Bielema, the nation's second-youngest head coach at age 36, is the second Wisconsin coach ever to be so honored. Bielema's predecessor, Barry Alvarez, won the award in both 1993 and 1998. The Big Ten Coach of the Year award is named after the late Dave McClain, who coached the Badgers from 1978-85.
Bielema, the only rookie head coach in conference history to pilot his team to at least 10 wins, has directed the Badgers to an 11-1 overall record and a 7-1 Big Ten mark that was good for a second-place tie with Michigan. The 2006 Wisconsin squad is the first in school history to win 11 regular season games. The 11 victories tied the school record for wins in a season with a bowl game still left to play.
The Badgers are currently ranked No. 8 in the BCS standings, No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 10 according to the Associated Press. The Wisconsin defense is ranked No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency, No. 2 in passing yards allowed, No. 3 in total yards allowed and No. 4 in points allowed. The Badger offense is second in the Big Ten in scoring and third in total yards.