Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


It’s official: Chryst hired as new Wisconsin head coach

Jason Chan

It’s official: Paul Chryst will be coming back to the Wisconsin football team as its head coach.

Chryst — a former University of Wisconsin player, offensive coordinator and most recently the University of Pittsburgh head coach — was announced Wednesday as UW’s new head coach. The decision comes just one week after former UW head coach Gary Andersen resigned and left for Oregon State.

“The first person I thought of when Gary Andersen informed me that he was leaving was Paul Chryst,” UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez said at Chryst’s introductory news conference Wednesday. “Paul has worked with me in the past, [and I] have great respect for him as both a football coach and a person. He and his family will be great fits for our university and our community.”


Chryst, 49, is the 30th coach in program history and brings a wealth of connections to the state of Wisconsin, the university and the football program.

He was born in Madison, attended high school in Platteville, Wis. and played quarterback for the Badgers from 1986-88. After one season as the tight ends coach at UW in 2002 and a season at Oregon State as the offensive coordinator in 2003, Chryst returned to Wisconsin as the offensive coordinator from 2005 to 2011.

Chryst left UW after the 2011 season to become head coach at Pittsburgh, where he posted a 19-19 overall record for the past three seasons, making three straight bowl games while rebuilding the Panthers program.

But now, after three seasons away from his hometown, alma mater and the place where he coached for eight seasons, Chryst is back in Madison. He reflected heavily on his past at Wisconsin, even recalling when he used to deliver newspapers as a young child to Camp Randall Stadium.

“Obviously this is a big moment, and I could not be more grateful and honored and certainly appreciative of such an opportunity,” Chryst said. “To be able to do this and come back home to Wisconsin, it truly is special.”

During his tenure as offensive coordinator at UW, the Badgers saw unprecedented success as a team and offensively. UW went 60-19 (37-19 Big Ten) in that span, with two trips to the Rose Bowl after the 2010 and 2011 seasons against TCU and Oregon, respectively.

In 2010, UW averaged more than 40 points per game for the first time in school history, finishing the season fifth nationally in scoring offense (41.5). Wisconsin also scored more than 70 points three times during the 2010 season.

In Chryst’s 2011 season as offensive coordinator, the Wisconsin offense was arguably the best it has ever been behind the likes of Russell Wilson and Montee Ball, posting a program-best 44.14 points per game, which also was good for sixth in the nation, while leading the Big Ten in yards per game (469.86).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Chryst is expected to bring current Pittsburgh offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Joe Rudolph with him to Madison to occupy the same positions at UW. Rudolph played football at Wisconsin and was the tight ends coach under Chryst from 2008-11. If Rudolph does join the UW staff, it will likely end current offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig’s time at Wisconsin.

Dave Aranda, the current Wisconsin defensive coordinator, will not go with Andersen to Oregon State, but his future at UW isn’t set in stone. However, it does appears as if Aranda has a good chance of staying in Madison as long as Chryst wants him.

This past season Aranda turned the Wisconsin defense into one of the best in the nation despite losing a majority of their starters from 2013. UW is fourth in the nation in total defense (283.2) and ranks in the top three of the Big Ten in most major defensive categories.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is also reporting that Chryst could make a play for current Tennessee Titan offensive line coach Bob Bolstad. Like Chryst and Rudolph, Bolstad coached at UW from 2006-11, serving as the tight ends and offensive line coach. He went to Pittsburgh with Chryst in 2011.

Regardless of any reports, Chryst will have to replace offensive line coach T.J. Woods and defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a, both of whom followed Andersen to Oregon State. Chryst said Wednesday that he will begin talking to Wisconsin assistant coaches beginning Thursday.

But for now it appears as if Alvarez and the UW football team has their top choice at the helm for the Badgers. After going through two coaches in three seasons, Chryst will bring familiarity and stability to UW in addition to a pro-style offense that is liked by so many at Wisconsin.

Chryst’s first game as head coach of the Badgers will be a tough test against arguably college football’s biggest powerhouse in Alabama when the two teams square off on Sept. 5 next season.

Alvarez will still coach the Badgers in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 against Auburn, but after a busy week, Chryst says he’s ready to just get back to work.

“As great a day as today is — and it is, it’s a great day — I also don’t want it to be the best day,” Chryst said. “And that’s where I’m looking forward to going to work and being with this group of players and as we add on players to this.

“I’m very appreciative and honored for this opportunity and with that comes a great motivation and a push to make sure that we do the best that we can to make the players, the university, the state proud.”

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