Some of the people closest to Bret Bielema had absolutely no idea before the news broke on Tuesday afternoon that the University of Wisconsin football coach was leaving for Arkansas.

The news stunned not only Badgers fans but several people in Bielema’s inner circle.

Bielema, 42, had a 68-24 record in seven years as head coach at UW and led the team to a school-record third consecutive Big Ten Conference championship this season, with a third straight appearance in the Rose Bowl coming Jan. 1 against Stanford.

Want to hear what others say about Bret Bielema leaving for Arkansas? Check out our live blog.

One person close to Bielema used the word “blindsided” to describe the reaction of people inside the UW athletic department to the coach’s departure.

That source, and three other sources within the athletic department or affiliated with the football program cited in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity because at the time the schools had not yet officially announced Bielema’s move.

Count UW athletic director Barry Alvarez — who handpicked Bielema as his successor on the sidelines, starting in the 2006 season — among those caught off guard.

“I was very surprised when Bret told me he was taking the offer from Arkansas,” Alvarez said in a statement. “He did a great job for us during his seven years as head coach, both on the field and off. I want to thank him for his work and wish him the best at Arkansas.”

Bielema met with Badgers players and staff at the football offices on Tuesday evening to explain his decision.

“I’m surprised,” said Travis Frederick, a co-captain and the starting center, “but it’s a great opportunity for him and I think he’s going to do a great job there.”

How do you rate Bret Bielema's tenure with the Badgers?

Alvarez has 'short list' of candidates

Bielema will not coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, standout running back Montee Ball confirmed. One UW source said defensive coordinator Chris Ash would likely coach the team against Stanford, provided Ash did not leave for North Carolina State. Former UW defensive coordinator Dave Doeren was recently named the head coach of the Wolfpack and is one of Ash’s closest friends.

Bielema is not expected to take any current assistants with him, because he does not want to further disrupt the program, according to a source. Another source said Bielema might take one person off the current staff.

Alvarez left for an awards banquet in New York City on Monday with a short list of coaching candidates to succeed Bielema, a source said. Alvarez did not immediately return a message left with him seeking comment, but addressed the subject in his statement.

“I have a responsibility to our student-athletes, our football family and our fans, one that I take very seriously,” he said. “It is my responsibility to ensure that the football program continues at a high level, and I have already started the process of trying to find a new head coach.

“Along with finding a new coach, my other main objective is to make sure that our student-athletes, specifically our seniors playing in their final game as Badgers, have a tremendous experience in the Rose Bowl. We will do everything within our power to make that happen.”

Most of the immediate speculation centers around former UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who is finishing up his first season as the head coach at Pittsburgh.

However, Chryst said in a statement released Tuesday evening he is “committed” to Pitt, which he guided to a 6-6 record and a berth in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., against Mississippi on Jan. 5.

“I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today’s developments. I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh," said Chryst, a Madison native who played for the Badgers and served eight years as an assistant coach for the Badgers in two stints.

"I am focusing all my time and energy on our team’s bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football.”

SEC, money a lure for Bielema

Bielema’s agreement with Arkansas came together in less than 24 hours, according to multiple sources.

As recently as Friday — before the Badgers’ 70-31 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Conference championship game — Bielema expressed his excitement for next year’s team.

“As the head coach, I know in year seven, I’m better than I was in year one,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success. So, I’m excited.

“I’m really excited to play this game and play in our bowl game. I have 27 juniors. I believe 12 of them are probably going to be (NFL) draft-worthy. I’m very excited about the chemistry of the group that’s going to be coming back next year.”

Money likely played a role in Bielema’s decision. Per an offer letter he signed Tuesday with Arkansas, Bielema will make $3.2 million from Arkansas and turned down even more, so the money could go to his assistants.

Bielema is making $2.7 million this season at UW. Arkansas will pay the $1 million buyout on the remainder of his contract, which ran through the 2016 season.

The Razorbacks are desperate to repair the damage done from their last two hires. Bobby Petrino was fired in April for misconduct. He made $3.56 million annually as part of a seven-year contract signed in 2010, according to reports.

John L. Smith was hired to succeed Petrino on an interim basis. The Razorbacks, who had won a combined 21 games the previous two years, finished with a 4-8 record in 2012 and Smith was relieved of his duties.

Having a better chance to win a national title also was a motivating factor for Bielema, Ball said. Arkansas is a member of the Southeastern Conference, which has produced the last six national champions.

Arkansas, which competes in the loaded West Division against the likes of Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, has yet to win an SEC title since coming over from the former Southwest Conference in 1992, losing all three of its appearances in the league title game.

The Razorbacks are upgrading their infrastructure, with an 80,000-square-foot football operations center currently under construction, and are looking into expanding the 72,000-seat Razorback Stadium.

Arkansas vice chancellor and athletic director Jeff Long praised Bielema in a statement issued Tuesday night announcing the hiring.

"Bret Bielema is an exceptional leader of young men and an outstanding football coach who has proven his program is centered on establishing an unshakable foundation that emphasizes the development of each student-athlete as an individual," Long said.

"Coach Bielema has led his team to a historic run of championships while seeing a record number of student-athletes recognized for academic achievement. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a commitment to competing for a national championship with a program known for discipline, honesty and integrity. His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans.

"He not only shares the vision and values for the future of Arkansas football, he embraces them."

Bielema is expected to be officially introduced as the Razorbacks' 32nd coach Wednesday. He did not respond to attempts to contact him, but was quoted in the statement released by Arkansas.

"I am very humbled and honored to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks," Bielema said. "During my conversation with Jeff (Long) he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program. It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals.

"The infrastructure in place at Arkansas shows the commitment from the administration to accomplish our goals together and I am excited to begin to lead this group of student-athletes. This program will represent the state of Arkansas in a way Razorback fans everywhere will be proud of."

Fans lukewarm on Bielema

Bielema was contacted by an NFL team after the 2011 season and was close to leaving, according to a source. But that source also said Bielema confirmed his desire to be at UW prior to this season.

The source said Bielema told him in July, "I'm not going anywhere. I've got two houses in that town (Madison). We love it. We're not going anywhere."

