Behind the Bielema Jump

Badger Nation, its administrators, players and fans, were shocked by the sudden resignation of Bret Bielema as head football coach of the University of Wisconsin. Bielema was hand-picked by his predecessor Barry Alvarez and compiled a 68-24 record (.739) in seven seasons, including three Big Ten titles. Bielema guided the Badgers to a bowl game in every season during his coaching tenure, and the team will be playing in the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive year after a lopsided 70-31 victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game. Speculation about why Bielema left Wisconsin for the University of Arkansas includes a more lucrative contract, a stronger conference, more money to hire assistants and a chance to win. As Al McGuire always would say, "Leave at the top of your game." Bielema's decision is representative of a business where turnover is commonplace, where long-term loyalty is not required and where the term of the contract is meaningless.