Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez announced his retirement on Tuesday after 32 years at the university, effective June 30.
He spent the past 18 seasons leading the Badgers’ athletic department after 16 seasons as the football coach; he held both positions for two seasons. During his tenure, Wisconsin sports have won 16 national team titles and 74 Big Ten regular-season or tournament championships. He was named Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year in 2017-18.
“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, 74, said. “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.”
Alvarez arrived in Madison in 1990 and turned a downtrodden football team into a perennial Big Ten contender, leading them to three Rose Bowl titles until he stepped aside in 2005 to concentrate on his duties as athletic director.
The football team was 119-74-4 in his 16 seasons, including 9-4 in bowl games. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
“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. “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.”
Alvarez is credited with overseeing a fundraising drive that brought in more than $150 million over the past 10 years as well as numerous capital projects. Under his leadership, the university instilled the Forward 360 initiative, which provides support for athletes in academics, career and leadership, inclusion and engagement, nutrition, and strength and conditioning.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who played one season at Wisconsin, was among the first to extend well wishes to his former coach.
“‘Son … there’s this school up north, University of Wisconsin. They’ve got this Hall of Fame Coach, Barry Alvarez. You should play for him one day’ -My dad HBW III when I was 10,” Wilson tweeted. “Thanks for everything Coach. Grateful we got to spend such quality time together that year!”
Alvarez was set to meet the media Tuesday afternoon.
–Field Level Media