Barry Alvarez announced his retirement during a celebration in Madison on Tuesday, making official what had been reported by various media outlets in the past two weeks.
Alvarez has been at the University of Wisconsin for nearly 32 years, including the final 18 as the school’s Director of Athletics and will officially retire on June 30, 2021.
Under his watch, Wisconsin produced 16 National Championship teams and 74 conference regular-season or tournament crowns. In 2017-18, the 74-year-old Alvarez captured Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year honors.
His impact goes beyond the playing field too. Alvarez oversaw numerous capital projects and inspired donors to contribute more than $150 million over the past 10 years. During his tenure, UW Athletics’ endowment to support student-athlete scholarships more than doubled and rose to one of the largest in the Big Ten.
When Alvarez arrived in 1990 as the head football coach, the Athletic Department was in debt and struggling for fan support. The revival of the football program was the kickstart for the entire success of the athletic program in Madison.
During Alvarez’ tenure in Madison, the UW football team has played in 26 bowl games (including a Big Ten-best 19 straight) and won six Big Ten titles. One of just 16 football coaches in Big Ten history to win at least 100 games at one school, Alvarez retired from coaching after the 2005 season as the school’s all-time winningest coach with a record of 119-74-4. He led the Badgers to three Big Ten titles and three Rose Bowl victories.
Alvarez was voted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2009, the College Football Hall of Fame and UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, and the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame in 2016.
The UW Athletic Board will meet in closed session on Wednesday to ‘consider employment of a new athletic director.’
It’s been no secret that Alvarez would like the University to hire his Deputy Director, Chris McIntosh, who has been with the program since 2017. McIntosh played for the Badgers and is a former All-American.
What advice would Alvarez give his eventual successor?
“Learn Wisconsin, Understand the state,” said Alvarez. “Understand this university and the idiosyncracies of this university and the politics of both the state and the university, realize there is a way to get it done. There are no shortcuts.”