COACHING SEARCH: Paul Chryst

Wisconsin's Offensive Coordinator has been a much talked about name when head coaching vacancies have surfaced in the Midwest in recent years. Now that the IU job is open, Chryst figures to be a candidate that IU Athletic Director Fred Glass looks at very closely.

Wisconsin's Offensive Coordinator has been a much talked about name when head coaching vacancies have surfaced in the Midwest in recent years. Now that the IU job is open, Chryst figures to be a candidate that IU Athletic Director Fred Glass looks at very closely.

In his sixth season as a UW assistant coach and his fifth year as the Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Chryst has overseen an offense that has been one of the nation's most balanced and productive in recent years. This year's squad ranks fourth in the nation in scoring offense (43.3), 12th in rushing offense (247.3) and 18th in total offense (450.2). In three of the past four seasons the Badger offense has averaged at least 200 yards rushing and passing per game, which stands in stark contrast to the problems Indiana has had in doing the same.

Chryst has no head coaching experience, but that hasn't kept him from being a closely eyed candidate for several coaching vacancies. Two years ago, he appeared to be Purdue's first choice to replace Joe Tiller before the job eventually went to Danny Hope. Reports suggest that Chryst was offered the Purdue job in 2008, but eventually declined the opportunity to spend one year on Joe Tiller's staff before taking over the reins in 2009. The idea of coaching within the Big Ten was reportedly a concern for Chryst, as was unconventional approach to serving as a ‘coach in waiting' for one season.

One of five finalists for the Broyles' Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010, Chryst has also surfaced as a possibility at Minnesota, which obviously had a head start in its coaching search when it fired Tim Brewster midway through the season. While a case could be made that Minnesota's job is a more attractive one than Indiana's, the fact Minnesota is arguably Wisconsin's most heated conference rival could make him think twice about getting too involved in the Gophers' coaching search.

Financially, the jump from being an assistant coach to a head coach represents a sizable upgrade in pay for anyone, but Chryst is one of the nation's most highly-compensated assistants. As of the fall of 2009, Chryst's annual salary of $361,554 made him the highest paid Big Ten assistant coach and it ranked 23rd among assistants nationally.

What Makes Him a Viable Candidate: Indiana fans need to look no further than three weeks ago if they need a reminder about how effective Chryst's offenses can be. Wisconsin did what no Big Ten team has done in 60 years when it scored 83 points against the Hoosiers in a game that probably went a long way in convincing Glass that a change was needed at the helm of the IU program. But on top of that 83-point outburst, Chryst is highly-respected in coaching circles, which is why his name keeps surfacing whenever there's a Midwestern coaching vacancy. He impressed Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke enough nearly three years ago that he was offered the Boilermakers' job, and his resume has only been enhanced since then. Wisconsin has also done a tremendous job with player development over the years, something that's critical for a program like Indiana, which can't recruit on the level of many of its Big Ten counterparts.

What Makes Him a Longshot: He was reportedly lukewarm to the idea of coaching within the conference three years ago, and it's unclear whether he's changed his stand on that. There have been reports that he's informed Minnesota that he's not interested in their vacancy, which could suggest he's sticking to the notion that he doesn't want his first head coaching gig to be in the Big Ten. The lack of head coaching experience is also a negative – he'd have to assemble a coaching staff instead of bringing one with him to Bloomington, which would slow the staff's efforts at keeping the 2011 recruiting class intact and adding additional pieces before the February signing date.

Hoosier Nation's Take: If the reports of Chryst having no interest in the Minnesota vacancy are true, then it only goes to reason that he doesn't have a great desire to coach in the same conference as his current employer. If that's the case, then Indiana will likely have to look elsewhere for a replacement for Bill Lynch. Chryst has had his name surface in each of the past several years for coaching vacancies, which has probably helped him elevate his pay to an elite level for an assistant coach. He's likely in a situation where things have to be just right for him to leave Madison, and Indiana probably doesn't meet that criteria.


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