left for Arkansas. Given the somewhat slow (perhaps rightfully so) nature of the subsequent coaching search led by Director of Athletics (and interim head coach) Barry Alvarez, the pool of possible candidates has done nothing but gradually diminish.

First, it was Willie Taggart taking the job at South Florida. Now, it appears Golden will remain at Miami.

Granted, Schad's report seems to be the singular one at this point. It does, however jive with what we've heard so far:

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Counterpoint: Time is on Our Side

As we turn into week two of the coaching search, it's time to remember that patience is necessary, and history doesn't show that speed is a necessary element for the process to work.

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Wisconsin Coaching Search: How Slow is Too Slow?

Barry Alvarez now wears two hats as the Badgers prep for the Rose Bowl. But how soon does he need to find Wisconsin's next head coach?

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Badger Breakdown: Paul Rhoads

In part nine of the series, we take a look at the Iowa State head coach, and wonder just how it got real quiet toward him on the rumor front.

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Badger Breakdown: Al Golden

In part eight of the series, we break down the Miami Head Coach and theorize why, if Paul Chryst wasn't in the hunt, Al Golden won't be either.

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Bielema to retain Horton, Thomas Hammock to stay?

With the retention of Arkansas running backs coach, it looks as if the Badgers will keep their recruiting coordinator.

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Willie Taggart Named South Florida Coach

Well, the first one is gone.

After a remarkable flurry of rumors and updates regarding Wisconsin's head coaching search earlier in the week, the tide has slowed a bit in the aftermath of Barry Alvarez announcing he'd coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl and subsequently ruling out Pitt head coach Paul Chryst as an option at UW.

But now Wisconsin has one less target in its pool of coaching candidates, as SB Nation's Steven Godfrey reported earlier Friday that former Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart will be the next coach at South Florida. Taggart, a Florida native, reportedly interviewed with Wisconsin earlier in the week. But all along, USF was said to be acting quickly and Taggart was indeed interested in the job. He'll take over a Bulls team that struggled through two straight losing seasons in three years under Skip Holtz.

For Wisconsin, the search is now trimmed to a group of candidates who have seen their names frequently tossed around this week. Boise State head coach Chris Petersen will reportedly interview with Wisconsin this week, as interim head coach and Director of Athletics said he would hold off initial interviews (despite that reprot Taggart had already interviwed) until after this weekend, when Wisconsin had several key recruits coming in. Other names that have been identified as possible candidates are Miami head coach Al Golden, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.

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Chris Petersen in Madison to Interview Monday?

The dream hire's back in the news. And it may not be just "because open job."

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Brad Childress in the Mix?

The former Badger offensive coordinator wants to come home, and rumor has it? People in Madison are willing to listen.

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A Chat with One Foot Down

In this edition of Q&A, we go in-depth with Notre Dame blog One Foot Down regarding Bob Diaco.

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Badger Breakdown: Bob Diaco

In part five of the series, we refocus our eyes to whom seems to be the new favorite among the Badger faithful.

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UW Players React to Alvarez Coaching Rose Bowl

Mike Taylor and Curt Phillips (pictured) prodded Barry Alvarez to coach the Rose Bowl. After Thursday's rousing press conference, their wish was granted.

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Chris Ash to Leave Wisconsin?

While initial reports indicated Charlie Partridge would be the one to join Bret Bielema, the rumors have switched to his tag-team partner -- and Arkansas isn't the only possible destination.

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Barry Alvarez Presser: UW Won't "Screw Around"

Wisconsin's Director of Athletics will officially coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl.

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Paul Chryst to Stay at Pitt [UPDATED]

The one everyone wants isn't going to be heading home next season.

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Farewell Bret Bielema: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

From our fanbase to yours, we present: The Bret Bielema Experience.

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Badger Breakdown: Chris Petersen

It's time to dream a little dream. Part four of the coaching search has a name that seems to have crashed the gate.

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What Can Wisconsin Afford in a New Head Coach?

