Bret Bielema is now the head coach at the University of Arkansas, so Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is in the market for a new head coach. The Badger legend is back on the sideline for the Rose Bowl, but it is only on an interim basis.
However, a permanent return by Barry Alvarez is exactly what the Badgers need. Here's a look at why the Wisconsin program would be better off if he decides to return to coaching full time.
Barry Alvarez has 118 wins—the most in Wisconsin history. He won three Rose Bowls, and is the only coach in Wisconsin history to do so. He compiled an 8-3 record in bowl games. He completely turned around the Wisconsin program, going from one win to 10 in three seasons.
Additionally, Alvarez won multiple conference and national coach of the year awards, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Clearly, Barry Alvarez has the credentials to return to the Wisconsin sideline. No other coach on the market can match his resume.
The Wisconsin Badgers football program has a unique culture. While many teams are transitioning to various types of spread offenses, the Badgers continue to rely on the tried and true methods of a power running game behind a massive offensive line.
Any potential new coach would have to embrace this offensive philosophy, as it is ingrained in the Wisconsin program. Actually, it is the only system many Badgers fans know, as Alvarez is the one who turned around the program through its success.
No one understands the culture of the Wisconsin program as well as Barry Alvarez, and he is obviously the best fit for the program.
First choice Paul Chryst is off the table, and with him goes the most obvious successor to Bret Bielema.
Alvarez must now shift through a group of college assistants and coaches, as well as various NFL coordinators. However, he is clearly the best candidate on the market.
The Wisconsin A.D. has already stated that the next coach should have head coaching experience, which eliminates most of the hot assistants and coordinators. Additionally, Alvarez has also kicked the tires on a couple of college head coaches, but each has turned him down.
No one else on the market can equal his resume, his knowledge of the program and of the culture at Wisconsin. No one else can equal his experience inside the Big Ten. Barry Alvarez needs to recognize that he is the best coach for the Wisconsin Badgers.
When pondering the practicality of a potential Alvarez return, one mustn't look farther than Manhattan, Kansas, where legendary coach Bill Snyder has already blazed the trail.
A National Coach of the Year and Big 12 champion during his first stint at Kansas State, Snyder has returned to the sideline to once again lead his team to the top of the Big 12 and to another BCS bowl.
At 73, Snyder is much older than Alvarez. If Snyder can get a program like Kansas State back on top, Alvarez will have no problem keeping Wisconsin at an elite level.
No other candidate combines Alvarez's stellar resume with his cultural fit in the Wisconsin program.
Unproven assistants are too risky, and no other current head coach can match his credentials.
Barry Alvarez is the best choice for the Wisconsin Badgers head coaching position.