Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez Will Retire on June 30 After 32 Years with Badgers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2021

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is retiring effective June 30, ending a 32-year tenure at the school.

"It has been an honor to be a part of Wisconsin Athletics and I take great pride in all we have accomplished over the last three decades," Alvarez said in Tuesday's announcement. "From championships, to improvements on campus, to impacting thousands of student-athletes, it's been a great ride. I'm grateful for the support, generosity, enthusiasm and loyalty of Badgers in the state of Wisconsin and beyond. Thank you."

Alvarez took over as head coach of the Badgers football team in 1990. They went 1-10 in his first season but improved to 10-1-1 and beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl in 1993.

The 74-year-old compiled a 118-75-4 record in 18 years on the job, bringing a level of consistency to Wisconsin that had been absent in the program's history. The team was the Big Ten champion in 1993, 1998 and 1999.

Alvarez stepped down in 2005 to focus on his administrative duties as athletic director. Twice he came out of retirement to coach Wisconsin in bowl games to fill in for an outgoing coach (Bret Bielema in 2012 and Gary Andersen in 2014). As the AD, he helped ensure the Badgers maintained the on-field identity he established.

Wisconsin made note of the success it enjoyed outside of football with Alvarez in charge of athletics:

Video Play Button
Videos you might like
"In Alvarez's first 18 seasons as A.D., Wisconsin has finished among the top 30 in the NACDA Director's Cup 15 times, including 16th-place finishes in 2006-07, 2016-17 and 2018-19. Six different programs have won national titles during Alvarez's tenure, including four in the magical 2005-06 season. Fourteen different teams have been crowned as conference champions, including five in each of the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons."

Most notably, the men's basketball team made back-to-back Final Fours in 2014 and 2015, finishing runner-up to Duke in the latter trip.

According to USA Today, Wisconsin's athletic department generated $157.7 million in revenue for the 2018-19 school year, 11th-most in the country. Alvarez excelled by almost any metric and leaves massive shoes to fill.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reported deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh "has long been viewed as a potential successor." McIntosh played for Alvarez and was an All-American in 1999. He assumed his current role in 2017.

However, Rittenberg noted Wisconsin plans to execute a comprehensive search for a new AD.