Nayes named director of football operations

Former Wisconsin student manager returns from NFL position to take job on Bielema's staff

As a student manager on the University of Wisconsin football team, Bill Nayes witnessed first-hand the Badgers' last head coaching transition. Now, after nine seasons working in football operations with two NFL teams, Nayes is returning to Wisconsin in time to be a part of its current head coaching transition, from Barry Alvarez to Bret Bielema.

Tuesday, the 37-year-old Nayes was announced as the Badgers new assistant athletic director/director of football operations. He will return to Madison after serving in football operations with the Super Bowl runner-up Seattle Seahawks since 1999.

"Bill was a challenging hire because I had to work very hard to get him," Bielema said in a prepared statement. "He will be a great asset to our football program. Bill has several years of experience in the NFL, but he also is a Wisconsin graduate and former Badger football manager, so he is the best of both worlds for us here. I'm thrilled to have him join our staff."

Nayes, a native of Boyd, Wis., a town of roughly 700 people some 30 miles east of Eau Claire, became a student manager at UW in the fall of 1989, the last season of Don Morton's tenure as head coach. He remained a student manager through the early years of Barry Alvarez's career with the Badgers and in May 1994 became a program assistant at UW.

"I'll never forget the first day Coach Alvarez—his first team meeting," Nayes said in a telephone interview. "Within 30 seconds of the start of it… you knew right away this was a whole different deal."

Nayes interned with the Green Bay Packers in January 1997 and was hired by head coach Mike Holmgren as an administrative assistant/football operations for the Packers later that year. Nayes stayed in Green Bay until Holmgren took the head coaching position with the Seahawks in 1999. After a year as an administrative assistant/football operations in Seattle, Nayes was promoted to football operations coordinator/team travel in February 2000. He maintained that position until this week, when he accepted Bielema's offer to return to UW.

Nayes interviewed with Bielema in Madison soon after the Super Bowl.

"When I was there, it was a two-way street," Nayes said. "He was interviewing me but this is a big move for me to come out there. I have a pretty good job here. So I was kind of feeling him out."

Bielema sold Nayes on the move back to Wisconsin. It helped that Nayes has maintained a friendship with associate athletic director John Chadima and he felt a comfort-level in having his old boss, Alvarez, as the school's athletic director.

With the Seahawks, Nayes was responsible for all aspects of the team's group travel, including budget, team charters, hotel accommodations, meal arrangements and ground transportation. He organized the Seahawks' mini-camps and training camps and created and implemented team operations schedules.

His job with Wisconsin will be somewhat similar. Essentially, his task is to make sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes. He will organize travel and practice schedules, for instance, and serve as a football program liaison to other departments on campus.

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