Bielema married the former Jen Hielsberg on March 10, and they maintained ownership of both their residences.

Bielema has repeatedly talked about his excitement for next year's team, including during a press conference last Friday before the 70-31 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Conference championship game.

"As the head coach, I know in year seven, I'm better than I was in year one," he said. "We've had a lot of success. So, I'm excited.

"I'm really excited to play this game and play in our bowl game. I have 27 juniors. I believe 12 of them are probably going to be (NFL) draft-worthy. I'm very excited about the chemistry of the group that's going to be coming back next year."

Former UW defensive tackle Patrick Butrym said he doesn't think Bielema always received the credit he deserves from Badgers fans.

"I think in the past, he's kind of gotten a bad rap and people have kind of unnecessarily brought the hammer down on him," Butrym said. "I think he's a great coach; I think he's a great guy.

"You see the reaction from a lot of players (on Twitter). A lot of guys are disappointed, but also really happy for him, for this opportunity. It's an SEC job; I don't know if it's a better job."

As successful as Bielema has been, a portion of Badgers fans has never quite embraced him. He is viewed by some people as being brash, or even cocky. He was criticized at times last season for running up the score on opponents.

Bielema has also had public spats with rival coaches, notably former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

Butrym said part of the problem is Bielema followed a legend in Alvarez. Also, the goodwill generated by Big Ten titles the previous two years was depleted somewhat by close losses in both Rose Bowls, to TCU and Oregon.

"I think it's unfair to compare him to Barry Alvarez," said Butrym, a senior on last year's team. "I think people can be so impatient. He's done an unbelieveable job, carried on the tradition.

"Everyone bashes him for losing two Rose Bowls, but I don't think people appreciate how hard it is to get to two Rose Bowls."

Former UW safety Aaron Henry, who also was a senior on last year's team, said the damage done to the program by Bielema's departure could be lessened considerably if the school is successful in bringing back Chryst.

"That would definitely make up for it," Henry said. "Past and present players love coach Chryst. Great, great, great dude."

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(189) comments


I can't believe Bielema told his players that part of his reason for taking the Arkansas job was to have a chance to win a national championship. That had to be a hurtful comment for his team to hear. What a tool!


I doubt Barry was surprised. I'd bet money Bielama was told to step off or be fired, so that Barry could coach the Rose Bowl game and pull out the win.


leaveChryst alone- we'd look stupid to 'buy' him back, and he knows it. Get Peterson, great cred, and he's ready.


Good riddance.


who cares? can we move on please?


Isn't it funny that all that tak centers around football which has nothing to do with the school's mission and there is nothing to be said about the new Dean of Engineering who has everything to do with the school's purpose?


Ho hum.


Doesn't surprise me that BB would make this decision now. It's always been about HIM! He lost most of last year's coaching staff due to his arrogance, why should he be concerned about his seniors and the Rose Bowl. Good Luck Brett, you're going to need it in the SEC. My only hope is that you get what you just dished out to your former team. Another class move Brett!


There is a 6 million dollar by out at Pitt. Funny how after the recall and all of the protest that folks act like $6,000,000 is a drop in the bucket when it comes to football. We have been through 4 coaches here in 4 years and really thought this was a great hire for us and hate to see him go but I also couldn't blame him for going home to be with his family. At least he won't call his players from a plane on his way to Arizona telling them that he quit.


Ho hum...


First, if the new coach comes in and isn't winning right away, and this can happen if recruits decide to go elsewhere, the people who have been complaining the most about Coach B will be the first ones to complain why didn't Barry try harder to keep him. Also, in the last two Rose Bowl games the teams we played were rated higher than us and we were the under dog in each game. This year by one rating we are rated 23rd in the nation and Stanford 8th. In fact, the average rating differential between the Big Ten bowl teams and the teams they are playing is 19 positions, with only one Big Ten team rated higher than the team they are playing. This has been true almost every year for the last ten years.


Also, I am not sure Barry was surprised. Wouldn't Arkansas have needed permission from him to talk to Bielema? I mean Bielema had a long term contract here and without permission there would have been possible legal implications. My own take is long before the B10 Championship Game, there were discussions as either UW told Bielema to look elsewhere or Bielema saw the hand writing on the wall here or both. Arkansas is at best a lateral move after all and they did not offer him that much more money. Why leave an established program where you have a long term contract to go to a program that is struggling? It would be a huge and stupid risk, unless both sides have for a long time been looking for a mutually beneficial parting of ways.


Of course Alvarez knew about it (the offer from Arkansas). He just didn't believe Bielema would accept it.


People don't realize how hard it is to win two Rose Bowls? Ummm, Barry does. That is a stupid attitude to hear from our players. Of course its hard!! We want championships, not champs sports bowl. Have fun in Arkansas and stay away from the interns!


Today is my birthday and this is the best present I could have asked for. Never fully understood why Barry selected Bielema in the first place other than Bret must have been a great brown-noser. Bret could never win the BIG games as was obvious in his squandering the talent of the last two years when he should have been playing for a national championship. His best year was his first when he inherited the players and program left for him by Barry. Last week against Nebraska it was obvious that Bret had turned over the offensive and defensive play calling to his assistants because for the first time I saw some imagination - and the players responded. Bret was sooo predictable! Good riddance to you Bret and good luck in the SEC - you'll need it! With your lack of ability, Arkansas will be a bottom dweller and your lunch will be eaten by your SEC opposition! Wisconsin has great tradition, a tremendous fan base, excellent facilities, and national prominence which made your recruiting job easy, see how that works out at Arkansas. Thank you, Razorbacks!!!


I think this is a great opportunity for the Badgers to take it to the next level. Bielema was not the man for that. He did a lot of good things and had a good record, but his game day decisions have been lacking. The real question is whether UW is willing to make the financial commitment and is bold enough to hire the coach who can really can take it to the next level or will they even take a step back from Bielema's level and into mediocrity. Obviously Chryst is a good fit but it may be bad timing for him. Petersen from Boise State might work. I heard that Jon Gruden wants to get back in coaching and not necessarily on the pro level, since he has a family and wants stability. But this may be unrealistic. I just hope we go after someone who will kick it up a notch or two.