Bret Bielema indicated that money -- namely how much the school spent on assistants -- may have been a big reason why he left Wisconsin. If the athletic department really is cash-strapped, how much will it be willing to spend on a new head coach?

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Barry Alvarez to Coach Rose Bowl

Barry Alvarez will coach the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, according to Tom Mulhern at the Wisconsin State Journal. A source close to Alvarez told the Journal that team captains reached out to the athletic director and asked him if he would lead the team to Pasdena. Alvarez reportedly said that would he be "honored."

Alvarez, as all of you are probably aware, was the head coach of Wisconsin football from 1990 to 2005 before taking over as AD. He went 3-0 at the Rose Bowl, defeating UCLA in 1994 and 1999, and Stanford in 2000. He compiled a 118-73-4 record as a head coach, and a 8-3 record in bowl games.

A report earlier in the day indicated that Alvarez would make a formal announcement at a press conference Thursday. He may have to address the media earlier than expected now that the news is out in the open.

How does everyone feel about this? Will Alvarez be able to conduct an effective coaching search and handle team responsibilities at the same time? Is this an indication that he already has a new head coach in mind?

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Bielema Arkansas Press Conference: Woo Pig Sooie!

Bret Bielema just wrapped his introductory press conference, and this image was the principal highlight. The only highlight, really. Nothing else really mattered.

Jokes aside, it was obviously pretty interesting to see how this thing transpired. The simple things that happen during all coaching changes -- referencing the departed team as "they" and the one as "we," for instance -- were striking, but Bielema also didn't seem much different. His opening statement was a bit of a ramble, though he did look fairly nervous at first. Bielema's always been a story guy, quick to drop his anecdotes. Thus, it was only fitting when he quickly launched into his growing up on a pig farm.

Bielema said the chance to coach in the SEC was an "opportunity to chase a dream," though he did credit UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez for giving him his first opportunity as a head coach. Bielema also said he was sure he was taking the Arkansas job once he met with Alvarez. The two Wisconsin figureheads had a well-known mentor-pupil relationship, and that was considered one of the more intriguing elements to Bielema's departure.

Other significant notes from the presser:

  • Though Bielema has yet to put together a staff, he did say he has a shortlist of about six candidates for his offensive coordinator. Bielema also did not say if he would be taking any current Wisconsin assistant coaches with him. He will meet with his UW staff at 9 a.m. tomorrow, and seemingly take things from there.
  • Bielema did appear to take a jab at Wisconsin for not spending enough money to retain his assistants. After the 2012 Rose Bowl, Wisconsin lost six assistant coaches to other positions. "Wisconsin isn't wired to (pay assistants a lot) at this point," Bielema said."
  • Regarding Alvarez, UW Athletic Communications issued a press release announcing a press conference with Barry Alvarez tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. CT. There, it's presumed Alvarez will announce his intentions to coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. Interesting timing on the press release, for sure. Bielema also confirmed he won't be coaching in the Rose Bowl after a reporter asked.
  • Bielema on leaving Wisconsin: "First and foremost, I left a great place. I left a place that let me be a coach."
  • One interesting thing was how Arkansas and Bielema seemed to put his wife, Jen, front and center during the press conference. Jen was given flowers and welcomed to the podium by Long before Bielema, though she did not say any words. She did take part in 'Woo Pig Sooie,' though. That's only interesting because when Bielema was in Wisconsin, she was barely visible at all. Bielema teared up a bit when referencing Jen as a major motivator in his life and their wedding as a major moment in his life, before cracking, "You shouldn't cry when you're talking about your wedding."
  • Referencing some of his previous negative comments about the SEC, Bielema said, ""The comments I made about the SEC a year ago, understand, I was the head coach at the University of Wisconsin."
  • On his message to fans regarding this coaching change: ""Embrace it. We're not going to go from A to Z overnight."
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GIF: Bret Bielema Does 'Woo Pig Sooie'

My goodness, that was weird.

