Retiring Badgers AD Alvarez: It’s ‘been an honor’

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  • Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
  • Graduate of Northwestern University.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez will retire from his post June 30, he announced Tuesday.

Alvarez, 74, has led Wisconsin’s athletic department since 2004 and served as the Badgers’ football coach from 1990 to 2005, where he revived the program with three Big Ten championships and three Rose Bowl victories. He spent two seasons as both athletic director and head football coach roles before moving fully into an administrative role.

Alvarez is the third longest-tenured athletic director at a major program, trailing only Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione and Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart.

“It has been an honor to be a part of Wisconsin Athletics and I take great pride in all we have accomplished over the last three decades,” Alvarez said in a prepared statement. “From championships, to improvements on campus, to impacting thousands of student-athletes, it’s been a great ride. I’m grateful for the support, generosity, enthusiasm and loyalty of Badgers in the state of Wisconsin and beyond. Thank you.”

Wisconsin won 16 team national titles and 74 conference regular-season or tournament championships during Alvarez’s tenure as athletic director. The Badgers football team had gone 9-36 in the four seasons before Alvarez’s arrival. After a 1-10 debut in 1990, the Badgers in 1993 won the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl, finishing No. 6 nationally. Wisconsin won the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl again in 1998 and 1999.

Alvarez went 119-72-4 as Wisconsin’s coach from 1990 to 2005, and then stepped in to coach the team in the 2013 Rose Bowl (loss) and the 2015 Outback Bowl (win).

“We thank Barry for his hard work, devotion to UW-Madison, and the standard of excellence he has set for our athletic program,” chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a prepared statement. “His work here has positively impacted the lives of countless student-athletes who have come through our doors. His leadership has also lifted our university and our state. Barry’s legacy will live on whenever Badgers take the field.”

Wisconsin deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh, a former All-America offensive lineman and captain under Alvarez, has long been viewed as a potential successor. But the school will conduct a full search for Alvarez’s replacement.

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