BB will only be in Ark until the Iowa job opens up


Hawkeye Fan here. While we don't want to continue with 'Ferentz and family', we sure as hell don't want Bielema.


Auburn just hired Malzahn. Can't wait for the match-up between him and Bielema! BB will have his arse handed to him, just as he will be with the rest of the SEC schedule he will be suffering through. Can't wait for his whiny attitude on the SEC sidelines. That fan base will eat him alive, and if he thinks he will have any backup from his AD, he better think again! He will likely be a 'one and done' in the SEC!


Who is surprised? Not me. There has been talk for over a month that Bielema was leaving. And Arkansas would have needed permission from the UW and Barry to talk with Bret. And it was quite obvious in the Nebraska game that play calling was by some one else on the coaching staff. So who is surprised? Only question I have is what took so long?


Game called by Canada,youre right,what took so long


For all those that say, "don't criticize three straight Rose Bowls", STOP SKIMMING THE SURFACE OF REALITY. They should have won the Rose Bowl last year with superstar Russell Wilson and Monte Ball, could have seriously contended for a national title -- but they didn't. They backed into the Rose Bowl this year with a 8-5 record. This is an asterisk season. Ohio State is a much better football team, and Penn State was much better coached this year. Bulemia doesn't have a good record, not surprisingly, against Ohio State, and even Michigan State.

Since quitters never win, he'll become the first coach since Michigan's Bo Schembechler to lose three straight Rose Bowls. The difference is that Bo has won a Rose Bowl, Brent hasn't.

This is a great time for Wisconsin football. Take time Barry to make a good hire. Good riddance Brent.


Good lord, give the guy a break, how many of you have changed jobs for a few more bucks in your pocket? Every single career change in my life has been for more compensation and I bet all of yours have been too.

Year the guy coaches the university football team for living, but he's got the right to do the same thing all of us do. You, me, BB, we all do our jobs and we all move on to new ones. No one is a traitor for leaving their old employer for greener pastures.

Appreciate what he has done, three Rose Bowls in a row. Amazing stuff. Be thankful for the years he worked for the university and wish him well on his new job.


We pay millions of dollars for this kind of result?


My thoughts exactly. You pay millions, you expect criticism, hate, love, passion, etc. You expect Greatness. As Herm Edwards as said, "you play to win the game." Listening to the radio this morning, the love fest among the local beat writers for Bielema is staggering. Their whole take appears to be "hey, the program was in shambles before Barry, so appreciate that it's pretty good". When has anyone settled for second-best in sports? You keep striving, keep working for the ultimate: the highest award possible, and that is a national championship. Stop drinking the tepid, warm kool-aid that says it's OK just to win your division and beat up on lesser talent.


All fine and dandy you are leaving Bret, but dude, your timing sucks, your players didn't deserve the mutiny, and you know?, I'm finally going to say it,,,,,,,,,you look like "Butthead" from "Beavis and Butthead". Good luck in Hog Heaven Bret! Will you look at that, another "Bret" pooping on Wisconsin. PS Good luck in the Rose Bowl guys!!!!!!


Since the news came out I had to change my mind about the Rose Bowl outcome. The Badgers are now my pick to win! I had conceded to Stanford, but the Badgers will come out "smoking". It is what motivated them for the Nebraska blowout as the word was out prior to that game.


Obviously, the whole story is not known yet regarding this bizarre story. There's an old saying-the man who doesn't really know his friends or professional associates doesn't really know himself. I guess Barry is finding that out right now. The other irony is that if Nebraska had won or Brett had made another one of his famous "in the moment" coaching blunders, he may have been shown the door. As for Brett, he will find out in short order that the type of blunders he made in recent weeks are not tolerated in the SEC. He'd better be wearing his big boy pants down there if Arkansas's AD has any complaints for him to digest.


As an Arkansan and Razorback fan, I want to sincerely, without sarcasm or malice, wish you guys luck in finding a new coach. We've been through the ringer a bit down here with regard to our football coaches, and while I'm not convinced today's developments are in anyone's best interest, I do know the difficulties in finding a new leader. You guys have a good program with great fans, I'm sure; hopefully you'll find someone who can continue to build on the success you've had thus far. Good luck with it.


You do understand that BB isn't going to take the Razorbacks anywhere, right? I know it's been a rough year for Razorback fans, but hiring BB isn't the answer to your problems that you're looking for. His phenomenally atrocious clock management skills WILL make you tear your hair out.


You do realize that Brett is going to the SEC, right? Get a clue storyofcory, Wisconsin cannot compete when it comes to football recruitment in the SEC. Roll Tide, fool....


Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, let's not turn this into a conference war. Let's remember that both have their attributes and failures.

And again, speaking as a Hog fan, if you have to point to another team in the conference ("Roll Tide") to assert your claims of dominance, it may be time to put your head down on the desk and sit quietly.


To be perfectly honest, I'd never heard of Bielema until today. After doing a little research, I do have reservations about him and his fit here in Arkansas, as I alluded to above ("...I'm not convinced today's developments are in anyone's best interest..."). My instinct says he won't be the great hire we would want, nor is he the answer to our problems, which are indeed many. However, as I am not in any way affiliated with the Razorback staff, they didn't ask for my opinion.

Regardless, my point was to wish your program and fans the best in moving forward.


Alabama will take 3 out of the last 4 National Championships without asking for your permission. Going for 4 out of 5 in a few weeks. I repeat, ROLL TIDE.


Thank you, Megha. And best of luck to you guys, too. I've had a soft spot in my heart for Arkansas since reading a prediction a couple of years back that our climate will be just like yours by 2050. You guys, OTOH, will be inheriting southern Louisiana.


I think the Badgers will be fine, but at the same time I definitely see this as a huge loss. The criticism that Bielema has received seems overly harsh when you examine his coaching record: three Big Ten titles, three Rose Bowl berths, and a 12-1 season in 2006 speak for themselves. Bielema was also a terrific recruiter -- Montee Ball was a Heisman finalist last year, and JJ Watt is now unquestionably one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. Wisconsin does not have the football tradition of Ohio State or Michigan, and Barry Alvarez was a once in a lifetime coach, so this kind of success shouldn't be taken for granted.


