The University of Wisconsin football head coach Paul Chryst will remain at that position for the next five seasons with a new contract extension that lasts until 2022.
While Chryst signed an extension in 2016 after his first season in Madison, the renewal removes any doubt the second-year coach was considering any offers to coach in the NFL next season.
The Madison native has been one of the most successful new coaches in the modern era of college football, winning 10 games in each of his first two years and a 2-0 record in bowl games, the best bowl record of any Wisconsin football coach not named Barry Alvarez. The Badgers have now won three straight bowl games and, under Chryst, could only continue to improve in the national light.
Despite the 51-year-old’s quite demeanor, he has electrified a program that had a big hole to fill after two-year head coach Gary Anderson left for Oregon State University in 2015. After spending eight years as offensive coordinator at UW for Brett Bilemma, Chryst accepted the head coaching job at Pittsburg University and went 24-24 in his three seasons there.
Despite a mediocre coaching career in Pennsylvania, the Wisconsin alumni has fit in absolutely perfectly in Madison with a typical, hard-nosed Badger attitude few have been able to stop. Even without a high-powered offense and players like Melvin Gordon, Russel Wilson and Monte Ball, Chryst has led the Badgers to two seasons in which they finished in the AP top 25.
What makes Chryst so special is his interaction with the players on and off the field. Known as a players coach, he is one of the few head coaches in college football to call the plays on offense and have full control over the offensive end. While the defense is widely considered the reason for success under Chryst, his ability to control time of possession and run the ball earned the Badgers the No. 1 ranking in time of possession and helped the defense rest during games.
The biggest reason for the extension, however, comes down to the national success the Wisconsin team saw this year. The Badgers’ three top 10 wins in 2016 was the most the program has ever had in one year and catapulted them into the top 10 for the majority of the year.
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Chryst’s work this season, despite a disappointing loss in the Big Ten championship game, earned him the Big Ten Coach of the Year award over Ohio State University’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. With a head coaching vacancy in Los Angeles with the Rams, there were rumors Chryst’s style of play would mesh well with second-year running back Todd Gurley and Chryst might be one of the top candidates for the job.
While the head coach almost mocked those rumors in an interview a few weeks ago, no Badger fan could be entirely sure of their head coach’s fate, especially after defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox left for the University of California, Berkeley a week earlier. The defensive coordinator position is still very much in the air, but at least there will not be another head coaching vacancy at Wisconsin for five years.