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Badger Breakdown: Darrell Bevell

The quarterback behind the rise of Badger Ball becomes the ultimate Wisconsin man? Could happen.

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Bielema Arkansas Press Conference: Open Thread

In less than 10 minutes, it'll be official. Officially, official!

Bret Bielema is going to Arkansas, and by now we've had just about 24 hours or so to mull the whole thing over. Barry Alvarez sure seems intent on coaching the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, though we won't know that for sure until tomorrow, probably.

But before that even, Arkansas will introduce Bielema as its new head coach in a 4 p.m. CT press conference in Fayetteville. We'll be tweeting updates throughout on @B5Q and keep this thread open for a while to discuss whatever transpires in this presser. Sad to say, I think "1-0" -- at least Bielema's version -- will be retired.

You can watch the press conference live on Arkansas' website.

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Paul Chryst Buyout: We Don't Know, Neither Do You

Are you the athletic director or president of the University of Pittsburgh? Then you probably don't know what Paul Chryst's buyout is.

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Bielema Now Among Top 10 Highest Paid Coaches

The terms of Bret Bielema's contract with Arkansas have been released, and while the numbers mark only a slight raise from what he made at Wisconsin, they are still enough to make him one of college football's top 10 highest paid coaches.

As Adam Mertz of the Wisconsin State Journal points out in referencing a story on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's website, Bielema's $3.2 million contract that runs through 2018 makes him the 10th-highest paid coach. Salary information comes from USA Today's salaries database, which shows TCU's Gary Patterson just ahead of him with a $3.46 million contract.

If dissatisfaction over how he was treated at Wisconsin was indeed a significant motive for his departure, perhaps Bielema saw this top-10 status as a primary motivator.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article also has the more particular details of Bielema's contract:

  • Bielema can make up to $700,000 annually in incentives.
  • Those incentives include $350,000 for winning a national championship, $300,000 for finishing as the national runner-up, $200,000 for making the college football semifinals that begin in 2014, $100,000 for winning the SEC championship and up to $200,000 in academic-based achievements for his players. Bielema also earns incentives for BCS, Cotton and Capital One bowl appearances and individual awards.
  • His initial buyout, which will decrease by $500,000 each year, is $3 million. Bielema cannot leave Arkansas for another SEC program.
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Bielema Reportedly Gets Very Small Raise [UPDATED]

UPDATE, Wednesday 10:33 am: Confirmation has come on Bielema's deal with Arkansas, and it's actually a six-year deal worth $3.2 million annually. From Robbie Neiswanger of the Arkansas News Bureau/Stephens Media:

Annually, that seems to be about a $600,000 annual raise from what Bielema was making at Wisconsin. Small, indeed. Neiswanger also adds that performance incentives in the deal could allow Bielema to earn as much as $700,000 annually.

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Dave Heller of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel passed along this bit of information, which we should get confirmation on shortly. Reportedly, Bret Bielema will make up to $3.2 million per year over the life of his new contract with Arkansas.

If this is true, it's not a massive raise for Bielema, and it doesn't represent a number that Barry Alvarez and UW were unable to unmatch. His base compensation for this season is $2.5 million, and it's hard to believe that Wisconsin wasn't willing to match this offer from Arkansas.

As the day goes on, this looks more and more like a case of Bielema wanting to test himself in the SEC above all else, but I suspect that we'll know more about his salary and his intentions shortly.

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Report: Charlie Partridge Joining Bielema [UPDATE]

Co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge has been mentioned as a candidate to join Bielema at Arkansas.

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Report: Chryst is Alvarez' Top Choice [UPDATED]

UPDATE, 10:14 am: Well, this is interesting. Just a few moments ago, Potrykus tweeted again that Chryst will indeed be Wisconsin's No. 1 choice. But there's one more name that should be thrown into the mix:

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Paul Chryst's name surfaced in connection to the Wisconsin job before Bret Bielema was even officially out the door. Now, it appears the speculation won't end until Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez makes his hire.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported late Tuesday night that not only is Chryst Alvarez' top choice, the current Pitt head coach "still misses Wisconsin." Chryst, 47, is a Madison native and was raised in the state, fitting the "Wisconsin guy" image many have pegged for the positoin.