Did we play for the national title in '06, and if not, why not? I, too, noticed the 12-1 record in '06, and I can't reach back into the recesses of my brain to remember why (or if) we were not playing for the national championship that season, IF we weren't playing for it.


Exceptionally weak non-conference schedule, even by UW standards. Didn't play Ohio State, which went 8-0 in the conference, was ranked #1 all year and played in the NC. Played only one ranked team (Michigan) before the Capital One Bowl, and lost.


Good riddance, Bret Bielema. BB doesn't know it yet, but he's about to make a HUGE mistake. He has a history, as HC of the Badgers, of ridiculously horrific clock management "skills", among MANY other issues. If those issues follow him to the Razorbacks, he'll be out of a job before he can take another breath. The SEC doesn't screw around with their football. Football is pretty much like a religion in the SEC.


Also, for WHATEVER it's worth to you, there's a rumor running around that Alvarez found out about Bielema jumping ship from the AD's office in Arkansas. IF that turns out to be true, it's a pretty crappy thing to do to a guy who, for all intents and purposes, took a giant leap of faith on your behalf and hired you when you had, at best, mediocre head coaching experience, IF, in fact, Bret Bielema had had ANY experience as a head coach before Barry named him HC at Wisconsin.


A great day to be a Badger. A few yrs back BB down in Chicago with Barry at a Big Ten event... BB likes to play a little 'grab butt'... Barry barks to BB you do that again you will be feeding hogs in Iowa. SEC.. I'd agree 3 years or less... Provided BB doesn't crash his scooter.

Did I miss the part no Rose Bowl trip for BB.. ?


I think he left abruptly before the Rose Bowl because he anticipated a 3rd, straight loss there. Now was the time for him to "get out" of the pressure situation, start anew somewhere else earning more money. It is nonsense to think this is only about money or that UW needs to pay more. BB likely would never have become a head coach other than at Wisconsin. Good luck to him but move on and get someone better. Barry should coach this team in the Rose Bowl; that would also allow more time for a good hire. Lots of terrific candidates are out there. Bring in Pat Richter for some terrific advice, too!


Great advice.. Pat Richter


A few years ago BB at a fund raiser gave a hand out of what he said were his philosophies of life one of them is applicable to this situation: "Class never runs scared. It is sure-footed and confident. It can handle what ever comes along; Class is real. You can't fake it. "

I believe BB just violated his own precepts. To leave his team prior to the Rose Bowl is Classless.


Bret take a timeout and ice Arkansas, maybe they'll offer you more cash.


funniest post so far...i almost soild myself!


Don't think Chryst needs to come back. Never a great BB fan, could not win the big games. What about Mike Riley at Oregon State or Jim Tressel, they would be able to recruit to compete with Ohio State, otherwise we will not see another Rose Bowl in a long long time. Hope Barry thinks outside the box.


Is Bobby Petrino available?


No, ha, he just took the Idaho job.....


We have come too far the last few years and especially this year to let everything slip away, and totally start over.
I say hire Partridge as the HC, and keep the current staff if possible.
(Ash could go with Doran and Azzanni could go with BB. )


BB did what nearly all coaches will do. He struck while the iron was hot. The Arkansas job was not going to stay open very long. As someone who only listened to him occasionally on the Big Ten network I now shake my head at how insincere his "On Wisconsin" ending to interviews now seems. BA's judgement and vision will now truly be tested in his next coaching choice. The BB decision was easy, an assistant on his staff. Let's see what happens if Barry dares to think outside the box.


every bartender or server I know who's had to deal with BB said he was an jerk, on campus and off.

You can swagger around like you're royalty only if you WIN a Rose Bowl (or 3). BB was 2-4 in bowls while he was here and he thinks he has a chance in the SEC?


Thanks Santa!


I agree, DohMingOh. The SEC takes its football in that region VERY seriously. I don't think BB has a prayer. I see him last one... MAYBE two seasons down in the SEC. His overall record (68-24, I think?) may be alright, but he's forgetting about how important Bowl games (and wins) are to SEC teams. If he thinks Wisconsin/Big 10 fans were hard on him about his bowl record here, just wait until he misses one or two of the BCS Bowls in the SEC. They'll eat BB for breakfast, and not even break a sweat.


Barry should hire Chris Borland.


Best comment ever @Fire Coach Shrek.

Fire Coach Shrek

In this order three top canidiates (#1 is all but impossible)
#1 Chris Peterson - Boise State OC
#2 Paul Chryst - Pittsburge HC
#3 Daryl Bevell - OC Seahawks

Chryst has one year as HC with 6-6 record in bad Big East conference, not a proven elite head coach like Peterson. But Peterson has had higher profile programs court him and offer him more money then Wisconsin could ever give so this is the pipe dream.


As you might already know, Chryst doesn't want the HC job here. Bevell would be a HUGE mistake. He's got experience in the NFL, yes, but only as an OC. HC is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT animal altogether. Just sayin'...


Thanks for your leadership Coach! Arkansas is a beautiful state. Best of luck to your Razorbacks!

Fire Coach Shrek

OMG please someone pinch me so I know this is true and I'm not dreaming. I feel like I won the lottery, lost my virginity (for the first time), it's my birthday and Christmas all wrapped into one today! :D

Coach Shrek leaves on his own and the cherry on top to the SEC! Bookmark this page, I guarantee all the cheese and beer in Wisconsin that BB will be fired from Arkansas in 3 years best case or 4 years worse case.

He will be exposed as the terrible head coach he is and he was carried by OC Paul Chryst (come on back Paul and Barry you cheap ass open your check book SEC style and pay Chryst and assistants some decent money) Dc Dave Doren and Bob Bostad OL-C).
SEC will spit him out so fast people's head will spin.

Seriously I'm as giddy as a school boy right now! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

P.S. Coach Alvarez you go hire Chryst as HC, then double Bob Bostad salary and get him as OC (dual role with Chryst). New $75M facility opens next years, BT network flush with money (go get Georgia Tech or N.Carolina Jim Delaney) and only got to get past Ohio State for next 3 years to get a shot every year at the Rose Bowl. It's a great day matey's to be a Badger.

