Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - September 27, 2012

Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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Page 17 of 62

Memories abound in return to Lincoln BEHIND THE DESK BARRY ALVAREZ • UW DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS M School. I was fortunate to work for Bob Els, a former Northeast assistant himself, who had been elevated to the head coaching job. He gave me a lot of leeway and let me coach. I was the only assistant working directly with Els and the varsity. We also had two junior varsity coaches and two sophomore coaches. Frank Solich was the head coach at our rival, Lincoln Southeast. Of course, he went on to succeed Tom Osborne at Nebraska. Today, he's at Ohio University. The reason that I bring up Bob Els is because of his son, Ross. He was probably in the first grade when I started coaching with his dad. Ross Els is now the linebackers coach at Nebraska. Prior to that, he was on Solich's staff at Ohio. You know how that dates me? Recently, I've gotten back to Lin- coln and Omaha maybe once every year or two. In the early '80s, we played in Lincoln when I was an assistant at Iowa, and it was a little bit different for me because I still knew a lot of people in and around the program. I even knew the guys on the chain gang. They used to teach and coach with me at Northeast. De- spite knowing just about everybody in the stadium, you were still the enemy. I'm sure that I will feel that way 18 » VARSITY SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 y first full-time coaching job was as an assistant at Lincoln Northeast High Saturday night. A lot of the guys who were working when I was there are still around, but they're retired. A lot of the new housing in the city is far south. Cindy and I built our first home in Lincoln. We used to live pretty far south, but it has really stretched out much farther now. When I was with the Lincoln police department, you used to give your location based on how many blocks north or south you were of O Street. That's the center of the town. Lincoln is basically a grid, and it's pretty easy to get around. I used to know the city pretty well because I walked the beat down- town. Those were fun years. Cindy still had a year of under- grad left and I needed six hours to get my degree. To make ends meet, I joined the force. They had a deal where, if you were going to college, they would pay for your tuition and that's how I wound up getting my master's and paying for Cindy to finish school. I worked as a beat cop, a cruiser officer and a detective. When I was walking the down- town beat, I worked from 10 at night until 7 in the morning. I had Mondays and Tuesday off but worked weekends. On a typical school day, I would attend class in the morning and coach football in the afternoon. Right after practice, I would go home, grab something to eat and head out to walk the beat. I had a lot of energy then, and I have a lot of memories now. I'm sure they'll be rekindled Sat- urday night when I walk into that stadium again.

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