Within some college football programs, the head coach is little more than a figurehead that distributes work amongst his assistants and takes credit for the program's success. Those that follow Wisconsin football understand that isn't the case with Barry Alvarez. While Alvarez has earned legendary status within the state of Wisconsin over the past decade and is recognized nationally as one of the top coaches in the business, he works every bit as hard as his assistants.
The combination of Alvarez' work ethic and celebrity status is something the UW staff has decided to take better advantage of this season. During the May recruiting period, Alvarez was a regular at the Madison airport, making trips all over the nation to visit top prospects. Alvarez has always had an active hand in the recruiting process, and has regularly visited prospects when his schedule permitted. But this spring, Alvarez made trips to visit some areas he hasn't seen in a while, including several East Coast states and Texas.
The presence of Alvarez could make a huge difference when many of the Badgers' top recruits begin to set up official visits and narrow down their decision.
Quarterbacks Coach Jeff Horton said Alvarez' trip to the Lonestar State could prove to be very important come Signing Day.
"That made a big impact," Horton said. "A lot of those coaches have seen him on TV or those kinds of things, but they have never met him in person. Obviously when you have a long distance between Texas and Wisconsin, those guys feel comfortable with me, but they need to know Coach Alvarez better. So by us getting him down there and him getting a chance to meet and talk with the coaches one-on-one really made a big step for us. I think it even upped our recruiting efforts in Texas."
Alvarez makes a regular practice of writing handwritten letters to top prospects as well, which was a difference-maker in several commitments last season. While the majority of the Badger coaching staff is getting some rest and relaxation until it convenes for a staff meeting July 21, Recruiting Coordinator Jeremy Sinz has encouraged all of the coaches to continue pumping out more handwritten letters.
"Handwritten notes are as important as anything we do," Sinz said. "When we had our last meeting, I reminded the guys to continue to get those handwritten notes to your kids, let them know how you're doing, find out how they're doing and things like that. I think in the end, that sways guys as much as anything. Who's showing them the most personal attention?"
Alvarez understands that as well as anybody, and has given the Badgers' top recruits attention through handwritten notes, in-home and school visits, and this season, visiting new areas during the spring to get a jump start on the process.
Alvarez Earning Frequent Flyer Miles
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