Alvarez May Coach From the Press Box


The smiling welcome the Wisconsin Badgers got from the Rose Queen and her court Saturday was the same, and their schedule of practices, news conferences and sightseeing is similar to the program they followed before their Rose Bowl appearance against UCLA a year ago too.

But one key element may be different for the Badgers this time: Coach Barry Alvarez, still dependent upon a cane after a Nov. 16 operation to replace his right knee, may not be on the sidelines when his team faces Stanford on Saturday. He’ll probably coach from the press box, as he did in seven of the Badgers’ final eight games.

He also coached the Badgers’ Oct. 9 game at Minnesota via headset from his hospital room at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The surgery was scheduled to be done that week but was postponed because of an infection.


“It’s been a slow, slow process,” Alvarez said. “It’s gradually getting better but it’s been tough. I’ve been getting around practices on a cart and sometimes I jump out with a crutch.

“I haven’t decided whether I’ll be on the sidelines at the Rose Bowl. It depends on how it feels. My doctor isn’t crazy about the idea of me being on my feet that long.”

Alvarez, who will be 53 Thursday, became the winningest coach in Wisconsin history when the Badgers upset Michigan State Oct. 23 for his 66th victory, breaking the record set by Phil King in the late 1890s and early 1900s. He has taken the Badgers to the Rose Bowl three times (1993, 1998 and 1999) and guided the team to six bowl games overall, with a 4-1 record.

Alvarez has been offered various carts that would enable him to be on the sideline with his team, but he has declined. “If I can’t get around on my own, I’m not going to do it,” he said. “We won seven in a row with me in the 1/8press 3/8 box, so I don’t think it’s going to hurt us.”


For senior left tackle Chris McIntosh, an Outland Trophy finalist, the Rose Bowl has lost none of its luster the second time around.

“It’s exciting just to come out here for it,” said McIntosh, who is poised to become the third player in Big Ten history to start 50 games. “Even though it’s Christmas, I have no complaints about coming to Los Angeles. . . .


“Coach went over it 1/8Saturday 3/8 morning. Every year his philosophy at bowl games is to take in the sights and have fun, but remember what we’re here for. Last year, we got to take in what L.A. had to offer, and winning the game made it really great.”

Having been through the Rose Bowl experience so recently can only be helpful, linebacker Donnel Thompson said. “We’re a veteran team,” he said. “Stanford is a good team and they’re a real big challenge for our defense.”


Alvarez said he ignores predictions that Wisconsin will win easily. “It really doesn’t make much difference if we’re the favorite or the underdog. It’s about who performs that day,” he said. “The players and coaches don’t pay attention to that.” . . . A large contingent of Wisconsin fans is due Wednesday, and Alvarez and his players welcome the support. “It’s been a home game for us the last two Rose Bowls,” he said. . . . The Badgers will begin practicing today at the Coliseum, from noon to 2:30 p.m. They will then participate in the Beef Bowl.