Florida Tech ‘Inside the Huddle’ Features Barry Alvarez

By  //  May 16, 2014

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'It is very impressive what you have done'

IN-TH-HUDDLE-580-3

INSIDE THE HUDDLE – Left to Right: Doug Flutie, Steve Englehart, Barry Alverez and Bill Jergens. (Amanda Stratford image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE FLORIDA – A full house of avid Florida Tech football program supporters attended the third annual “Inside The Huddle,” hosted by Florida Tech’s President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese, and keynoted by the legendary Wisconsin Director of Athletics and College Football Hall of Fame member, Barry Alvarez.

The proceeding were expertly MC’ed by Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications Ryan Jones, above, who recognized the many VIPs in attendance and thanked Matts Casbah for providing the food and beverage services, as well as the Founders Club Members and President’s Club Members. (Amanda Stratford image)

The proceeding were expertly MC’ed by Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications Ryan Jones, above, who recognized the many VIPs in attendance and thanked Matts Casbah for providing the food and beverage services, as well as the Founders Club Members and President’s Club Members. (Amanda Stratford image)

The proceeding were expertly MC’ed by Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications Ryan Jones, who recognized the many VIPs in attendance and thanked Matt’s Casbah for providing the food and beverage services, as well as the Founders Club Members and President’s Club Members.

Jones then introduced Dr. Catanese who, as usual, was charismatic and engaging as he explained his dedication to athletics as an effective way to build Florida Tech’s reputation as one of the best and fastest-growing universities in America.

Coach Alvarez congratulated Florida Tech’s entire leadership and administration on its fledgling football program and said how impressed he was with the progress that it has made in such a short period.

Dr. Anthony Catanese, as usual, was charismatic and engaging as he explained his dedication to athletics as an effective way to build Florida Tech’s reputation as one of the best and fastest-growing universities in America. (Amanda Stratford image)

Dr. Anthony Catanese, as usual, was charismatic and engaging as he explained his dedication to athletics as an effective way to build Florida Tech’s reputation as one of the best and fastest-growing universities in America. (Amanda Stratford image)

“It is very impressive what you have done and you have a real winner here in your coach (Englehart),” said Alvarez.

He is one of 13 members on the College Football Playoff selection committee, announced last October. The group replaces the Bowl Championship Series format and will be tasked with identifying the four schools that will play for the 2014 national championship.

Alvarez was at the helm of Wisconsin’s football program for 16 seasons from 1990-2005.

He guided the Badgers to three Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championships and is the all-time winningest coach in school history at 118-74-4. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

He was named 1993 national coach of the year, 1993 and 1998 Big Ten Coach of the Year and was a finalist for ESPN’s Coach of the Decade honor for his coaching in the 1990s.

“Make your players believe that they can win every game and look to find that extra edge that gives your players the added belief in winning,” said Barry Alvarez. (Amanda Stratford image)

“Make your players believe that they can win every game and look to find that extra edge that gives your players the added belief in winning,” said Barry Alvarez. (Amanda Stratford image)

He was also a recipient of the Victor Award’s 1999 National Coach of the Year and chosen 2004 American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year.

The former linebacker at Nebraska has coached nine first-round NFL draft choices and 59 draft choices in all.Coach Alvarez talked about about the importance of instilling confidence in the team and also the expectation of winning.

“Make your players believe that they can win every game and look to find that extra edge that gives your players the added belief in winning,” said Alvarez.

Coach Alvarez talked about the time in 1993 that his team had to play Michigan State in Tokyo and how he got the edge by preparing his team for the extreme time change that his players would experience after traveling across multiple time zones.

“We actually gave our players sun glasses to wear at night and had them stay up later and later each night prior to the trip to Tokyo and we did not sleep on the plane,” said Coach Alvarez.

Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez, holding a bouquet of roses, is carried on the shoulders of his players as the Badgers celebrate their first Rose Bowl berth in 31 years following a 41-20 victory over Michigan State in the Coca-Cola Bowl at Tokyo Dome, Dec. 5, 1993. (Associated Press image)

Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez, holding a bouquet of roses, is carried on the shoulders of his players as the Badgers celebrate their first Rose Bowl berth in 31 years following a 41-20 victory over Michigan State in the Coca-Cola Bowl at Tokyo Dome, Dec. 5, 1993. (Associated Press image)

“When we landed in Tokyo it was midnight local time and our players got a good nights sleep. We woke up the next day and were perfectly adjusted to Tokyo time. We actually flew to Tokyo on the same plane as Michigan State and our players were laughing at their opponents who were all sleeping for hours during the flight. Our players knew that Michigan State would not be able to sleep when they arrived in Tokyo and would be exhausted the next day. Our players already knew they would win the game even before we landed in Tokyo.”

The players were right as the Badgers easily defeated the Spartans 41-20.

Alvarez also spoke of his tradition of running the football versus a passing game.

“In Wisconsin we have very big people and we used those strengths to build our program.”

On Florida Tech’s upcoming season, Alvarez mentioned what a great experience it will be for the Panthers to play a game in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

“That will be a tremendous experience for you and your entire program.”

