Bret Bielema’s slight shot at Wisconsin is telling for the school and the Big Ten


bret bielema tweet

Arkansas’ new head coach, Bret Bielema, has been anything  but shy in regards to expressing his feelings on almost anything via twitter.

The former Wisconsin Badgers head coach has increased his online activity ten-fold since moving to Fayetteville and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

It’s obvious that Bielema hasn’t completely moved on from his former job, evident from petty fights with disgruntled Badgers fans, but not all of his thoughts are random twitter fodder.

Some of his tweets accurately reflect why the Big Ten currently resides so far behind the nation’s mecca of college football, the much-hated Southeastern Conference.

On Monday, Bielema decided to go all-caps on one of his four tweets for the day. The typography was all that was needed to confirm exactly why he left behind the Big Ten to join the SEC which has yielded the last seven national champions.

At Wisconsin, Bielema took the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls and did a tremendous job of developing talent while churning out NFL prospects year after year.

With success, it’s fairly common to see assistants leave for better jobs, but it became an epidemic in Madison when six assistants left prior to the 2012 season.

Speculation shot towards Bielema’s personality, but it really came down to the almighty dollar. Even though the Badgers became one of the conference’s powerhouses over the last decade, they failed to increase assistants’ salaries, ranking near the bottom of the league in the category.

It’s not just a Wisconsin problem, but a Big Ten one. The average assistant makes a significant amount more ($50,000 – $100,000 on average) in the Big 12 or SEC than they do in the Big Ten. Ohio State and Michigan spend like the elite programs they are, but schools on the rise like Wisconsin will have to spend more if they want to become elite. (Numbers and conclusions drawn from USA Today’s database of salaries)

With the playoff being introduced in 2014, it will become even more important for Athletic Director Barry Alvarez and the Badgers to increase their pay for assistants and keep good coaches in order to stay relevant for as long as possible.

Where do you stand on Bielema’s remark on twitter about keeping his staff together? Does Wisconsin need to increase their salary pool for assistants? 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

*Image obtained from


  1. I didnt know the big ten is so lagging in that area, no wonder they’re falling behind on the field

  2. Yeah, Wisconsin is particularly bad about it. It’s not like they don’t have the money. They’re already losing the recruiting battle, so you would think they would take care of good coaching. Illinois spends a decent amount, so I don’t know what their problem is, haha.

  3. i wasnt aware that the more money you (take) makes you a better coach.i realize the incentive,but does that mean on 3rd down you punt?

  4. There are many more important places to spend money than egotistical coaches. BB takes credit for many things that were the result of others. Out coached most of the time due to his failure to use proper manpower, clock management and his ego. His personal life was very questionable although kept quiet by much of the local media. A media hog and allegedly a womanizer. Arkansas can have him. He won’t be there long and the Badgers will still have respect and success.

  5. Steve and Am Ish Jr., I think you guys missed the point of the article. The article has more to do with keeping good assistants around more than it has to do with keeping Bielema around. Bielema wasn’t underpaid, his assistants were. I completely agree that Bret was a iffy in-game coach. But my point is that the Badgers will have to pony up to keep around assistants if they want sustained success. Which they’ve already started to do by paying their new offensive and defensive coordinators more than they have in the past.

  6. @Steve punt on third down? yes, if your name is Tim Beckman, most certainly

  7. Glad Bielema is gone. Should have paid him less and the assistants more.

  8. Neil you are correct, the big 10 needs to be competetive in pay. As fsr as recruiting goes, the big 10 recruits class unlike sec who does not care about character as evident in alabama. BB was always out coached by better coaches in the big 10 and wiscy and the big 10 are better without him and his lack of professionalism.

  9. Ken, how was Bielema outcoached in the Big Ten? He won three straight Big Ten Championships. He was outcoached in bowl games, but not the Big Ten.

  10. Nick, yes he won three big 10 titles, but lets look at the break down of the conference games. 2011 MSU VS WI coach bb bad coaching decisions throught entire game. 2011 OSU vs WI another poor coaching job by bb. 2011 MSU Vs Wi, coach bb gets lucky with great acting job by punter. 2012 3 games in conference play where coachbb cannot get his team ready to play against quality teams. During the seasons of his coaching there were several times he was out coached due to his arrogance of changing schemes. Just my obsevations of bb being out coached

  11. Ken, I agree with most of your points, but all coaches make mistakes. It’s not a perfect science. Considering that he was able to lead the Badgers to that position should be credited, not criticized. In-game coaching was one of his weaknesses. I’m not trying to be a Bielema apologist, I just think he’s getting a bad rep from most Badgers fans. Moreover, there’s some truth in him complaining about the assistants salaries while at Wisconsin.

  12. Totally agree about the fans just need to let it go. I think overall the badgers and coach BB needed to move on for their future success. As a badger fan i can tell you i am anxious to see the new look coach GA is going to bring. Hopefully wisconsin will be more competetive both on the field and in salaries

  13. I completely agree Ken. I’m looking forward to covering a new regime in Madison for sure. First impressions for Gary Andersen are very high!

  14. Well, I think you can safely say they have upped the ante some with the new staff. Position coaches aren’t making much if any more than they were, but the OC and DC received a nearly $200,000 pay raise over what their predecessors made just a season ago.

    With a stretched budget this season that’s a great first step in the right direction to say the least.

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