MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said Thursday that she hopes to hire Athletic Director Barry Alvarez’s successor by the end of June.

Alvarez announced earlier this month that he plans to retire effective in July.

Blank said during a virtual luncheon hosted by WisPolitics.com and the Milwaukee Press Club on Thursday that she expects to hire a “very strong person” by the time Alvarez leaves. She said she expects his successor to lead Wisconsin athletics for the next 10 to 15 years.

But she cautioned that the search must be conducted with discretion because if word gets out someone is seeking the job they could be fired from their present position. Blank says the last thing she wants to do is destroy someone’s career.

The school has formed a search committee that includes football coach Paul Chryst, softball coach Yvette Healy, East Lake Management & Development Corp. CEO Elzie Higginbottom, T&M Partners CEO Ted Kellner, athletic board member Jeff Mack, former athletic board chair Laurel Rice, assistant men’s basketball coach Alando Tucker as well as lightweight rowing student-athlete and athletic board member Eden Rane.

Wisconsin teams won 16 national titles while Alvarez was athletic director. Five of those came in women’s lightweight rowing, a sport whose championships aren’t sanctioned by the NCAA.

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