Rose Bowl Hall of Famer and UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said he'll step in to lead the Badgers in the Rose Bowl game Jan. 1.
Alvarez confirmed during a news conference Thursday morning that he would coach the Badgers after former football coach Bret Bielema said Tuesday that he was leaving Wisconsin after seven seasons.
Alvarez said he made the decision to step in as interim coach after UW senior and Badger linebacker Mike Taylor asked him to on behalf of the team.
“I told him I would be honored to coach them,” Alvarez said. “I’m excited that the players asked me and want me to be a part of it.”
Alvarez will only coach this one game and continue in his position as athletic director, he said.
Alvarez retired from coaching after the 2005 season.
Alvarez also said the process to find Bielema's replacement is already under way. He did not identify any candidates but did say that Paul Chryst, a former offensive coordinator who joined the Pittsburgh Panthers last December, would not be coming back.
“I wouldn’t think it would be right for him to leave (Pittsburgh) after one year,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez handpicked Bielema to be his successor as head football coach, but he didn't find out until Tuesday morning that Bielema was leaving Wisconsin to coach at Arkansas.
"It totally caught my surprise and I was surprised that no one had contacted me for permission, and there is some protocol in that. But Bret has had some other offers and things he was interested in, so I don't feel betrayed. I am pleased and very proud of the job Bret did for me," Alvarez said.
Wisconsin will play Stanford in the 99th Rose Bowl game New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif.
Alvarez has a 3-0 all-time record in Rose Bowls. His last victory in Pasadena was against Stanford on Jan. 1, 2000.
He also said his wife, Cindy, will be glad to have him out of the house.