Alvarez sees hope for Kill, Gophers

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2011 - 6:33 AM

The Badgers athletic director and former coach knows how to rebuild a program and sees progress at U.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who as head coach from 1990-2005 turned around the Badgers football program when it might have been in worse shape than the Gophers', said he believes Jerry Kill will do the same thing at Minnesota.

"Our entire athletic department was bankrupt when we came into Madison," said Alvarez, who was in the Twin Cities on Saturday when the Badgers won their eighth consecutive game over the Gophers.

Alvarez, who said he wasn't completely familiar with the Gophers roster, said it was tough rebuilding at Wisconsin.

"We probably had four legitimate Division I players on our team," Alvarez said. "We basically had to start from scratch. We were fortunate that we were able to, in a very short time, put together an outstanding recruiting class in about three weeks that ended up leading us to the first Rose Bowl.

"They understood what we wanted. They were guys that liked football, they were physical kids and tough kids and they bought into what we were selling. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes a solid plan. You have to have a solid and a sound plan to execute and you can't compromise and you can't drift from it and everybody has to buy into it."

Alvarez and I have been friends for a long time, dating to his time as an assistant coach at Iowa and Notre Dame, and I advised him not to take the job when he asked me while I was in Miami to cover the Notre Dame-Colorado Orange Bowl game. Alvarez was there as defensive coordinator for the Irish.

It turned out I was wrong. But checking the records of the Wisconsin coaches previous to Alvarez, it's easy to see it was a tough rebuilding situation. The Badgers went 6-27 under Don Morton, who was coach from 1987-1989.

With Alvarez as coach, the Badgers were 1-10 in 1990, then 5-6 in both '91 and '92 before Wisconsin went 10-1-1 in his fourth year and beat UCLA 21-16 in the Rose Bowl. Before that season, the Badgers had not won a Big Ten title since 1962. The Gophers have not won a title since sharing the 1967 crown.

"Our third year we were a pretty good team," Alvarez said. "We lost some very close games in the last couple seconds; our guys just didn't know how to win. But we were a pretty good team that year. We opened with the defending national champs, Washington, at Washington, and played them very well. We were a very decent team that year and the next year [the fourth season], we went to the Rose Bowl.

"We have some outstanding coaches, and I know Minnesota has outstanding coaches. We ask our guys to do things the right way. We get the kind of kids that fit our program. We're not going to go out and get five-star guys. We're going to keep our best players at home. The guys that come into our place want to be here and know exactly how they're going to be coached and what's going to be asked of them. It's not rocket science."

Likes Gophers' future

Alvarez still studies Badgers opponents and watched game film of the Gophers' 42-13 to Wisconsin.

"I think they play hard. I saw them play earlier in the year. They're better," he said. "That's how I judge how things are going: Do you consistently improve throughout the season? It's obvious the players know what's expected of them. I didn't see a lot of busts. I saw what I expected to see."

Alvarez is impressed with Kill, whom he calls a good coach.

"The thing I'm impressed with is he has a plan," Alvarez said. "He's inserted his plan every place he's been, he's been successful every place he's been. It takes time. But I think he's done a good job thus far implementing what he believes in and getting his kids to believe in it."

One reason Alvarez succeeded was that the Wisconsin president at the time, Donna Shalala, played a big part in the program's improvement by giving him all the weapons he needed to win.

And now one reason I believe the Gophers will put together a winning program is that Minnesota now has a president, Eric Kaler, who like Shalala, believes a winning football program is important to a college.

Mason stays with BTN

New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs has known Glen Mason since he and the former Gophers coach were both at Ohio State.

So Krebs, who after leaving Ohio State was athletic director at Bowling Green and is now in his sixth year in Albuquerque, must have considered hiring Mason as the successor to the fired Mike Locksley when he spoke with Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi about Mason. Maturi said he gave Mason a good review.

But apparently Mason, who is working doing football commentary for the Big Ten Network and isn't returning calls, didn't show an interest in the job and former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie was named to the post.

Jottings

• The Gophers football team, in dire need of help in the secondary, had three highly rated junior college defensive backs here Saturday. They got a commitment from Jeremy Baltazar, a cornerback from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.

• Gophers senior Hassan Mead was named the Midwest Region Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field/Cross-Country Coaches Association on Wednesday. Mead also won the award in 2008 and 2009. The Gophers cross-country team will compete at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind, on Monday.

• Twins Minor League Player of the Year Brian Dozier continues to do well in the Arizona Fall League, which wraps up this week. He is hitting .286 with three homers and 22 RBI in 25 games for the Mesa Solar Sox. The shortstop also started and homered in the league's Rising Stars Game on Nov. 5 in Surprise, Ariz.

• Delmon Young, the outfielder who was traded by the Twins to the Tigers on Aug. 15, is arbitration eligible. It looks like he will not be offered a multi-year deal this year, because the Tigers believe Young will be motivated by his becoming a free agent after next season.

• Look for Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who will earn $9 million in a three-year period with the Twins, to start next season in Class AAA Rochester.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Barry Alvarez (left)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 10 4th Qtr 12:45
Jacksonville 14
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 87 4th Qtr 4:05
Houston 79
Milwaukee 25 2nd Qtr 11:21
Sacramento 32
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd 5:58
Montreal 1
St. Louis 0 1st Prd 19:34
Los Angeles 0
Edmonton 0 1st Prd 20:00
San Jose 0
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 71 2nd Half 2:52
UAB 65
Ohio 57 2nd Half 6:13
Evansville 59
CS-Dominguez 15 1st Half 4:28
Cal State Fullerton 21
Walla Walla 16 1st Half 4:00
Idaho 38
DePaul 17 1st Half 7:20
Oregon State 28
Nevada 15 1st Half 4:20
Pacific 28
Portland State 15 1st Half 3:30
San Francisco 33
CS-Bakersfield 8 1st Half 11:25
Utah State 12
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 69 2nd Half 2:43
Oregon 61
(19) Oklahoma St 47 2nd Half 4:01
Weber State 43
Washington 62 2nd Half 2:50
San Diego State 44
Cal Poly 54 2nd Half 7:24
New Mexico 62
(10) Louisville 56 2nd Half 7:56
Grand Canyon 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close