Austin, TX Badger
80 and sunny here today! :D

Elroy Hirsch

Here is the deal. Its very difficult to replace a legend as Barry certainly was at Wisconsin. BB did a great job- look at his winning percentage. Something went wrong with the relationship with Barry and BB I believe. Was there a jealousy with Barry in terms of the success and money he saw with BB? Couple that with the dislike BB felt from many Madisonians? BB probably felt this was the best time possible to start anew. New wife, new life, new school, new start at Arkansas. Now, who does Barry hire? Cryst, Bevell, Childress, Callahan, or a up-and-coming coordinator that could be the next Alvarez? Who are the Notre Dame coordinators? We are in for some interesting 2 weeks.


Gee, great political comment jimet in a sports forum. We'll miss you when you move to Arkansas for all the advantages there. Anything sports oriented you want to add, go ahead, but not hoping for much, obviously.

Wisconsin Scout

One wants to say stuff like ... Arkansas: good place for a pig farmer coach. Or, don't let the door hit you on the way out, but then that wouldn't be nice. But then ... leaving like this is also not "nice." What a jerk. The millions he's made at Wisconsin isn't enough? Leaving before the Rose Bowl and leaving his team high and dry is good style? Methinks not. It's a sad end to a coaching career that has been both good and bad ... but mostly good. He has shown he's not the "man" he has pretended to be.


Best Christmas present us Badger fans could get!


Kinda wish nebraska had won. That way maybe they would have taken Pelini.


Pelini has the best interests of his players, coaches, and fans at heart. Who would You have replaced him with? I agree with Tom Osborne that this loss at Wisconsin as bad as it was will motivate Nebraska play well against Georgia!


Agreed with players and coaches not so sure about fans.

Bottom line, he got out coached, by the guy most everyone is glad to get rid of. The word was out that Arkansas was interested in Pelini before the Big 10 championship game as well. I've lived in Omaha for 22 years, but grew in Madtown for my first 32. The way we lost to Wisconsin was the biggest embarrassment in maybe the history of "Husker Nation" Not saying Bo's a bad guy, just not a good head coach.

I hope the badge hire a top notch head coach. I remember the 70's and early 80's and how bad we were. What ever happened to the veer:)


Independents post is one of the dumbest in a year of incredibly dumb posts. Congratulations.


He's either hiding a skeleton in the closet or scared sh_tless that he better get out of town before he has to meet Urban Meyer at midfield next year! Cowardly to turn his back on Barry and his players.

Mr LaMarr

Brent who?


Couldn't a six year old have coached the Badgers to three bowl games after Alvarez left? Did Bielema know he was in trouble next year and left before his first losing season perhaps?


Wow, I've never heard of a coach being so bad that people had to leave the state. Hopefully he won't chase me out of Arkansas, I like it here.


How about Barry coaching and winning one last rose bowl- show Brett how it's done??


I was going to make some smart-alec comment about what a crap state Arkansas is, with lousy schools, lousy health care access, lousy jobs. lousy infrastructure.

Then I remembered we elected Scott Walker, twice, and his goal is to turn us into Arkansconsin on our way down to becoming Wississsippi.

Good luck, Bret. I suspect your new state will be on the way up as it's passing your old state on the way down in all the important things we are as a society.


.......and then there are some that just can't ever 'let it go' and have to make everything about the holy grail (Politics) - you probably still have your bumber stickers and yard signs up too. LOL

oops -- sorry, that was probably a smart-alec comment/ bad


Perfectly said.. thank you


I wonder what the U of Arkansas found in their background check of BB.


I'd guess they found pretty girls and a love of good food.

I'm sure this is about money, though. Either Bret or his new wife apparently like fancy things.

mtn boy

"One source close to Bielema thought he was leaving for the money and a better chance to win a national title at a Southeastern Conference school."

He actually had an awesome chance to win one last year, with a team that included Montee & Russell ..... with better game-time adjustments & coaching, instead of his always-bewildered look on the sidelines, we likely could've beaten MSU & tOSU in an undefeated regular season & gone on to the big game.


best post yet.


Good move & very timely for BB. Restarts with a 5 year deal with 100%+ $ increase & things have the appearance of starting to slide & unravel in Madison. BB should be able to pocket >$10,000,000 after tax in Razor vs Badger country, so he & his family will be set up nicely. It is pretty apparent that given the strength of the SEC he virtually has no chance of on the field success there. No big deal as he would have hit bottom here within 5 years too.


What are you talking about. According to his reported contract he is getting a 30% increase over UW.

Further the future looks pretty bright for the football program. This years class(2013) is the highest rated ever and 2014 looks to better. That combined with easier scheduling in 2013 and Maryland and Rutgers to stomp on after that makes this move pretty peculiar.


hey genius...why don't you move there with him? take walker with should both be "at home" in the new south.


One of the reasons I moved from Wi.. Never thought he was that good. Lost most of the bowls he went to on his own. Maybe the Badgers will get someone that knows something about a clock and how to use it. Of course, if the Madison populace and the students are for income equality the new coach will only be paid the "Living Wage" as it is calculated by the all knowing city council. Come on liberals. Stand up for what you demand others to follow. Will you really pay someone more then a Fireman or Police Officer.? Some one who risks their life to protect you every day. Of course they are not as valuable as a coach.


hey bartender...give this doo$hbag a vinegar and water on me.


Oink oink


Sorry to see him go, much better recruiter than Barry was. I thought he had grown a lot as a head coach, just remember how old he was when he started.
I hope Paul Chryst is not the next head coach although it would be funny reading the comments here if he was.
A year ago he had no imagination as a play caller,was way to conservative, and called the same thing so much all the bloggers could call the plays before they happened. Now that he's gone he was some kind of a hero whatever would be next for the poor guy.
We have to trust that Barry will have a handle on who is the best fit for our program.

On Wisconsin!

bo knows

Well said. Loved the type of kids Bielema recruited here...the blue collar type players like Boreland and Mike Taylor.
I can remember reading comments last year on how terrible Chryst was of a play caller. Now this year, everyone realized how good we had it with Chryst. Hopefully the same thing wont happen with BB successor.


