In a list released early Monday afternoon, Fox Sports ranked Wisconsin’s coaching position as the 19th best in all of college football.
The Badgers were one of five Big Ten teams whose coaching jobs appeared on the list. The others were Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Nebraska, who were ranked 6th, 11th, 14th, and 23rd, respectively.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Wisconsin landed on this list, as the Badgers have maintained a steady run of success since Barry Alvarez’s tenure as head coach. Alvarez took over a program in 1990 that had been mostly mediocre over the past several decades, including posting a dismal record of 9-27 from 1986 to 1989.
Despite going just 11-22 in his first three seasons, Alvarez engineered a substantial turnaround at Wisconsin, with the Badgers winning three Rose Bowls, three Big Ten titles, and a total of 118 games during his 16 years as coach. This trend continued under his successor, Bret Bielema, who went 68-24 with three conference championships and a trio of Rose Bowl appearances in seven seasons at UW.
Now, after Bielema’s departure for Arkansas, Gary Andersen looks to continue to this trend of consistency in Madison. After going 9-4 in his first year with the Badgers, Andersen appears to be continuing to move the program in the right direction. The team appears to be poised to put together another season of 10+ wins and have put together a solid recruiting class for 2015, which is ranked 20th in the nation by 247Sports.
As the Fox Sports ranking also mentions, the Wisconsin athletic department generated over $149 million of revenue during the 2012-’13 fiscal year, second to only Texas in the entire country. While many may not immediately think of Wisconsin when talking about the biggest names in college sports, the fact that only Texas generated more revenue than UW speaks volumes to how far the football program and athletic department as a whole have come during Barry Alvarez’s tenure as both football coach and athletic director.
Though the Wisconsin coaching job isn’t considered to be one of the country’s elite, the Badgers do offer recently upgraded facilities, some of the most passionate fans in college football, and a program that is remarkably consistent and among the best in the Big Ten.
All things considered, Gary Andersen has plenty of reasons to be happy in Madison.