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Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Barry Alvarez acknowledged for UW athletics contributions prior to retirement

Athletic Director and former head football coach Barry Alvarez is expected to retire after 32 years at UW-Madison, sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Alvarez started as the UW-Madison athletic director in 2004 and served as head coach of the football team for 16 seasons. Alvarez left his coaching role after the 2005 season as the winningest coach in Wisconsin history. 

“They better get season tickets right now, because before long they probably won't be able to,” said Alvarez when he first became the football head coach. 

Before Alvarez came to Wisconsin in 1990, the Badgers made three appearances in the Rose Bowl and had never won. In just his third season as head coach, Alvarez led the Badgers to their first Rose Bowl victory, defeating UCLA 21-16.

The Badgers appeared twice more in the Rose Bowl during Alvarez’s tenure, defeating UCLA again in 1998 and Stanford in 1999.

“I don't know if I'd do anything over,” Alvarez said at the end of his final season as UW-Madison football coach. "I'm sure I've made mistakes, but nothing that we haven't been able to overcome.”

Although having shifted to the athletic director position in 2004, Alvarez continued to value the role he served as football coach.

"I will put my emphasis on football, I cannot let football slide," Alvarez said in the spring before taking on the athletic director position. 

He held both the coaching and athletic director jobs for about a year and a half before leaving the football team after its 2005 season to focus on his role as athletic director.

“I still am very at peace with my decision and feel good about it,” Alvarez said of leaving the football program to focus on his athletic director role.

Alvarez did much more for the Badgers during his coaching tenure than lead them to three Rose Bowl Victories and three Big Ten titles. 

"No one believed that Wisconsin's program could be restored to great prominence, Barry did it with class and energy and skill," said former Chancellor of UW-Madison Donna Shalala.

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With Alvarez heading the athletic department, Wisconsin has won 16 team national titles and 73 conference or tournament titles. In 2017-18, Alvarez was honored as the Under Armour Athletic Director of the year. 

Alvarez left a legacy in the Badgers’ football program that followed him into his career as athletic director, returning to the Rose Bowl three times. 

Alvarez and his wife, Cindy, gifted UW-Madison with a quarter-million football scholarship in 2000 to show appreciation for the university.

“I thought it was a small way for me to say thanks to the UW-Madison,” Alvarez said. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the news of Alvarez’s expected retirement Saturday, reporting that multiple sources confirmed that Alvarez will likely announce his retirement in the next few weeks. 

Alvarez was previously expected to stay with UW-Madison until Jan. 1 2022, when he would receive a lump-sum payment of $375,000. However, his plans have changed, and he will retire sooner than expected, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

"He was very comfortable with the decision," a source told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Alvarez wants the UW’s deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh to replace him as athletic director, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. 

McIntosh played football for Alvarez and was an All-American offensive tackle in 1999. McIntosh played in both Badgers Rose Bowl victories circa 1998 and 1999. And, he was one of ten first-round NFL draft picks that came out of Alvarez’s program, going on to play for the Seattle Seahawks.

McIntosh has been the deputy athletic director since 2017 and worked for the athletic department since 2014. 

Chancellor Rebecca Blank will ultimately select the next athletic director, though Alvarez hopes to see McIntosh replace him, reported the Wisconsin State Journal. 

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