The holidays are a time for wish lists, but there is nothing that says a semi-hermit in the North Pole has a monopoly on hope.
This season, Wisconsin Badger fans and alumni are sending their own versions of who is naughty or nice to Madison—care of athletic director Barry Alvarez.
It is no coincidence that both legends favor the colors red and white, along with cold climates. It's also time for both men to deliver or face the scorn of two rather irrational populations: children and college football fans.
Alvarez has already given (when he decided to coach the Rose Bowl), and received (in the form of a hefty payday for his month of service). But beyond "The Grandaddy of the Them All", who will the Badgers trust with the future of the program?
If it were up to me, it would be current Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.
Diaco, much like Chris Petersen, Mel Tucker and Al Golden, has seen his hat thrown in the ring, either on his own fruition or thrown in for him by overzealous speculators. Regardless, Diaco should be pursued relentlessly to fill the vacancy left by fellow Iowa Hawkeye alumnus, Bret Bielema.
Hate him or love him, Bielema's background and resume fit beautifully into the the formula that kept Wisconsin a Big Ten power, even if his personality did not endear him to the school's supporters.
Diaco brings the same pedigree, and could continue the winning ways that Wisconsin has become accustomed to.
Like both Alvarez and Bielema, Diaco was a defensive force in his playing days earning All-Big Ten honors twice as a linebacker. Again, like Alvarez and Bielema, he went on to serve in a variety of roles on defensive coaching staffs around the country, including Western Michigan, Virginia and Cincinnati.
All three men oversaw the linebacking corps. in almost every stop of their coaching career.
The similarities do not end there.
Today, Diaco holds the reins of one of the most potent defenses in the country and is about to play for a national championship. Take a wild guess on who was running the defense in South Bend the last time the Fighting Irish were on the cusp of an outright national championship.
It was Barry Alvarez. And they won, in case you were wondering.
Diaco, as a recruiter, is a known quantity in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast, which bodes well for a Wisconsin team with a strong mix from all three areas. He, like Alvarez, has roots in a talent-rich state as a New Jersey native (Alvarez hails from Pennsylvania).
As if Diaco needed any more momentum on the coaching carousel, he also won the Frank Broyles Award this year as the best assistant coach in the land.
A host of former winners of the honor have gone on to become incredible head coaches, including Hayden Fry, who was a profound influence on Alvarez, Bielema and yes, you guessed it, Diaco.
Now, I am not saying Diaco will take the job or is even in consideration behind closed doors.
Simply take this as an endorsement of a coach who I believe is ready for that next step. Hopefully, that next step will manifest itself into the short drive from Indiana to Madison, Wisconsin.
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