Wisconsin women’s basketball: What’s next?

Bobbie Kelsey was let go as head coach of the Wisconsin women’s basketball team on Friday, March 4 after five seasons.

Over that duration of time, the Badgers recorded a .320 winning percentage with just 47 wins over 100 games, along with a 19-65 (.226) record in the Big Ten.

It was an easy decision for Alvarez, but not one he should be proud of. When Kelsey was first hired as the Wisconsin women’s basketball coach in April of 2011, Alvarez spoke assuredly about Kelsey and was confident she would prove to be a desired fit in UW’s program.

“Her record of success everywhere she has been speaks for itself,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez continued, “I was obviously very impressed with her resume and was convinced she was the right person for the job.”

However, although Kelsey’s basketball résumé is stacked with impressive accomplishments and obvious talent and knowledge, she just didn’t happen to translate well into the UW women’s basketball program.

“It’s my job and the sports administrator’s job to see the programs progress and that they’re being run properly and that things are being done the right way,” Alvarez said. “Bobbie has a lot of good qualities. Her assistants have a lot of good qualities. They put a lot of hard work in.”

Alvarez clearly appreciates Kelsey’s determinism on and off the court with the UW women’s team. However, her effort wasn’t bringing in the W’s, so Alvarez and senior women’s administrator Terry Gawlik are on the lookout for someone with a resume of basketball success at the head coaching level.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Alvarez explained that he’s determined to find a coach with head coaching experience to replace Kelsey, as Kelsey’s coaching involvement prior to being hired at UW consisted of 13 years as an assistant coach among five different schools.

“I’d like to have somebody that has a background of success,” Alvarez said to UWBadgers.com. “Someone that has been mentored by a long-term successful coach.”

“I want someone to really excite the women’s basketball community in Wisconsin. I want someone I feel confident will build a relationship with the high school coaches in this state and make that a top priority in recruiting.”

Specifically, Alvarez wants to focus on hiring a coach that will put more of an effort into building relationships with high school coaches, considering that Kelsey failed to do so and was therefore incapable of recruiting many top high school players in Wisconsin.

“I see a lot of players from Wisconsin starring at a lot of other places and (being) successful,” Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal. “You have a lot to sell here and I don’t see why this shouldn’t garner the interest of a number of coaches.”

Alvarez is right; Wisconsin is a Big Ten University with an incredible amount to offer to potential student athletes. Especially for girls growing up in the state of Wisconsin, UW should be the most talented Wisconsin athletes’ foremost preference. Players from Wisconsin should be starring at their home state’s Big Ten University, and recruiting them shouldn’t be much of a problem.

It’s necessary that Alvarez hire a coach that prioritizes building relationships with high school coaches and players; player-coach relationships are vital aspects of the players’ college decision-making process. Building a network for recruiting and solidifying the state’s borders will eventually lead to reaching the Midwest and potentially the rest of the country.

Hopefully, with appointing the right choice, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball program can become a leading destination for players in Wisconsin, and step-by-step work its way up to a ruling basketball destination within the Midwest.


Photo courtesy of John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal Archives.

One thought on “Wisconsin women’s basketball: What’s next?

  1. If Alvarez means what the press has published, then the obvious choice is Palmer to replace Kelsey. Wisconsin and Wisconsin basketball is in her blood.


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