B.B. was a solid recruiter and average coach. Lost a lot of close games when up against top competition. He will struggle at Arkansas. I hope B.A. hires someone from the offensive side of the ball because we need to score more points consistently and recruit top QB's in addition to TB's. Paul Chryst certainly comes to mind. As does Darrell Bevell. Lots of people like Peterson of Boise State. Let Barry coach the Rose Bowl as he develops his short list. B.B.'s leaving can be a real opportunity for the Badgers to step up to an elite level.


I think Bielema did not squander what he was given, both player and coach-wise. That actually sez more about his assistants than himself. Matt Canada did more to turn around the Badgers this season, it was getting a new offensive line coach and letting him do his thing. That's who crushed Nebraska.

However, in the biggest games, and in other games where they had a bette than even chance, Bielema could not get it done. He was accomplished, but not enough to do what he should have/could have done to win. I was livid over the TCU and the Ohio State games. I had to remind myself it was just a football game in the grand scheme of things....

Getting Cryst back, to enhance Canada's playbook and sense of timing, would be ideal. Barring that, if Alvarez coaches for the Roses, and lets Canada do his thing, the Badgers just might pull it off this year.

Blue Centurion

What kind of head coach would do something like this weeks before the Rose Bowl? The Badgers basically got to Indy on "default", BB screwed up his coaching staff during the off season, and the guy just couldn't win the big games.

Then to run off to Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson's Alma Mater.........He's NO BADGER!


right on blue...listening to bilema burp "on wisconsin" is a great parody.

bo knows

Was BB perfect? No, of course not. Sure he didn't have an impressive record against ranked teams and we struggled in close games. But he did still manage to lead Wisconsin to 3 straigth Rose Bowls. Who is bored with that? Sure we lost the last 2 but we are not Alabama, were not even Ohio State. This state has been too spoiled in recent years by Barry, Bo, and Bret and forgot where the athletic program used to be.


Like in murder-suicide situations, things happened in the wrong order. If BB had left prior to the start of the season, the 6 assistants might still be here. BB definitely was the perp. Alvarez should have recognized his personal error in judgement earlier on. Probably did, but couldn't bring himself to admit it. At Arkansas BB won't have to worry about bothersome things such as GPA among the players. He is going where he will be a better fit, but don't expect the Hawgs to keep him around long. They know how to admit a mistake.


you make some very interesting observations and i tend to agree with you. beilema will get his a$$ handed to him in the SEC.


Good job bret, Will miss you.


I hope losing 6 assistant coaches and the head coach within a year is not an indication of something going on within the program.


losing 6 asistants and a head coach is an indication of success


Bwahahaha... BB is leaving..good! Let Barry coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl using the same assistant coaches. Then let Barry take his time to hire a good, quality, big time coach. As far as BB, what an ego, and he'll likely be out at Arkansas within a few years after he consistently gets beat soundly from better competition than what he saw in the Big 10 (soon to be 14). As erratic as BB is, I hope the Razorbacks test him for bi-polar too! Bizarre....


You don't expect a guy with a Hawkeye tattoo to have the same level of loyalty to the cardinal and white as, say, Pat Richter. Still, I thot he'd have enuf loyalty to his TEAM not to drop this kind of distraction on them just a few weeks before the Rose Bowl.
Best of luck, anyway, Bret, and remember who gave you your big break.


BB's wife is a southern belle, correct?


Dont let the door hit you in your goofy looking living off Barry Alvarez rear end! The only problem is who will coach our special teams like you did; wait, maybe Beetlejuice from Howard Stern. I am hoping for a very Merry Chryst-mas!!


BB has not been coaching special teams for the past two seasons so that will not be the issue you thought it would be. Pay more attention before you rush to judgements or make statements.


D Coordinator from Notre Dame has to be leading Candidate along with Paul Chryst.

pjh16 shock...I sure hope the grass is greener for all sides, especially in Badgerland...Thank You Coach B and Good Luck in the SEC...our next coach???? Unless it's PC from Pitt I don't think we will get a new coach right away...Barry may take his time (not too long I hope) and dig up someone we don't expect...On Wisconsin!!!


I'd like to see Darrell Bevell get an opportunity, if Cryst doesn't come back.

Does the assistant staff fall apart before the Rose Bowl with BB leaving? Can Barry hold it together and will he act as interim?

Is there more going on in background to have this sudden departure than near doubling salary?

I can't figure out which coach was more odd, Pelini or Bielema.

Herb H

what was coach Beliema's big ten % of wins


37-19 66 percent


Good..., put canada in there as the head coach.


Never thought he should have been hired in the first place. Barry did not follow protocol in the hiring of Brett. Perhaps they could get the coach from Northern Illinois - although I believe he was just hired somewhere else.


BB started out weak. His first couple years the teams were incredibly undisciplined - too many penalties, too many turnovers. Say what you will about his personality, or his tactical decisions (which are right more often than they're wrong), he has unquestionably progressed as a coach and improved, and the Badgers are a contender because of it. Three straight Rose Bowls - that's a pretty rare feat, even if we backed into it by virtue of sanctions.

Hiring a coach is like Russian roulette. Just look at Arkansas. I hope Alvarez can get somebody who will be as good as BB was (or better).


I guess Brett doesn't want to join Bo Schlembecker and Woody Hayes as the only coaches to coach in three consecutive Rose Bowls.


I too am I'm NE and the corn holes don't get it. Glad I am a badger Wish I had moved back home and raised my kids there but ill instill te badger faith in them. On Wisconsin.


College sports, like Pro sports, is about nothing but greed and giant egos.
Good riddance...


Darrell Bevell would be a good candidate.


First off I live in Nebraska and these Cornholers said they didn't travel to Indy because they were saving for Pasadena! I have never been so proud to be from Wisco and a life long Badger fan! I think it's Bush League how BB went but Badger Football will land on it's feet and continue to churn out monster lineman and record breaking running backs. CYA BB have fun in the SEC...


