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.