"Paul still misses Wisconsin," a source close to the UW program said, adding that the Madison native was the No. 1 choice of athletic director Barry Alvarez.

Chryst's mother still lives in Wisconsin and his middle child, daughter JoJo, is a senior at Madison Edgewood High School. The family still maintains a cottage north of Madison.

"He still misses home," the source said.

Chryst, who led Pitt to a 6-6 record in his first year as head coach, as the Panthers set to play Mississippi in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 5 in Birmingham, Ala. Tuesday night, he issued a statement affirming his commitment to Pitt.

"I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today's developments. I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh. I am focusing all my time and energy on our team's bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football."

The semantics game will continue until Wisconsin hires its coach, and our friends at Cardiac Hill, SB Nation's Pitt blog, believe it won't pass before then, either. They pass along the news that Chryst's buyout at Pitt is reportedly $6 million. Considering Big Ten schools reportedly earned $24 million from the conference's television deals, Wisconsin likely could afford that buyout.

Chryst and his coaches were reportedly working the phones last night in an effort to keep recruits on board, but as Cardiac Hill says, the process is still not over.

Paul Chryst is a better person than Todd Graham. That's obvious and undeniable. But there's nothing to prevent him from going to UW and claiming that he never had any intentions of leaving. Nothing out there that could be called a lie if he bolts.

This will not end until Wisconsin hires someone. Alvarez is a smart guy who hopefully had a contingency plan in place. Hopefully we know soon. For our collective sanity.

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How the Big Ten Handles Coaching Changes

What can the Badgers expect from a coaching change in 2013 and beyond? History shines a light on the question:

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Did Alvarez Drop the Ball?

Barry Alvarez reportedly knew more than two weeks ago that Bret Bielema was leaving Wisconsin. If he doesn't have someone already lined up for the job, he's made a mistake.

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Bret Bielema Had 1 Million-Dollar Buyout

How easy was it for Arkansas to pry Bret Bielema? Easier than you think...

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Badger Breakdown: Paul Chryst

In the wake of the Bret Bielema news, I go through the Badgers potential replacements. Part one is the first name that came to everybody's mind.

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Paul Chryst Issues Statement on Commitment to Pitt

Wisconsin's former offensive coordinator seems out of the running to replace Bret Bielema... for now.

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Players React After Team Meeting With Bielema

The Wisconsin football team met for a team meeting with departing head coach Bret Bielema at 6:00 p.m. CT. At 6:13, offensive coordinator Matt Canada was spotted leaving the facility, and players soon followed according to the Badger Herald. They seemed to be largely understanding of their head coach's decision to become the new head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Via the Herald:

"I'm not (disappointed) there's no reason to be," senior tailback Montee Ball said as he was leaving the meeting. "As men, we're all proud of him. He has goals in this life that he wants to accomplish."

When asked why Bielema said he was leaving, Ball simply replied, "He wants to go win a championship."

Junior center Travis Frederick echoed Ball, saying that Bielema believed that the Arkansas job was the best opportunity him.

"I think that everybody faces choices in life and you need to do what's best for you in those choices," Frederick said. "I think he's done tremendous things for the program and he's left us in a good spot."

Frederick confirmed that the team is still waiting word on who would coach the Rose Bowl. Joel Stave also said he didn't know who would lead the team against Stanford. He was much more curt than Frederick when asked about the future of the program.

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Update: Bielema Will Not Coach UW at Rose Bowl

Most of you agreed that Bret Bielema coaching the team for the Rose Bowl would be a bad idea. Fact is, I'm among the 85 percent of people who agree in our poll regarding this question. An emotional response? Maybe.