I went to Indy. One thing I won't knock the Cornholers for is how well they traveled. They sold out their quota of tickets within hours. As of the day before the game Badger fans hadn't even come close to that. Just walking around town the night before and the afternoon before the game, they easily outnumbered us 2-1. A bunch of our Badger friends that had cheap seats in the upper decks got moved to down behind the endzone because we couldn't fill our seats.

Of course after the game was a different story. I've never seen an entire fan-base disappear so quickly into the night.


John Gruden.




How about John Gruden?


I saw him at Coliseum Bar on Monday. Consider it a done deal.

STFU, Gruden isn't coming here and you know it. Even if he wanted to, it would never work.


John Gruden


Out from the shadow of Ohio State.
And into the shadow of Alabama...and LSU...and Texas A&M.
BB won't have to beat Nebraska in a championship game. Now it will be Florida and Georgia.


If he gets that far!


Wow and no one saw this coming? Great insight by the media in Madison.
The badgers, with few exceptions played down to their opponents and hardly won any big games. Good riddence.
Jim Tressel is looking for a job after his job in Las Vegas, coaching minor league football ended.


Yeah, I'm really surprised the Badger Hour which airs on 1070 at 2 p.m., a program that is basically an infomercial for the Badgers, didn't see this coming. What, with their solid team of investigative reporters that shirk and shred the continuous talking points faxed over from Barry's office, I would have thought this would have been a story months ago. Oh well, I guess I'll keep tuning in to see if they have anything breaking.


It has been going around in Madison that many professors and some of the caoches have gotten tired of the Republican Governor's and the GOP legislators' interfernce in the University's business has caused them to eithr leave or think about leaving for a better place to work. Just lately it was the volleyball coach and now the head football coach along with so many professors that some departments have stopped taking in new grad students. One Department even disciplined a prof for saying that they should stop taking in new Phd Students as the quality of teaching had dropped so low that it could no longer provide adequate programming for new Phd students.


Perhaps the dumbest post in history.



The volleyball coach got fired for poor performance.

You have no idea what you are talking about.


I hope that the Profs go to Arkansas too. I doubt that they will get a raise though.
You libs will spin anything.


Wow, Independent is a total loser.We can only hope IndpendentinWis leaves the state along with BB. I think they would fit in well in Illinois, where the liberals are doing such a great job!!!


I may intensely dislike the guv but have to agree, this is a stupid pointless post.


Go on...


I grew up following the Badgers year after year through the 70s and 80s never winning. Barry gets us on track and now we're a perennial powerhouse. Bielema only leads the Badgers to 3 straight Rose Bowls and four 10 win seasons during his short tenure and everyone has it out for him. I'm sorry, but I'll take going to Rose Bowls and losing rather than just losing. By the way Bo Schembechler was 5 - 12 in bowl games in his career. Hall of Famer coach. Woody Hayes 5-6 in bowl games. Both revered coaches that didn't win the "Big Game" all the time. However, both got their teams to big games every year. Quit being whiny spoiled brats. Wisconsin fans have always been known for supporting their teams, but suddenly many fans are starting to sound like Michigan and OSU fans. I'm disappointed in how this has played out and for that I'm mad at Bielema, but I would not trade the seasons he has put up for anything. I can only hope that we can get someone that can carry on the winning tradition because I don't want to go back to the years of no bowl games.




Agreed here, too. Bielema was not perfect and did struggle in games against ranked opponents, but if you ever look at the recruiting classes that UW gets compared to football "factories" like the Ohio States, Michigans, Notre Dames, ALabamas, LSUs, Floridas, UCLAs, Oklahomas, etc of the world and we never rate up with them. Not that we don't get quality player but the top recruits are always going to go to those type of schools. Bielema took the best players that he could get to come to Madison and got them the play at a high enough lever that we have been competitive with the aforementioned level of teams and are regarded by many sports pundits as one of the B1G's elites. Most of the trolls posting all the bad stuff about BB are the same ones who have complained non stop about Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson ever since they were hired in Green Bay. But I guess they have to have something to do in that dingy basement room in their mom's house where they live


you a$$holes sound like the farve apologists who railed against thompson, maccarthy and rogers. bielema was a good recruiter and his kids playd hard for him (which surprised me) but he was a poor side line coach.
i can't say i begrudge him for taking advantage of a tremendous opportunity but perhaps his greatest flaw is his hubris--"on wisconsin"--without you brett.
my own opinion is this will work out well for everyone concernd--excpt arkansas.


Whoa... blog claiming Alvarez is top candidate... followed by Chryst


I won't miss him. Guy could never admit he made a mistake.


Nooooooooooo! No announcement before the Rose Bowl. Duh


Ok so seriously, who does Barry go look at for head coach. I doubt Chryst will come back.


Don't be surprised... he is from Madison, grew up in Madison, and still has family there, and his dad coached there. Again, why wouldn't Chryst come back?


I suppose that BB will try to take all of the current coaches with him like Chryst did. What a crock.


Not a classy move and complete disrespect for the players. He could have waited until after the Rose Bowl!


Just a few hours ago, Andy Baggot wrote about the buzz about the Stanford Rose Bowl game is the motivation he needs to better coach better.

Once again Andy Baggot totally missed the real motivation: Get the hell out of this circus town called Madison for a place that is normal and in a premier athletic conference!!!


Maybe so. The place is nuts.


you 2 idiots should follow bulimia to arkansas where you can truly realize what losers you really are.


Do you suppose that this had something to do with the way the Badgers played against Nebraska? Players and Assistants knew BB was on the way out?


Perhaps the writing is on the wall. Beilema knows he can't compete with Urban Meyer!


That's what I was thinking too. Great teams but few superstars, Meyer will out-recruit everyone and have them year in and year out.

I do agree with another post though, prefer losing Rose Bowls to just losing and I am a '79 grad.

Don't know why this couldn't wait for the Rose Bowl though.


So you go to the SEC?!?!?

I'm a B1G homer, but Bret is not getting an easier ride.


Awesome!!! Great news for Badger fans everywhere. Sorry about that Razorbacks - he's your problem now. (Too bad it wasn't Maryland that ended up with him)


Why do coaches have to make announcements like this before a big game? It robs the players of their focus. Holmgren did the same thing before the Packers played the Broncos in the Superbowl. NCAA regulations?? I don't think the Badgers stand a chance in the Rose Bowl, but this announcement helps guarantee the loss.


