Coaching at Rose Bowl never gets old for Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez

School's athletic director, who retired as coach in 2005, is called back for a one-off after Bret Bielema takes Arkansas job. He isn't taking the experience, or chance to beat Stanford, for granted.

Barry Alvarez had trouble adjusting his chair at Saturday's Rose Bowl media day but eventually settled in without even spilling his coffee.

Alvarez said no other adjustments would be necessary. "This has been easy," he said. "Just give me a whistle. I need a whistle, that's all."

Wisconsin's legendary coach, who retired in 2005 to concentrate on becoming the school's athletic director, never contemplated a return to the sideline.

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He had a record of 118-73-4 in 16 seasons at Wisconsin, with an 8-3 postseason record that included a 3-0 record in the Rose Bowl.

Alvarez already has been inducted in the Rose Bowl's hall of fame.

When Bear Bryant left Texas A&M for Alabama he said it was because "Mama called."

In Alvarez's case, well, it was "Mama Badger."

This is a one-shot return engagement right out of a retired coach's fantasy storybook. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin's coach for the Badgers' last two Rose Bowl defeats, left three weeks ago to unexpectedly take the Arkansas job.

Senior Wisconsin players asked Alvarez, in between his search for Bielema's successor and hiring a women's volleyball coach, to coach the team against Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

"I never thought it would happen because it never has happened," Alvarez explained. "No one has ever won the right to go to the Rose Bowl and not coached in it."

Linebacker Mike Taylor was nominated to call Alvarez.

"I was nervous," Taylor admitted this week.

It didn't go well at first.

"He didn't answer," Taylor said.

Alvarez said he didn't initially recognize the call coming in from "Green Bay."

When Alvarez finally heard the message he almost did a cartwheel.

"He was probably more excited than us," Taylor said.

Alvarez slipped back into coaching the way you would into a pair of loafers. He walked into Saturday's media-day news conference, at a downtown hotel, wearing a gray sweat suit he might have slept in.

This is the kind of thing you do when you're at home.