NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Security or money? That’s the choice that now-ex Wisconsin football coach Brett Bielema faced. Money won out. ($2.4-M at UW, $4-M to go to Arkansas.)
Bielema was the hand-picked successor to Barry Alvarez to coach the Wisconsin football team. He had the unquestioned support of his Athletic Director. He could have coached at Wisconsin forever. In the end, a man who is already a millionaire decided getting more millions was better than that. Bielema will find that if his new team is below .500 in 2013, there will be grumblings about whether he’s the right man for the job in less than a year. He’ll be fired at the end of 2014 if he doesn’t have a winning team by then.
FYI: Arkansas will be an underdog in 5 of its 8 Southeastern Conference games next year :Florida, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina. That assumes other teams like Rutgers or Mississippi State, who the Razorbacks lost to last year, don’t spring an upset.
There are no untouchable coaches anymore in college football. The era of Bo Schembechler, Joe Paterno, and Bobby Bowden is over. The next best thing is a friendly athletic director. But at the big football schools of the south, AD’s also get swept overboard when the team doesn’t win. In college football, there truly is no substitute for victory.
Bielema is willing to trade a decade or more in Madison for two years or so of big money in Little Rock. He’s signing a 7-year contract with the University of Arkansas. Name your price if you’d like to bet against me that he won’t keep his job for all of those years.
The person whose stock rises in this tale of money is Barry Alvarez. If he wanted to, he could have allowed Bielema to coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. But loyalty is a two-way street, and now the money won’t have to wait -- not even another three weeks.