Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Is Paul Chryst a Candidate for Wisconsin?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Is Paul Chryst a Candidate for Wisconsin?

Article excerpt

Not long after news broke that Gary Andersen was leaving Wisconsin to take the head coaching job at Oregon State, names started popping up on Twitter about who could replace Andersen on the Badgers' sideline. Naturally, one of those names was Pitt coach Paul Chryst.

Now, let's just be clear at this point that pretty much any talk connecting Chryst to Wisconsin is speculation. There have been no reports of contact between the two parties. Chryst could not be reached for comment and Pitt has been silent on the matter. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez held a press conference Wednesday evening, but declined to name any potential candidates.

But it's worth discussing, because there are plenty of reasons for Chryst to be considered for the opening. He's a Madison native, played at Wisconsin and was an assistant coach for the Badgers for eight seasons. He obviously has strong ties to the school, city and state, and so a desire to return home would not be a surprise.

It does seem that he would be a much more viable candidate now than two years ago, after Bret Bielema left the Badgers for Arkansas. At that point, Chryst had only been at Pitt for one year and Alvarez quickly squashed any talk of him leaving the Panthers so quickly.

The Pitt program is in better shape now than it was then, so Chryst wouldn't necessarily be jumping ship and, quite frankly, Wisconsin could be more desperate to make a long-term hire this time around.

There are certainly two sides to the argument of whether or not Wisconsin would want to hire Chryst. On the one hand, Chryst's results over his first three years at Pitt have been the definition of mediocre. He's 19-19 heading into this bowl game, and has some head-scratching losses to the likes of Youngstown State, Navy and Akron. That might not be good enough for a program expecting to be an annual contender in the Big Ten.

There are some mitigating factors, though, such as the fact that the Pitt program Chryst inherited was in a state of total disarray three years ago and that, despite the mediocre record, the Panthers do appear to have made some progress (especially on offense) in Chryst's third season this year. …

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