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Former Wisconsin player Chris McIntosh will succeed Barry Alvarez as athletic director

Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Wednesday that McIntosh will take over when Alvarez finalizes his retirement. The 74-year-old Alvarez announced April 6 that he was stepping down, and his retirement is expected to take effect at the beginning of July.

Chris McIntosh, shown in a file photo from 2000, will become the new athletic director at Wisconsin.
Chris McIntosh, shown in a file photo from 2000, will become the new athletic director at Wisconsin.
Jay Drowns/AP

MADISON, Wis. — Chris McIntosh played for Barry Alvarez on two of Wisconsin’s Rose Bowl championship teams and spent the last few years working as his right-hand man.

Now he is about to succeed his former coach and boss as the Badgers’ athletic director.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Wednesday that McIntosh will take over when Alvarez finalizes his retirement. The 74-year-old Alvarez announced April 6 that he was stepping down, and his retirement is expected to take effect at the beginning of July.

“I owe so much to the University of Wisconsin, and I’m deeply honored to be able to succeed Barry Alvarez,” McIntosh said in a statement released by the university before an afternoon news conference. “We will build upon our legacy of success on the field of competition and support our student-athletes in the classroom, on campus and after college.”

McIntosh is expected to make $940,000 annually, with $500,000 coming from university funds. The remaining portion will come from private gift funds designated for athletics.

McIntosh, a native of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, has worked in the Badgers’ athletic department since 2014 and became deputy athletic director in 2017. His roles included day-to-day operations, student-athlete recruitment, business development, human resources and strategic planning.

“Mac has been an essential part of my staff for several years,” Alvarez said in a statement. “In particular, his leadership and intelligence were critical in helping our department navigate the various challenges of the past 15 months. Those same qualities will serve him well on into the future.”

McIntosh, 44, was an offensive tackle and team captain when the Badgers won consecutive Rose Bowls in the 1998 and 1999 seasons. He was an All-American and Outland Trophy finalist in 1999 before the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the 22nd overall pick of the 2000 NFL draft.

A neck injury limited his NFL career to 24 games.

“He is uniquely positioned to continue our proud traditions of success on and off the field and doing things ‘the right way,’” Blank said. “Chris will build upon those traditions and has a strong vision for leading the program during a time of change in college athletics.”

McIntosh now faces the challenge of replacing Alvarez, one of the most prominent figures in the history of Wisconsin athletics.

Alvarez arrived at Wisconsin in 1990 as football coach and became athletic director in 2004. He briefly served in a dual role before stepping down as football coach after the 2005 season.

Wisconsin’s football team went 9-36 in the four seasons before Alvarez’s arrival but emerged as regular Big Ten contenders during his coaching tenure.

“I have known Mac since he was a teenager when he joined our football program,” Alvarez said. “I am extremely proud of what he has accomplished in his life.”