A whirlwind of rumors and speculation have hit Madison since former Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bret Bielema left for the Arkansas job.
With all the uncertainty behind Barry Alvarez’s search for the next coach, almost all of the assistants have decided to leave the program.
The latest assistant coach to leave the Badgers program was tight end coach Eddie Faulkner who will join Dave Doeren’s staff at NC State. Faulker is the sixth assistant to reportedly take a job somewhere else, leaving just three assistants on the payroll. Of those three (running backs coach Thomas Hammock, o-line coach Bart Miller and secondary coach Ben Strickland), Hammock is the only one mulling over a current offer to join Bielema at Arkansas. Here’s a review of the other moves:
Chris Ash (Defensive Coordinator) – Arkansas
Zach Azzanni (Wide Receivers Coach) – Tennessee
Andy Buh (Linebackers Coach) – Cal
Matt Canada (Quarterback/Offensive Coordinator) – NC State
Charlie Partridge (Defensive Line/Defensive Coordinator) – Arkansas
Meanwhile, the search for a head coach has been full of different ideas and opinions.
On Sunday, Alvarez told the media, “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.”
Here are the candidates that seem most likely:
Current Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker – Tucker is a former Badger and reportedly met with the team over the weekend. He initially said he wasn’t interested in the job, but the NFL season is now winding down and he could be thinking a lot more about his future. Tucker would seemingly be a good fit because of his defensive mind and would most likely bring in his own team of assistants. I would say Tucker is the frontrunner.
Current Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco – Diaco has reportedly “not heard” from Wisconsin, but that doesn’t mean his agent hasn’t been contacted or that Alvarez won’t reach out to him soon. Barry was a former Notre Dame defensive coordinator and has ties with the school. Plus, we do know Diaco was interested in the Temple job and is willing to leave South Bend.
Current Bowling Green Head Coach Dave Clawson – Clawson does have the head coaching experience that Alvarez is looking for, but his mediocre track record at Fordham, Richmond, Tennessee and Bowling Green isn’t going to wow boosters and fans.
Barry Alvarez Himself? – This was an idea that the Wisconsin State Journal’s Andy Baggot floated out there in a radio spot. While this is entirely possible if he can’t find the right fit, I would be shocked to see Alvarez take over the program for what would be a short stint. Wouldn’t be great for recruiting and it would leave you wondering why all the assistants had to leave.
What do you think of the Badgers search for a head coach so far? Are they waiting too long? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bret Bielema to Arkansas (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
Barry Alvarez (usatoday.com)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks