Barry Alvarez has a new contract that will keep him as University of Wisconsin athletic director through 2018. It’s a role he plans to fulfill into his 70s.

“I’ll keep going as long as I keep enjoying it and as long as they want me here,” he said this week.

Alvarez, who turned 66 in December, had an annual performance review with outgoing chancellor David Ward last month and had a year added to his existing deal, keeping it at five years.

Alvarez’s contract calls for a raise of $25,000, which will put his compensation package for 2013-14 at $1.050 million and keep him among the highest-paid college athletic directors in the nation. Of that salary, $500,000 comes from UW Athletics and the rest from gift funds at the UW Foundation.

“I enjoy what I do. I like the people I work with. I like the job,” Alvarez said.

A Hall of Fame football coach of the Badgers from 1990 to 2005, Alvarez will be entering his 10th year as athletic director in 2013-14. The first two were spent in the dual role of coach and AD.

For some perspective, Alvarez will soon be working as AD for his fourth chancellor. The newly hired Rebecca Blank follows Ward, Biddy Martin and John Wiley.

When Alvarez originally agreed to the terms of his contract in 2011, he was one of three athletic directors at NCAA Division I schools to be paid $1 million or more. Now there are nine, according to figures recently compiled by USA Today.

According to the newspaper, David Williams of Vanderbilt is the highest-paid athletic director in the NCAA with a package valued at $3.239 million. A tenured law professor, his duties also include vice chancellor for university affairs.

Alvarez is one of three ADs in the Big Ten Conference known to have seven-figure compensation packages in 2012-13. The others are Shawn Eichorst at Nebraska ($1.123 million) and Gene Smith at Ohio State ($1.099 million).

Eichorst, who grew up in Lone Rock and graduated from UW-Whitewater, served as Alvarez’s deputy athletic director from 2009 to 2011.

Darrell Bazzell, the UW vice chancellor for finance and administration, participated in Alvarez’s latest performance review.

“He takes his job very seriously,” Bazzell said. “We think he hires quality people. I would refer to it as a top-notch department. I think they do an excellent job.”

UW Athletics sponsors 23 sports — 12 for women, 11 for men — and recently approved $133 million in spending authority for 2013-14.

Bazzell was asked to define the biggest challenge facing Alvarez and his department.

“From where I sit, the challenge always is striking a proper balance between remembering that we’re an institution of higher education where academics is front and center, but at the same time maintaining competitive athletic programs,” Bazzell said.

“That’s a real challenge in this day and age where you see ever-increasing amounts of money being devoted to athletics — whether it’s in infrastructure or whether it’s in compensation — and for us to remain competitive we have to figure out where that line is for us.”

Alvarez has an iconic legacy as football coach — resurrecting a national doormat into a program that won three Big Ten titles and three Rose Bowls — but what about one as an administrator?

“I get tired of saying we’re not a sexy school,” he said. “I’d like for us to get our due respect out there, especially to the recruits so you can attract the national recruit.”

Alvarez noted how the UW football team has played in three straight Bowl Championship Series games and how the men’s basketball team has qualified for the NCAA tournament every year since 1999.

“Our consistency is pretty good,” he said. “I don’t know if most people recognize it.”

Alvarez will continue to push that agenda in the coming years.

“I haven’t thought about retirement,” he said.

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(13) comments


I agree, he is a very arrogant individual. And like another poster mentioned...he wanted more money to coach the team in the Rose Bowl........the university should have done the right thing and let one of the assistants take over. This was a huge publicity stunt and he laughed all the way to the bank. He is not ready to retire......heck nether would I if I was making all that money and for the last three years not winning the at the bowl level........when they start playing non-conference teams that are worthy of being on the schedule, then this whole...look at out winning percentage ..... will just be a joke........


and ya wonder why it cost so much to go to college. Americans over paid greed needs to stop!


When will this insanity end??? A million dollars???? A kid's struggle to pay tuition. This is a sad statement of the UW's priorities. A Cardiac surgeon makes half of sad is that?.


mbadger - any successes the UW sports programs have enjoyed are a direct result of the efforts of Pat Richter. I give Alvarez credit as a football coach, but what qualifies him to be athletic director, and what has he accomplished on his own? He chose his replacement without going through proper channels, and we all know any success the football team has had since was not Bielama's doing. Even Bielema recognized that and bailed after his assistant coaches left. Arkansas's loss is our gain. The only improvement we've seen is in Barry's salary. The only reason he's not in Miami is because Donna Shalala wouldn't pay him the compensation package he was demanding. The only ankle biters are the sand fleas around Barry's Florida home.


Agree. I especially believe you are spot on with Pat Richter as the execution of his duties was of the highest quality and special. Special, because Pat's style & demeanor included humility which is such a contrast to Barry's arrogance.

Maui Jim

You both are spot on!! I have no doubt that in his own mind Barry wonders why his statue isn't larger than Pats'.


When competent people are well paid for a job well done, the ankle biters, who have never accomplished anything in their own lives, come out of the woodwork.


I've accomplished plenty in my lifetime...likely worked harder than the Imperial Potentate, Barry Alvarez, for far less money. It's just downright ridiculous. You Badger Bleeders can have him. I gave up my season tickets years ago, as I saw the prices go higher and higher, while coaches' and Barry's salaries rocketed. No thanks...I'd rather spend my money where it's appreciated.


If you have likely worked harder, for far less money, then your choice of occupation wasn't as profitable as college athletics. Like it or not, different professions have different levels of earnings. That's the way it is...


It must be nice being a state worker and getting a raise. I guess that only happens to those who already make over a million a year. This guy is an embarassment to the university if you have ever seen him at his grandsons football games. Its time to move on from the Barry Days. Lets raise the seat cusion price so the little people can pay for this.

Mr LaMarr

He's not worth it. None of them are.


Looks like the seat cushion price increase is paying off already.


That is a mistake. He will spend it all in Florida, where he lives.

I lost respect for him after he asked for more money to replace one of his coaches that left him.

Maybe he can "move up" to SEC Arkansas. Love to see him join Brent Bilema and his "wife" calling the pigs - go to 13:45 to remind yourself of the class Barry hired as his successor.

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