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Barry Alvarez tells Wisconsin fans ‘don’t panic’ about coaching search

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Dr. Saturday

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In coaching search time, 13 days is a really long period. Most schools with a vacancy operate at a breakneck pace. Cincinnati, for example, didn't seem to take 13 hours before replacing Butch Jones with Tommy Tuberville. If you are patient, you will likely watch as every decent candidate goes somewhere else, and you run the risk of assistants fleeing around the country while you wait.

This is what has happened at Wisconsin.

Since Bret Bielema left suddenly for Arkansas on Dec. 4, there has been very little news out of Wisconsin about its coaching search. When Eddie Faulkner took a job at NC State, he became the sixth assistant coach to leave the Badgers staff in the past two weeks.

But, despite all this, Barry Alvarez told Wisconsin fans not to worry.


[More NCAA football: Bowl season kicks off in thrilling fashion]

"We're spoiled here because we were probably one of the most stable programs in the country with me being here 16 years [and] elevating an assistant [Bielema] for seven years, but this happens around the country," Alvarez told reporters, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

"I'll hire a good coach and this program will continue being very good. So, for those that are panicking, don't panic. We'll take care of business here and this program will be in excellent hands."

It's hard not to be panicked in Wisconsin, considering every hot name has already been hired as Alvarez has taken his time.

Alvarez, who cited a mandatory two-week waiting period after the job was posted as a reason the search hasn't been conducted more quickly, does deserve the benefit of the doubt until the final decision is made. But with all the other major vacancies filled long ago (in terms of the coaching search clock, anyway), there's certainly reason for Wisconsin fans to look at what's left among reasonably available candidates and feel a sense of concern. There aren't many good reasonably available candidates -- unless Alvarez has a huge surprise in store -- that haven't already gotten a new job. The Badgers seem like the last program without a seat in a high-stakes game of musical chairs.

The Badgers apparently have been talking to former Wisconsin player and current Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Melvin Tucker, who seems like a good candidate. Alvarez said he has one more person he wants to interview. Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's name has been rumored about as a good fit. Alvarez was Notre Dame's defensive coordinator before coming to Wisconsin in 1990. But there haven't been any definitive reports that Diaco has interviewed with Wisconsin or that the Badgers are after him. There have been reports that Miami's Al Golden -- who is at a school that is likely facing massive NCAA sanctions -- and Oregon State's Mike Riley decided they weren't interested in the job.

But, Alvarez says he has a plan and will get a good coach. Maybe he will. It'll just be well after everyone else has picked their new head coach.

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