Well, this seems all to new to a lot of us in the Badgers blogosphere, that's for sure. Just a few short years ago Bucky's 5th Quarter and this site didn't exist. That means the last time Wisconsin went through a coaching change at any of the major positions not a single one of us were around to give you the latest news, rumors, and down right ridiculous talk about all the craziness that is the coaching carousel.
Think about it, none of us were around covering the team when Mike Eaves, Bret Bielema, and for sure Bo Ryan were hired - I mean we are talking about 7 years since Wisconsin last made a hire in one of it's three main revenue producing sports. So, to say the past 24 hours or less have been a bit crazy is an understatement for us, we can only imagine what it must be like for you.
We're sure your scouring Twitter, Facebook, and any number of Badger related sites for any nugget, hint, or rumor in regards to who's coming to Wisconsin to lead Bucky to back-to-back-to-back-to-back Rose Bowl's next year, right? Well, join the club, as we've been doing the same and doing our own sourcing of information where we can in this matter. We know it can be confusing, so we've got you covered. Consider this as our one stop guide to the coaching rumors in a nice and neat package for you.
The names have stretched from the logical to the borderline ridiculous already and it hasn't even been 24 hours into the process. With that in mind we've categorized the names into four groups: Wishful Thinking (as in we could hope but ain't going to happen), Seriously? (as in get out of here with that crap), You're Getting Hotter (names that could be possibilities but aren't likely), and Enfuego (names that have some serious traction behind them and could be the next man on the sidelines in Madison).
So, without further ado, let's dive take a spin on the coaching carousel! Up first are the names that are just too good to pass up and would be decent choices, but already we know aren't going to happen, basically, Wishful Thinking!
Paul Chryst - This is the one name that has come up time and again, but anyone that knows anything about coach Chryst knows he's a loyal guy and it's hard to see him leaving Pitt after just one year. Besides that, he issued a statement via the Pitt athletic department saying he's not leaving. Yes, we've all heard that one a few thousand times before, but when Chryst says something he usually means what he says. There's no doubt that Alvarez has put a call in to him, he wouldn't be doing his job otherwise, but for us this ship has sailed. Unless some crazy $$$ or a sudden change of heart happen he's not coming back to Wisconsin, at least not right now.
Dave Doeren - His name was another that was quickly brought up, but there's now way it's happening after the ink on his contact at NC State hasn't barely even dried up. Add in the fact that according to a lot of sources and reports out there he wasn't exactly an Alvarez favorite and you can kiss that pipe dream goodbye too. That doesn't mean we here at MTB don't think he would be a good coach, it just means it's hard to see him uprooting after only a few days at one job... He's not Todd Graham after all.
Brad Childress - Um, ya.... about that guy. Look we get that he has ties to the Badgers and specifically Barry Alvarez, but not only did the guy don the Purple and Gold of the Vikings as their head coach, he was an unmitigated disaster in his tenure at the helm of that ship. Then there's the whole fact that he hasn't been part of the college football game in almost two decades at this point. Cross that one off as about as absurd as possible.
Bill Callahan - Again, we get it people, he's got ties to Wisconsin, but those days were nearly twenty years ago now. Since those days we've seen him ruin an NFL franchise in the Oakland Raiders in just one season and see him nearly ruin a damn good program in Nebraska as few as five seasons ago. Again, we've entered the world of the absurd. If this is the hire Alvarez comes up with we're screwed as Badger fans.
Gene Chizik - This one is personal for me. I had to sit through a god awful season of Iowa State football as a student at ISU in his first year at the helm of the program. As it turned out it was actually his best season as he would muster up all of two wins in year 2 before bolting down to Auburn. In 2010 he managed to catch lightening in a bottle and won the national championship. Congrats, but I'm pretty sure any coach in America could've done it with Cam Newton taking snaps that season. Overall his 3 season record was 28-28. Yep, he was 13-0 in one season and 15-28 the other two years since then. Seeing a pattern emerge yet? His teams get good in year one and then tail off. Not exactly a sign of a good head coach. Consider him the Lindy Infante of the college ranks - a great coordinator, but not a great head coach.
Barry Alvarez - Yes, the living Badgers coaching legend could and according to reports will end up being a figure head of sorts for the Badgers Rose Bowl appearance, but that alone should tell you he's not coming back on the Badgers sidelines on a permanent basis. He knows just how bad of a long term idea that is for a program he's in charge of leading as the ATHLETICS DIRECTOR. It ain't happening folks and to suggest as much is completely in another stratosphere.
Jim Tressel - There's no denying the fact this man can coach a football team, that much is true. But to those out there suggesting that Wisconsin hire a man that's under a show/cause penalty just to make a splash clearly haven't been paying attention to what Wisconsin football and Barry Alvarez are all about. Wisconsin does things the right way first and foremost and what part of Jim Tressel's past tells you he does things the right way? Is it the myriad of players that have been in constant trouble with the NCAA or the law? Or is it the numerous program violations that were swept under the rug by the national media while Tressel was guiding Youngstown State? The incident that broke the camel's back, so to speak, was just another in a long line of his pattern of cheating around the lines of NCAA regulations and in some cases blatantly disregarding them. This hire, while maybe good in terms of W's on the field isn't worth the possibility of setting the program back a decade because of something stupid he does once again. There's also the matter of the guy being in his 60's already. Does Wisconsin really want to go through this again in a few short years because he's too old to coach or wants to retire for whatever reason? Come on people...