But there's a report from the Sports Desk of The Badger Herald that seems to show that we're going to get our wish regarding Bielema and the Rose Bowl.

We're not sure who's going to lead the team into the Rose Bowl. We're just certain who isn't. But there may be something to the reports that Barry Alvarez is willing to take the team and lead it through the Rose Bowl as a figurehead.

At the very least, it seems as if this break from Bielema's going to be a clean one.

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Why Did Bret Bielema Leave, And What Now?

Why did Bret Bielema make what appears to be a lateral move to Arkansas on Tuesday? And where does Wisconsin go from here?

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Does Wisconsin Need a 'Wisconsin Man'?

Bret Bielema probably didn't arrive at Wisconsin viewing it as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but that is eventually what it became to him. It's also what it became to a number of his assistants, who left for better jobs during his tenure.

Over at the ESPN Big Ten blog, Adam Rittenburg wrote an interesting post on how Wisconsin needs to approach its coaching search. In his opinion, the Badgers need to make sure they get someone who sees UW as his long-term home, not a bridge to the promised land of the SEC.

Wisconsin needs to decide what it wants to be. It'll soon have an upgraded athletic facility. Will there be additional resources to attract top assistants? Bielema lost six, including Chryst, after the 2011 season. So there had better be. The challenges in recruiting always will be there, but Wisconsin has found ways to overcome them with player development.

This is a very good program that shouldn't be viewed as a stepping stone, especially to a place like Arkansas.

Alvarez needs to hire someone who sees Wisconsin as a potential destination job.

Dave Doeren, who just signed on to take the NC State job, probably does not fall under that umbrella. The two very relevant guys (who we'll be writing about this week) that Rittenburg brought up are former Wisconsin offensive coordinator and current Pitt head coach Paul Chryst and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the latter of whom is a Wisconsin graduate and a former assistant for the Green Bay Packers.

A top coordinator or mid-major coach with no ties to Wisconsin might see Wisconsin as a bridge to a massive job in the SEC, or with a nationally recognized power like Notre Dame, USC or Texas. Chryst probably wouldn't see the UW job in that way, and UW alum Bevell certainly wouldn't.

It's a compelling point, but I'm not sure I agree that hiring a 'Wisconsin Man' is a necessity. If the reports of Darrell Hazell's move to Purdue were premature, or Kirby Smart is interested in taking the Wisconsin job, I'd like to have them.

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Barry Alvarez Statement on Bielema's Departure

UPDATE, 6:31 pm: And here comes Arkansas' official release.

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Wisconsin has finally released its first official comments regarding the departure of head coach Bret Bielema for Arkansas. The statement, in its entirety, is below.

MADISON, Wis. -- University of Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez issued the following statement Tuesday on the departure of Bret Bielema, who has been named head football coach at the University of Arkansas:

"I was very surprised when Bret told me he was taking the offer from Arkansas. He did a great job for us during his seven years as head coach, both on the field and off. I want to thank him for his work and wish him the best at Arkansas.

"I have a responsibility to our student-athletes, our football family and our fans, one that I take very seriously. It is my responsibility to ensure that the football program continues at a high level, and I have already started the process of trying to find a new head coach.

"Along with finding a new coach, my other main objective is to make sure that our student-athletes, specifically our seniors playing in their final game as Badgers, have a tremendous experience in the Rose Bowl. We will do everything within our power to make that happen."

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From The Other Side: Did Arkansas See This Coming?

Arkansas Expats likes the hire of Bret Bielema, surprising as it was.

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Bret Bielema Felt Heat After 5 Losses

Bret Bielema reportedly felt pressure after suffering five losses as the head of the Wisconsin Badgers during the 2012 season, ESPN 760 AM reports. Bielema accepted the vacant head coaching position for the Arkansas Razorbacks on Tuesday.

Jack Daniels is the head coach of Dwyer High School in Palm Beach County, Fla., a school that has been a pipeline for Wisconsin football players during Bielema's tenure. Daniels said he spoke to Bielema on Monday, and found out then that the coach was mulling over a change.

