By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Aug 29, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Barry Alvarez, the University of Wisconsin athletic director, got some major props Thursday, not for his astute ability or his coaching success, but for the dazzling cabana at his Madison house and the fact that he likes to listen to Pitbull while floating his his pool.

The spread in the Wall Street Journal's Style & Travel section said the cabana is a retreat for Alvarez after his duties as head of the Badgers athletic department.

"I don’t even go in the house," the paper quotes Alvarez as saying of his cabana, surely a rare thing in Madison. "I go straight there."

The cabana has a living area, a kitchen and an eating/bar area. It features an orange couch (his wife, Cindy, says he likes bright colors), and a 70-inch television screen where he intends to watch football games.

One thing you won’t find in the cabana is a pile of sports memorabilia.

"I don’t want to turn my house into a sports bar," Alvarez said in the story.

The cabana does act as a party site for friends, for whom Alvarez mixes his famous Mai Tais and grills sausages he gets from relatives in Pennsylvania where he grow up.

"My grandmother brought the recipe from Spain many years ago," Alvarez said. "As a kid, I used to manually turn the crank to put the sausage in the casing."

The cabana has three insulated walls and during winter they pull down a tarp over the opening and build a fire, although using it in winter is a rare occasion.

"The walk from the house can be arduous," she said. "We couldn’t get to the back door to the cabana because you’ve got eight feet of snow."

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.