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Barry Alvarez on Wisconsin coaching search: 'don't panic'

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Barry Alvarez isn't going to hurry a decision. (AP)

It's been nearly two weeks since he was caught off guard by the news that Bret Bielema was leaving to take the Arkansas job, but Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez isn't in a hurry to find Bielema's replacement. He also wants Wisconsin fans to know that there's no reason to panic as he promises he will find the right person to take over the program.

"Everyone gets anxious, but I said all along that we were going to take our time to get the right guy," Alvarez told reporters on Sunday. "It's only been 10 days. I couldn't hire somebody if I wanted to until the latter part of this coming week, but I feel good about it. I feel good about the due diligence and people that I've talked to. I have one more to visit with, and then we'll sit down and decide on the best person. I feel good about the candidates we've interviewed.

"We're spoiled here because we were probably one of the most stable programs in the country with me being here 16 years and elevating an assistant [Bret Bielema] for seven years. This happens around the country. I'll hire a good coach. This program will continue being very good. For those that are panicking, don't panic. We'll take care of business here and this program will be in excellent hands."

Adding to any potential panic that Wisconsin fans might be having is the fact that many of Bielema's assistants are beginning to leave Madison as well. So far both offensive coordinator Matt Canada and defensive coordinator Chris Ash have left, along with four other position coaches. Of course, unless Alvarez was going to name himself the new head coach -- something he admitted was a possibility for "like a day" -- staff turnover is to be expected when hiring a new head coach.

Particularly when one of the biggest reasons Bielema gave for his departure was the lack of money for his assistants.

Now, the problem here is that even if Alvarez finds the guy he wants for the job, at this point in the game it could be harder for that new coach to find the assistants he wants. The coaching carousel only spins for so long before it's time for everybody to get back to work.

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