"I talked to him yesterday. He sounded down," said Daniels. "He said he had offers in front of him and had some decision to make."

"He had always said he wanted to retire at Wisconsin, but he took a lot of heat this year (5 losses). I don't think Bret has that kind of skin."

It is unclear from Daniels' quote if he is referring to pressure from the Wisconsin fanbase, or Barry Alvarez and the athletic department. The Badgers were tabbed as favorites to win the conference title by many before the season began. While the team did ultimately make it to a third straight Rose Bowl, they finished third in their division to Penn State and Ohio State, two teams that were ineligible for the postseason.

If Bielema really did feel heat, it could explain why he made what is viewed as a more-or-less lateral move. It is still unclear whether or not Bielema will be coaching the Badgers when they take on the Stanford Cardinal in Pasadena on Jan. 1.

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UPDATED: Hazell, Addazio Find New Jobs

UPDATE, 5:34 pm: GoldandBlack.com, Rivals' Purdue site, sent out this crypitc tweet just a few minutes ago. File that into the FWIW category, I guess.

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The Wisconsin Badgers job is likely the best available job in college football at the moment, but top coaching candidates are getting snapped up quickly. The timing of Arkansas' hiring of Bret Bielema wasn't great for Wisconsin, considering how quickly the coaching carousel is moving.

Former UW coordinator Dave Doeren departed Northern Illinois for NC State before Bielema left, and Gus Malzahn predictably returned to Auburn after Gene Chizik was fired. There are plenty of decent guys out there (and we'll be writing about a lot of them), but a couple of other top mid-major guys got snapped up by big programs today.

Division rivals Purdue named Kent State coach Darrell Hazell as their head coach today, which is a great pickup for them. He's done a brilliant job with the Golden Flashes and should improve the Boilermakers very quickly. Temple head coach Steve Addazio has a new job as well: He's headed to Boston College.

As some of the big rising names in college coaching get snapped up, the pool of candidates for Wisconsin to pick from gets thinner and thinner. Who do you want to see UW hire?

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Barry Alvarez Considering Rose Bowl Return

The Big Ten Network's Rick Pizzo tweets of a possibility for Alvarez to return.

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Report: Bielema Knew "At Least 2 Weeks Ago"

Rick Pizzo of BTN reports that Bret Bielema knew at least two weeks ago that he was leaving Wisconsin. The news obviously just broke on Tuesday afternoon after a seemingly insignificant amount of rumors over the past week or so.

That would seemingly suggest Bielema might've been in play for the jobs at Auburn and Tennessee, though there could obviously be other possibilities.

Bielema reportedly held a team meeting on Sunday to address the rumors, though it's unclear whether he told the team outright that he would be leaving. Either way, Pizzo's source says Bielema was "uncharacteristically emotional" during the meeting.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez reportedly knew Bielema would be leaving prior to the end of the regular season.

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Bret Bielema to Arkansas: The Twitterverse Reacts

Bret Bielema is leaving Wisconsin to be the head coach at Arkansas. Naturally, Twitter reacts.

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Early UW Reaction to Bielema's Departure

A whole bunch of reaction coming from around the web...

Left guard Ryan Groy:

Aaron Henry, former safety and first-year member of the Oakland Raiders:

Nate Tice, former Wisconsin backup quarterback, son of Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice and current graduate assistant at Pitt:

Patrick Butrym, former Wisconsin defensive tackle and current San Francisco 49er:

Freshman running back Vonte Jackson:

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ray Ball (also a native of Westerville, Ohio, just outside of Columbus):

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Poll: Should Bielema coach in the Rose Bowl?

Bret Bielema reportedly wants to coach Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl before jetting to Arkansas. Do you support this?

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Bret Bielema to Arkansas

A shocker in the college football world, as the three-time Big Ten Conference Championship winning head coach leaves for SEC Country.

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