Wisconsin Set To Hire Pittsburgh’s Paul Chryst To Head Coaching Position

This isn’t new for Paul Chryst, or for Barry Alvarez.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the University of Wisconsin’s athletic director, Barry Alvarez, is set to hire current University of Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst for the same role at Wisconsin, replacing Gary Andersen, who left to coach Oregon State.

Chryst, 49, has deep roots with Wisconsin, having been their quarterback from 1986 to 1988, tight ends coach in 2002, and offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2011. Alvarez will be looking to replace Andersen with loyalties to Wisconsin. Since 2006, Alvarez has had to replace the head coach twice, both times unexpectedly. This time, Alvarez needs to replace Andersen, who bolted for Oregon State. In 2006, Bret Bielsma unexpectedly departed Wisconsin for Arkansas.

With this potential hire, Alvarez hopes he has found someone whose deep roots with Wisconsin will keep them in Madison for a much longer period of time.

Wisconsin must now wait until Wednesday to formally offer Chryst the position. Alvarez issued an official statement, saying Wisconsin could not offer anyone the position until Wednesday due to university hiring policies.

“We are continuing the process of finding our new head football coach,” Alvarez said. “We have not offered the position to anyone.”

Chryst, who sports a record of 19-19 with Pittsburgh, was rumored to be Alvarez’s replacement when Bielsma left Wisconsin for Arkansas. However, Chryst had only been with Pittsburgh for one season, so the timing didn’t seem right.

Chryst now leaves one coaching merry-go-round for another. Pittsburgh will now be looking for their fifth coach since 2010, when they fired Dave Wannstadt. After 2010, then-head-coach Todd Graham left for Arizona State. Mike Haywood was hired, but subsequently removed from the position after being charged and arrested on domestic violence charges.

USA Today is reporting that Chryst is “poised” to return to his alma mater and perform well. Though Chryst has compiled a 19-19 record in the ACC, without any winning seasons in Pittsburgh, many people with knowledge of the pending hiring feel Chryst would be an ideal fit. Bielsma’s offense is still being run at Wisconsin, and Chryst knows how to run that offense. Chryst ran that offense in Pittsburgh, and that same offense has won Wisconsin two Big Ten titles.

Alvarez did point out rather humorlessly about how he was so prepared so quickly to move on Chryst.

“I always keep a short list,” Alvarez said Wednesday in discussing the stunning departure of Andersen to Oregon State. “And we will proceed in our search for a new head coach immediately.”

[Image courtesy Pitt Athletics]