You're Getting Warmer:
Darrell Bevell - Bevell has a massive Wisconsin connection as a player, having been a four year starter at Wisconsin and a Rose Bowl winning one at that. He's got an extensive coaching record and ties back to the Midwest of course and his name has to be one that Alvarez at least explores a bit. However, he's mainly been an NFL assistant in his coaching career and it's hard to see how he would fit into the program, he has no established recruiting roots and that's important to help keep this current class together. He hasn't coached in the college ranks since his stint at UConn that ended in 1999, when the program wasn't even in I-A football yet. Bevell clearly has guided some successful NFL offenses and that's well and good but I just don't see this as a slam dunk hire and would create a lot more questions than answers at the start. It's not as if it would be a bad hire, it's just one that would have questions that needed to be answered is all.
Willie Taggart - The Western Kentucky head coach has apparently interviewed for the Wisconsin and South Florida jobs according to reports, so where there's smoke there's usually fire. It's something we found out as the day went on on Tuesday. However, my gut tells me that Taggart is heading to South Florida in short order. He has a history of being involved in run orientated offenses and has the Harbaugh name attached to him having played on Jack Harbaugh at WKU and coached with Jim at Stanford before taking over at WKU. He fits the offensive system and this could be a name to keep an eye on should something not happen with the South Florida job. I'd move him up to the next category if there's more known on the South Florida side of things.
Mel Tucker - When you say Wisconsin, you said it all - you said it all about Mel Tucker. He was a member of Barry Alvarez's first Rose Bowl team and is a defensive coach. If there's one pattern that's worked out well at Wisconsin it's hiring defensive minded coaches that believe in a power running game. Tucker is just that and he's got a great mix of coaching experience at both the college and pro level. He's currently the associate head coach and defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But before his time in the NFL Tucker was a Midwest based collegiate coach - making the rounds at Michigan State, Miami (OH), and eventually Ohio State before the NFL came a calling. Tucker was also named the interim head coach for the Jaguars when Jack Del Rio was let go last year, earning a decent 2-3 record, especially considering the circumstances. This is a name that has to be on Alvarez's short list and could fulfill the requirements of having experience, knowledge of and love for Wisconsin and roots in recruiting the likes of Ohio and Florida.
Bob Diaco - Diaco is a name that should be familiar to you, but it may not be. He's the Notre Dame defensive coordinator. Yes, the one behind one of the nation's best defenses, but more importantly he's a man that's respected in a lot of coaching circles and was on the short list at Boston College before they went to Steve Addazio. Diaco is so well respected he just won the Broyles award for the top assistant coach in the country. He's spent the vast majority of his coaching life in the upper Midwest and with his time at Notre Dame as of late it would be a perfect fit in terms of recruiting continuity as ND recruits a lot of the same players Wisconsin does. If there's one thing Wisconsin has done well in the past it's hire defensive coordinators from Notre Dame - just ask the current AD, he was one once.... Now look at him. Oh and then there's this - he played football at the University of Iowa, so he's got a massive Big Ten background to him as well. This is the one name I'm personally keeping the closest eye on early in this process.
No matter what happens these are just early names and speculation on a process that we all probably haven't gotten all the names, nor will we. There is certainly a ton of good names to go around and where this coaching carousel lands no one knows at this point in time.
Keep yourself up to date in this coaching search by following us on Twitter @MTBadgers.
Reading about Taggart on another site and he seemed like a good fit for the offense at Wisconsin. Is he from Florida?
@swenny916 Yes, I believe he's from the Mantee, FL actually so that's why the hire there makes sense, but you are right in that his coaching style is a 100% fit at Wisconsin. Will be an interesting name to watch in all of this.
@andycoppens It's really a turning point in the program. Hire a solid coach and keep in the upper half of the big ten. Hire poorly and drop back to the middle of the pack.
@andycoppens Yeah, I'm sure it's very tough on him. On one side, I'm sure he'd love to be back in Wisconsin, but on the other side I take him as a pretty good guy that won't want to just leave his current players (and a whole staff that followed him to Pitt) out to dry.
@swenny916 Yes, I had seen that and I agree he is Barry's top choice, there's no denying that fact. The question is does Chryst up and leave Pitt after one season? From the little we know of Chryst I say it's 50/50 at best.
@andycoppens Did you see the Potrykus tweet that Chryst is Alvarez's top choice? He also mentioned Al Golden. I dunno if that's just to start talk, but I hadn't heard his name anywhere else.
@swenny916 exactly, as I said last night on Badgers Power Hour, this is going to define Barry's legacy as an AD and possibly overall.