‘Inside the Huddle’ Set Tonight At Florida Tech
By Florida Tech // May 15, 2014
THIRD ANNUAL EVENT SET FOR THURSDAY
ABOVE VIDEO: Barry Alvarez resurrected the Badgers football program into a national power, spending 16 seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin, winning Big Ten titles in 1993, 1998 and 1999, and is the only coach to win consecutive Rose Bowls. He will be the featured speaker at Florida Tech’s third annual Inside the Huddle banquet May 15.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — 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, who will be the featured speaker at Florida Tech’s third annual Inside the Huddle banquet.
Inside the Huddle will be hosted by Florida Tech’s President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese on Thursday, May 15 at the Panther Dining Hall adjacent to the Clemente Center and Panther Aquatic Center.
A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. with the dinner and program following at 6:30 p.m.
Alvarez is in his 10th year as athletics director at Wisconsin. The Badgers’ run to the NCAA Final Four this season is the latest in a series of long accomplishments Wisconsin’s teams have achieved in his tenure. His squads have won a combined 14 national championships and 44 conference regular season or tournament titles.
COACH ALVAREZ: Establishing School Pride, Tradition Critical To Football Program Success
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?
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.
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?
COACH 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 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.
ALVAREZ BEFORE WISCONSIN
Before landing at Wisconsin, he coached the linebackers at Iowa from 1979-86. He was also the linebackers coach for the 1987 season at Notre Dame before taking over the defensive coordinator position for the Fighting Irish from 1988-89.
FIT head football coach Steve Englehart will also speak at the event about the Panthers as they look forward to their second season.
Season ticket holders from the Panthers’ inaugural campaign will have a chance to renew their premium seats for the 2014 season at the event.
The deadline for renewals is the following day, May 16. FIT will play five home games this fall, four are against Gulf South Conference opponents at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium. It will oppose Ave Maria (Sept. 13), Delta State (Oct. 2), North Alabama (Oct. 18), Mississippi College (Oct. 25) and Valdosta State (Nov. 15).
Season tickets remain $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.
Reservations for the dinner can be made online at give.fit.edu/InsidetheHuddle or by contacting Gina Yates at firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-674-8428. The cost is $100 per person. Corporate tables of eight can be purchased for $750. Business attire is required. The RSVP deadline is Wednesday, May 7.