A look at Wisconsin Football’s all-time winningest head coaches

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When you think of the Wisconsin Badgers football program, one man in particular comes to mind, and that’s Barry Alvarez.

The Don served as the University of Wisconsin’s head football coach for 16 seasons, spanning from 1990-2005.

Under his reign, Alvarez compiled a school record 119 wins, three Big Ten Championships, and was twice named Big Ten Coach of the Year before being named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

He was also able to compile a rather impressive coaching tree that includes the likes of Bret Bielma, Paul Chryst, Lance Leipold, Dan McCarney, Jay Norvell, Bill Callahan, and Paul Winters.

Without Alvarez turning the program around and creating a strong culture that has since proceeded him, there is no conceivable way the Badgers would have made a bowl game appearance in 25 of the past 26 seasons.

However, Wisconsin’s football history does in fact extend beyond that of Barry Alvarez, so, BadgersWire breaks down the top 10 all-time winningest head coaches in Wisconsin Football history:

10) J.R. Richards (1911-1922)

Oct 30, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger waves the Wisconsin flag prior to the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Percentage: 0.738

Record: 29-9-4

Bowl Record: 0-0

9) John Jardine (1970-1977)

Sep 8, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger carries the Wisconsin flag through the marching band prior to the game against the New Mexico Lobos at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Percentage: 0.443

Record: 37-47-3

Bowl Record: 0-0

8) Ivy Williamson (1949-1955)

Oct 5, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger carries the Wisconsin flag prior to? the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Percentage: 0.672

Record: 41-19-4

Bowl Record: 0-1

7) Harry Stuhldreher (1936-1948)

Aug 31, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger runs onto the field prior to the game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Percentage: 0.425

Record: 45-62-6

Bowl Record: 0-0

6) Dave McClain (1978-1985)

Wisconsin Badger head coach Dave McClain carries the championship trophy to the dressing room after his team defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 14-3 in the Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La., Dec. 11, 1982. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Winning Percentage: 0.522

Record: 46-42-3

Bowl Record: 1-2

5) Milt Bruhn (1956-1966)

Ron VanderKelen, quarterback of the Wisconsin football team gives his thanks following the presentation of the Big Ten Most Valuable Player Award in Madison, Wis., Feb. 16, 1963. The award was presented by Wilfred Smith, left, sports editor of the Chicago Tribune. Milt Bruhn, right, head coach of Wisconsin and Ivan Williamson, second from right, look on. (AP Photo)

Winning Percentage: 0.534

Record: 52-45-6

Bowl Record: 0-2

4) Paul Chryst (2015-Present)

Oct 16, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst looks to the scoreboard during the second quarter against the Army Black Knights at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Percentage: 0.739

Record: 65-23

Bowl Record: 6-1

3) Phil King (1896-1905)

Sep 7, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger performs during the second quarter against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Percentage: 0.851

Record: 65-11-1

Bowl Record: 0-0

2) Bret Bielema (2006-2012)

Oct 1, 2011; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head football coach Brett Bielema watches the action at the Wisconsin Badgers-Nebraska Cornhuskers football game during the first half at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Winning Percentage: 0.739

Record: 68-24

Bowl Record: 2-4

1) Barry Alvarez (1990-2005)

Badgers head coach Barry Alvarez hugs DB Mike Echols after being dunked with water after the Badgers beat the UCLA Bruins in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1999.
Barry Alvarez Mike Echols

Winning Percentage: 0.609

Record: 118-75

Bowl Record: 9-4

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