UW Athletic Dir. Barry Alvarez will coach Rose Bowl team

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MADISON (AP) -- Barry Alvarez is headed back to the Wisconsin sidelines. For one game, at least. Alvarez says he'll coach the Wisconsin Badgers in next month's Rose Bowl, where they'll play No. 8 Stanford. Alvarez made the announcement Thursday, December 6th -- a day after former coach Bret Bielema took the job at Arkansas.

Alvarez coached Wisconsin for 16 seasons, compiling a 118-73-4 record that included a 3-0 mark in the Rose Bowl -- the Badgers' only victories in eight trips to Pasadena. Alvarez added the title of athletic director in 2004, and resigned as head coach after the 2005 season. Bielema was his hand-picked successor.

After a rocky regular season, the Badgers beat Nebraska in last weekend's Big Ten championship. This will be their third straight trip to the Rose Bowl, a school record.

Now that Alvarez is back for the Rose Bowl, there is new energy for the game. Fans, businesses and even politicans weighed in on Thursday after hearing the news.

"Hearing it right from God's mouth that he will be there, I think it's going to start putting people's minds at ease. Obviously it's a no brainer. He's got the proven track record when it comes to a big game like that. He's pulled them out," Martin Hersh with the UW Alumni Association said.

"It'll be great to see his aspect, if there's any different play calling or what he brings to the game," Badgers fan Ross Kirley said.

What Alvarez is bringing to stores like Name of the Game at Brookfield Square Mall is business.

"I"ll definitely purchase Rose Bowl items due solely to the fact that Barry's coming back. I think it's going to bring in a lot of merchandise. Everybody's going to want a piece of history," Nolan Sayles said.

Gina Esch with Funjet Vacations told FOX6 News their inventory in Milwaukee has sold out.

"We're starting to take off quickly and looking at even adding more," Esch said.

Even Gov. Scott Walker weighed in on Thursday's announcement.

"I'm looking forward to Barry going 4-0. He's got a great track record. He's part of the Hall of Fame at the Rose Bowl. This is one more addition to that," Gov. Walker said.