Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says he has "moved on" from the Rose Bowl loss and from a tumultuous December that began with coach Bret Bielema leaving for Arkansas just three days after guiding the team to a Big Ten championship.
Alvarez tells the Wisconsin State Journal's Andy Baggot that he has no regrets or second guesses about the way he coached the Rose Bowl, a 20-14 Badgers defeat against Stanford. But when it comes to Bielema's departure, and specifically the way the coach left for Arkansas, Alvarez still sounds ticked off by the situation.
From the State Journal:
Alvarez used the word "ambushed" to describe it.
"I've moved on," Alvarez declared. "He left. I know the business. I don't have any problem with that."
"I just didn't like some of the things that went down afterwards or how he did it," Alvarez said, citing Bielema's public complaint regarding salaries for assistant coaches. "You made the decision to go to Arkansas. Go to Arkansas. Good luck. You don't have to take any swipes. I just didn't appreciate that."
Was Bielema out of line for citing assistant pay as a reason for his departure to Arkansas? I don't really think so. When you make a surprising move like Bielema did, people want answers and the assistant pay issue certainly makes sense as Bielema lost six assistants after the 2011 season.
I doubt Alvarez appreciated Bielema and former Wisconsin assistant Dave Doeren hiring away most of Wisconsin's assistants before Alvarez could officially name Gary Andersen as the team's next head coach. Bielema also only approached Alvarez about his situation after deciding he would take the Arkansas job. But, as Alvarez notes, that's the business.
Alvarez and Bielema have yet to talk since Bielema's departure. Alvarez hopes to do so "someday." It's unfortunate because the two men were extremely close. I saw them interact at several practices and games I've covered the past few years. Few coaches and ADs had such a tight bond.
It sounds like a lot more time must pass before the relationship can be mended.