Barry Alvarez announced yesterday he will step down as Wisconsin's football coach after the 2005 season to become the school's full-time athletic director.

Alvarez assumed both roles in April 2004, but said he planned to leave coaching some day to lead the athletic department full-time.

Badgers defensive coordinator Bret Bielema will take over in 2006, Alvarez said.

Alvarez was hired in 1990 to turn around a program that had five winning seasons in the previous 27 years. The Badgers failed to break the .500 mark in his first three years, but Alvarez led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl in 1994.

He has a 108-70-4 record during 15 seasons at Wisconsin. His 7-3 record in bowl games includes three Rose Bowl wins.

Wisconsin was also penalized by the NCAA for a major rules violation under Alvarez's watch in 2000. Twenty-six football players were suspended for receiving unadvertised discounts at a shoe store and another 21 were required to do community service.

* HORSE RACING: Afleet Alex, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner, has a leg injury that will keep him out of the Haskell Invitational and the Travers Stakes.

Afleet Alex apparently developed the injury Tuesday at Belmont Park after a morning breeze. Trainer Tim Ritchey said the injury was not career threatening, and a possible return could come in the fall.

* PRO FOOTBALL: Wide receiver Rod Gardner passed his physical with the Carolina Panthers, completing his trade from the Washington Redskins after four seasons with the club. The Redskins announced the trade yesterday but did not disclose the compensation; league sources said Washington will receive a sixth-round pick in 2006 contingent on Gardner making Carolina's roster.

Gardner, who was selected 15th overall in 2001, was unproductive in Coach Joe Gibbs's offense last season and was granted permission to pursue a trade shortly after the season ended. The trade saves the Redskins $2.1 million in salary cap space, putting them about $3.65 million under the cap, league sources said, which should be sufficient to sign first-round picks Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell.

The Redskins report for training camp Sunday and take the field Monday.

* BASKETBALL: Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl had prostate surgery yesterday, the team said.

The surgery was performed at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

Karl had cancer diagnosed near the end of last season. . . .

Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson has agreed to coach Panama's national team, his first coaching job since he was fired by the university more than three years ago.

* PRO HOCKEY: Brendan Shanahan decided to stay with the Detroit Red Wings, exercising an option on the final year of his contract. . . . Detroit offered Steve Yzerman a one-year contract.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports

Wisconsin football coach Barry Alvarez announces that the 2005 season will be his last. Alvarez will become full-time athletic director for the school.