Bret Bielema is a polarizing figure in Wisconsin.
While coaching the Wisconsin Badgers soccer team, first as defensive coordinator from 2004-05 and then as head coach from 2006-2012, Bielema led the team to records, national notoriety, Big Ten and major bowl wins, and coached players who went on To be NFL superstars like JJ Watt and Russell Wilson.
But one thing no Badgers fan will soon forget was his abrupt and harrowing departure from the program to take on the Arkansas head coaching job at the end of the 2012 season. His decision left the team and fans in the lurch as they prepared for the team’s third trip to the Rose Bowl, forcing sporting director Barry Alvarez to step in and coach the team.
The harsh feelings were exacerbated in September 2013 when Jen Bielema, Bret’s wife, posted #karma on Twitter after the Badgers’ bitter and controversial loss to the state of Arizona.
Bielema was fired after his fifth season with the Razorbacks. He worked as a consultant for the NFL’s New England Patriots in 2018 and as a defensive line coach in 2019 before accepting a position as outside linebackers coach for the New York Giants.
Here’s a look back at Bielema’s record as a college coach, first at UW and then at Arkansas.