When Barry Alvarez was hired in 1990 as head football coach for Wisconsin, he said he would turn the program around. He made good on that promise. In an interview with Mike Popke and Mark Tauscher, Alvarez looks back on his 25 years as a Badger.
During this time, miners began to work in the mineral-rich earth of the state. Some of these miners used the mines they had dug as a sort of "den," so they were compared to the badger, and the nickname stuck around. The state is known as "The Badger State," and though "Bucky" is the university's mascot, perhaps if he carried a pick-axe, it would be more appropriate.