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December 4, 2012

Alvarez statement: Bielema out

MADISON, Wis. - In a statement, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez confirmed Bret Bielema has left the Badgers to become the head coach at Arkansas. Bielema's departure was originally reported this afternoon, but this is the first confirmation from either the Badgers or the Razorbacks.

"I was very surprised when Bret told me he was taking the offer from Arkansas," Alvarez said in a statement released to reporters. "He did a great job for us during his seven years as head coach, both on the field and off. I want to thank him for his work and wish him the best at Arkansas."

Alvarez continued to mention that his next responsibility is to find a new head coach to succeed Bielema.

"I have a responsibility to our student-athletes, our football family and our fans, one that I take very seriously," Alvarez said. "It is my responsibility to ensure that the football program continues at a high level, and I have already started the process of trying to find a new head coach."

The Badgers are also trying to figure out who will coach the team in the 99th annual Rose Bowl Game. Alvarez is rumored to be considering coaching the team himself in Bielema's stead, but Alvarez hasn't coached since 2005 when he retired to focus solely on his duties as athletic director.

"Along with finding a new coach, my other main objective is to make sure that our student-athletes, specifically our seniors playing in their final game as Badgers, have a tremendous experience in the Rose Bowl," Alvarez said. "We will do everything within our power to make that happen."

For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.

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