EXCLUSIVE Q&A

COACH ALVAREZ: Establishing School Pride, Tradition Critical To Football Program Success

SpaceCoastDaily.com had the honor and pleasure to sit down with legendary Wisconsin Director of Athletics and College Football Hall of Fame member Barry Alvarez.

SPACE COAST DAILY: When you meet with coach Englehart and the other coaches with Florida Tech football, what pointers do you offer from your years of experience?

BERRY-ALVAREZ-435

SpaceCoastDaily.com had the honor and privilege to sit down with legendary Wisconsin Director of Athletics and College Football Hall of Fame member Barry Alvarez, who will be the featured speaker at Florida Tech’s third annual Inside the Huddle banquet.

COACH ALVAREZ: I’m sure he will have some questions and some of the things I”ll talk about is building a team. I’m sure there are some things that he and the people associated with the program will be able to implement. I”m looking forward to it.

SPACE COAST DAILY: When you started at Wisconsin in 1990, you inherited a program that had not had a winning season since 1984, and had only won seven games in Big Ten Conference play in that time.

When you look back at the turnaround you accomplished, what were some of the most important building blocks to your success as the Badgers’ coach?

COACH ALVAREZ: Basically had to start from scratch. The current team hand’t won, the university had gone to five bowls in the history of the school. There was no tradition. the best game in school history was a loss in the Rose Bowl. The players we’d inherited hadn’t won.

Barry Alvarez

Barry Alvarez

We had an 82,000 seat stadium and were averaging 40,000 people. We had to change the culture, change attitudes and we had to recruit a program to fills the stadium. It’s much like starting a program. We had 50 players quit the team. We had to get going from ground zero and build the program.

SPACE COAST DAILY: During the 1999 season, you had a chance to work with a Heisman Trophy winner in running back Ron Dayne. How do you keep a team focused on its overall goals when an individual player receives so much attention for his accomplishments?

COACH ALVAREZ: Ron made it easy. As we set goals during the year, we took great pride in our linemen and we build our program on our linemen. I told them there would be no greater honor than to say you blocked for someone who has the all time college rushing record, which he did, and he won the Heisman Trophy. Most linemen don’t get much recognition, and if if everybody has success and Ron has success, we’ll all benefit from it. We went on to win the rose bowl. He was a very unselfish player and could care less about the individual honors. The first hing he talked about after game was teammates and whether we won or lost.

I think the playoff allows for an opportunity to name a truer championship. You have the human element involved in selecting. I think the BCS format accomplished what it set out to accomplish. College football is the only sport where every game is important and we didn’t diminish the value of the regular season. I just had a problem with computers picking the final two teams.

SPACE COAST DAILY: We all hear about the negative sides of college football, what are some of the positive changes in college football that you’ve been encouraged to see during the past few years as an athletic director?

College_Football_Playoff_Logo-180COACH ALVAREZ: One of the changes I see is the emphasis on protection of the student athletes. Previously, if someone had a blind shot and hit someone and led with his helmet, it was glamorized, now it’s a penalty. Now when you teach youth football, you teach that trying to hurt somebody is not the right thing. I think the emphasis to that and the emphasis on helping the players and trying to eliminate concussions and long lingering concussions will help football. It’s a spread out game in a lot of places where teams make you play and tackle in the open space. It’s not just played between the tackles anymore.

SPACE COAST DAILY: You will be among those tasked with identifying the four schools that will play for the 2014 national championship. Are you excited to see the new format or do you prefer the old system?

COACH ALVAREZ: I think the playoff allows for an opportunity to name a truer championship. You have the human element involved in selecting. I think the BCS format accomplished what it set out to accomplish. College football is the only sport where every game is important and we didn’t diminish the value of the regular season. I just had a problem with computers picking the final two teams.

ONE OF THE PLAYOFF SELECTION COMMITTEE MEMBERS

He is one of 13 members on the College Football Playoff selection committee, announced last October. The group replaces the Bowl Championship Series format and will be tasked with identifying the four schools that will play for the 2014 national championship.

Alvarez was named 1993 national coach of the year, 1993 and 1998 Big Ten Coach of the Year and was a finalist for ESPN’s Coach of the Decade honor for his coaching in the 1990s. He was also a recipient of the Victor Award’s 1999 National Coach of the Year and chosen 2004 American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year.

Alvarez was named 1993 national coach of the year, 1993 and 1998 Big Ten Coach of the Year and was a finalist for ESPN’s Coach of the Decade honor for his coaching in the 1990s. He was also a recipient of the Victor Award’s 1999 National Coach of the Year and chosen 2004 American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year.

Alvarez was at the helm of Wisconsin’s football program for 16 seasons from 1990-2005. He guided the Badgers to three Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championships and is the all-time winningest coach in school history at 118-74-4. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

He was named 1993 national coach of the year, 1993 and 1998 Big Ten Coach of the Year and was a finalist for ESPN’s Coach of the Decade honor for his coaching in the 1990s. He was also a recipient of the Victor Award’s 1999 National Coach of the Year and chosen 2004 American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year.

The former linebacker at Nebraska has coached nine first-round NFL draft choices and 59 draft choices in all.

Season tickets are still available, $65 for adults and $40 for FIT employees, seniors ages 65 and above, and children ages 5-16. To renew your season tickets, call 321-674-6228 or e-mail AthleticsTickets@fit.edu.


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