"Hall of Fame in Wisconsin wasn't one of the things I had listed, I'll have to admit," Alvarez said was a laugh.
It's already been a big year for Alvarez, getting a bronze statue outside Camp Randall and being inducted into the state of Wisconsin's Hall of Fame in Milwaukee and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in Pasadena, California. On Friday, it's another humbling honor for Alvarez, as Wisconsin's Director of Athletics will be one of the seven members of the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame class of 2010 will be celebrated.
"Obviously this is a tremendous honor for me," Alvarez said. "I'm thrilled. I'm humbled. When you're selected … to go into a hall of fame, one that means so much to me, naturally, it's very rewarding."
Improving from a 1-10 opening season to three Rose Bowls in his 15-year career, Alvarez is one of the main reasons Wisconsin football is now looked upon with respect instead of disregard, something he takes a small ounce of pride in every Football Saturday.
When it comes to plans, Alvarez rarely deviates from his end-all objective. He did it in recruiting, he did it with conference and Rose Bowl champions and he did it when he retired.
When then Athletic Director Pat Richter gave Alvarez the opportunity to get the job done, a reason why the two remain good friends 20-plus years later, Alvarez modeled his career plan after college coach Bob Devaney, who started out as a high school coach, moved to college coaching, took a head coaching job at a place that was down, built it up, sustained it and got into administration.
Alvarez got his chance at the latter when he succeeded Richter as UW Athletic Director in 2004, on the condition that he could do both jobs well, keep his administration happy and, more importantly, keep himself happy. Although Alvarez had a good deputy athletic director in Jamie Pollard (currently the director of athletics at Iowa State), he still had to make all the final decisions (forcing him to stay abreast of all the news), meet with the staff, run the football program and be a visible figure at all times.
Stepping away after the 2006 Capital One Bowl, Alvarez won 118 games in his 16 years on the Badger sideline, one of only 12 head coaches to win at least 100 games at one Big Ten institution. His Badger teams were at their best in the postseason as his 8-3 career record in bowl games is the best in NCAA history among coaches with at least 11 bowl appearances.
A two-time national coach of the year, Alvarez coached 62 first-team All-Big Ten selections, 59 NFL draft choices, 34 All-Americans and nine NFL first-round picks.
"I am delighted that Barry is being honored for having transformed Badger football with this induction," UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin said. "His ability to help players develop and use their potential on and off the field is now legendary, as is his remarkable success on the field."
It's only going to get better for Alvarez. Chosen for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation and the university will honor Alvarez during the September 18 football game against Arizona State.
"Barry Alvarez took a program that had won six games in the three seasons prior to his arrival and turned them into a perennial powerhouse for more than a decade. There was never a doubt that he was headed to the Hall of Fame," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "He's the ultimate competitor, recruiter and tactician, and he been a great mentor to a slew of current head coaches. We look forward to the tremendous honor of traveling to Camp Randall Stadium to hear the crowds cheer his name in appreciation."
The members of the Wisconsin Hall of Fame class of 2010 also include football player Don Davey (1987-91), wrestler Donny Pritzlaff (1997-2001), women's swimmer Ellen Stonebraker (1997-2001), men's track and field athlete Dick Houden (1947) and football and track and field athlete Dan Lanphear (1957-59).