Holmgren stayed on for another year after the loss to the Broncos in the Super Bowl. But your essential point is valid. Hopefully Barry coaches the players for Rose Bowl -- they probably respect him a lot more than Brent "Watching Paint Dry" Whoever-his-name-is-because-I-forgot-because-that-slug-is-so-boring. Take time to make the right hire. This football program has the chance to be great and rival Ohio State. It was never going to get there with that one guy who essentially just got fired.


How PO'd is Chyrst


For all of you that think this is a great thing for Wisconsin remember the grass isn't always greener. Not every new hire works out, in fact, probably most don't. Ask Minnesota about how well things went getting rid of Glen Mason, or Michigan hiring Rich Rod, or lets go back farther when Indiana thought they were on the cusp of greatness and got rid of Mallory.

The reason he is likely going to Arkansas ask Saban and the others that head south. Different ball game.

And I truly hope those that mention Tressel are just kidding. Just what we need a lying cheat. Great coach but really. Ask Indiana basketball how great it works out hiring someone with a checkered past.

And the person that said he couldn't recruit. Have you been paying attention to the NFL draft lately???


If the SEC is so great, what about Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Oregon? Wisconsin could be among them -- just because they're not in the SEC doesn't mean nobody will want to come here. C'mon, the SEC conference is a bunch of overrated dunder heads in schools who care nothing about academics and just care about breeding the strongest, fastest football team. Most of the Badgers in the NFL lately have been offensive linemen and tight ends and they haven't been all that good (Joe Thomas and J J Watt notwithstanding); SEC has many more NFL players.


The SEC has won 7 of the last 9 National Championships. Those other schools have won exactly zero championships during that period of time.


How quickly we forgot. Fickle, Fickle Badger fans.

The Badgers had back-to-back winless seasons in 1967 and 1968 and after languishing through the early 1970s, the team had a string of seven-win seasons from 1981–84 under Dave McClain. During that time the Badgers played in the Garden State Bowl (1981), Independence Bowl (1982), and Hall of Fame Classic Bowl (1984). After McClain's death in 1986, the Badgers won a total of nine games from 1986 to 1990.

In 1990, Barry Alvarez became the head coach of the Badgers and, following three losing seasons (including a 1–10 campaign in his first year), Alvarez led the Badgers to their first Big Ten championship and first Rose Bowl appearance in over 30 years.


Look I lived through the 60's and 70's with the Badgers--as a fan and student. Iam really tired of people saying--how things are so much better now and therefore we should all be thankful and never criticize the bone head coaching and poor recruiting (Ryan). Just wanting to be better and win championships (do you really think this football team are champions) does not make a bad supporter. Why can not Wisconsin compete SUCCESSFULLY with the best?


Well I suppose all those who have criticized people for being critical of Bielema are now going to come out with--"you will be sorry what you wish for". Well yes Alvarez could really fumble and hire a loser--but his judgement is really what his jobe is all about. Now we will see if he is as good at his job as Richter was when they hired Alvarez. Paul Chryst would be a great hire--in fact when he left last year I felt we were losing the wrong man. On the other hand since he just signed wirh Pitt he may not leave. I really do not know who else would be a great fit. The guy at Boise St. has been successful but his contact may all be out West. So the ball is in Alvarez's court--I am sure with a hot product on his hand like Bielema he has a list of possibilities. It will be interesting to see how Bielema does in the SEC--I would not be too excited if I were an Arkansa fan--SOOEE.


What's Brad Childress doing now days? He's got ties to Wisconsin.


ugg, Childress is a terrible coach. He was an unimaginative offensive coordinator here and nothing special with the Vikes.

Maybe Chryst can be lured back??


The Vikings sent Colonel Klink to the Russian Front, leave him there


Luke Fickle


Barry most likely gave permission for him to talk to ARK and I would bet a plan is in the works. We need to keep our recruits also.


Nice to see that he had such a great relationship with his players. This couldn't wait a few more weeks? classy move coach.


Imagine a world with 3 timeouts left and 2 minutes to play!!!! Going to miss seeing him getting interviewed on the sideline when it's 85 degrees and he is sporting a long sleeved wind shirt/ turtle neck to cover that sculpted body.


Wow, what class. Barry made BB, who says thank you by saying "... and the horse you rode in on."


Mr. PotatoHead was a coach that had a lot to learn when hired, a mistake, and refused to learn as he went along. So get out of here. He rode Coach A's coattails, when UW really deserved an existing topflight coach for a topflight program. So get one this time


Can we please get the Boise State head coach?!?! With our talent and his coaching I think we could be national champs!!!


We'll never forget you Brent.




Beat me to it. But I was at work when I heard.


Hope Alvarez coaches the Rose bowl.....brings back PC!


Darrell Bevell


Nice One!

bob roser
bob roser

Hog farmer goes to the hogs. lol


A friend of mine in Arkansas told me this earlier this afternoon as it was announced on a TV station down there.


BB just got a look at the Stanford game films and knows he's going down for a 3 peat. Time to beat it.


What's Jim Tressel up to these days?


BB trying to out-doeren, doeren.


Best Christmas gift ever!! BB does not have the recruits that Barry gave him, nor the staff, nor the poor down year in the big ten, watch what actually happens to Ark!


A friend of mine in Arkansas sent me the info and it has been announced by Arkansas that he will be their new head coach.


Good! Let door knob go. Worst clock manager ever. Good luck with Alabama and LSU. He'll do the same he did at Wi. Schedule a bunch of pansy non conference games just to qualify for a bowl.


Couldn't this announcement have waited until after the Rose Bowl Game?
Hey, Coach B...don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out. You could have played this differently and more appropriately.


Heading off with the rest of the slack jawed yokels.

Question: IS there a quality coach out there now? Can Bart Miller be moved up again?


If this is True, it could be great for UW!


Does Barry still have Paul Chryst's phone number?


Let him go to Arkansas immediately and have Barry coach the team in the Rose Bowl! Cotac Chris Peterson immediately!!

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