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Rose Bowl 2013: Barry Alvarez balances game, Wisconsin coaching search

The Badgers' athletic director has found new life as he relishes the opportunity to act as head coach during the Rose Bowl.

Jeff Gross

It didn't take long for Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez to move forward after receiving the shocking news that his No. 1 choice as head coach, Brett Bielema, left for the SEC.

The soon-to-be 66-year-old announced just days after Bielema's departure that he would be returning to the sidelines after a seven-year hiatus from coaching. He remains the athletic director, however, and he now has to balance the administrative responsibilities of finding a new head coach with those required of coaching the Badgers' most important game of the season. But he doesn't see it as any type of pressure.

''It's fun to be around these kids,'' Alvarez said Sunday following Wisconsin's fourth bowl practice. ''It's just a great group of guys. It's fun for me to be around this staff, be a little closer to this staff. It's been enjoyable.''

Wisconsin will play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 against No. 8 Stanford, and it was the Badgers' seniors that personally asked that Alvarez lead them in the game. Wisconsin has lost the last two Rose Bowl games and will try to turn things around on New Year's Day.