The search for Wisconsin's next coach will be the first for the school since Alvarez was brought in for the 1990 season. The former coach picked Bielema to be his successor after adding him to the staff as defensive coordinator for two years before making him head coach for the 2006 season.
Still, quarterback Joel Stave noted coaching turnovers are common in college football, even if it is foreign to those on the Wisconsin roster.
“It's something that's new for me. I haven't really experienced this,” Stave said. “But it's something that we're just going to work through.”
Stave took over as the starter in September and led the Badgers until he was knocked out of the Oct. 27 game against Michigan State. A new coach also could mean starting over for Stave after he earned the starter's job, but he said he couldn't worry about that.
“If I continue to give us a good chance to win, I think I'll continue to play,” Stave said. “I feel it's in my hands. I try to worry about what I control, and that's making myself the best player I can be.”
Stave said Bielema told the players he would always be there for them and that he loved them, while running back Montee Ball promised the team would heed his advice to stick together.
“We're still a very focused team,” Ball said.
Ball said while he was shocked at Bielema's decision, he wasn't disappointed. He said he had no reason to be and added the Badgers are proud of Bielema.
“He has a goal in his life that he wants to accomplish, so go get them,” Ball said.