Pitt's third coaching search in the last 12 months has come to an end. The university announced Thursday morning, that Paul Chryst will be officially introduced Thursday afternoon as its new head coach.
"My family and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to join the University of Pittsburgh," Chryst said in a release from Pitt's athletic department. "Pitt and Pittsburgh are absolutely the right fit for us, and we're looking forward to getting immersed in our new hometown. We are committed to building a program on and off the field that will make people proud. The bar is set high in the ‘City of Champions' and that is incredibly exciting and inspiring. I can't wait to meet our players and get to work."
Chryst has spent the last seven seasons as offensive coordinator at Wisconsin. Prior to that, he served as the offensive coordinator at Oregon State for two seasons under Mike Riley. He initially went back to his alma mater of Wisconsin in 2002, following a three-year stint under Riley with the San Diego Chargers.
I know there's nobody more ready than this guy," Riley adds. "Kids will love him. He will work hard for them. He'll run a program, and no one will ever have to worry about how it's done. He'll do it with class, professionalism. He's really a good person and he will make everybody proud."
As offensive coordinator at Wisconsin this past season, two players had impressive enough a season to be invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation as finalists; quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball. Ball leads the nation in total rushing yards (1,759) and scoring (38 touchdowns, 17.54 points/game). He is one touchdown shy of the NCAA record of 39 set by Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders in 1988. He rushed for at least two touchdowns in 11 of 13 games this year. He rushed for at least three touchdowns in six games this season.
Wilson transferred in from N.C. State for his final season of eligibility. He finished second nationally in pass efficiency (191.60 rating), trailing only Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III's 192.31 rating. Wilson completed 73% of his passes for 2,879 yards and 31 touchdowns. His most remarkable number, however, may be the fact that he threw just three interceptions in 284 passing attempts. Wilson also won the inaugural Big Ten "Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year" award.
"One of his great coaching jobs was taking a first-year quarterback in just one year, and making him as productive as he did," Riley said of his work with Wilson. "Quarterbacks take time; sometimes quarterbacks take two or three years to develop."
His 2010 offense also set records and accolades in its own way. The Badgers ranked fifth nationally in scoring at 41.5 points per game. Prior to 2010, Wisconsin had not scored 70 points in a game since 1915. The Badgers did it in three different games in 2010. Not to mention, the Badgers were nearly the first team to have three 1,000-yard rushers on the same team(James White, 1,052 yards; John Clay, 1,012; Montee Ball, 996). They also had another strong performance with a different quarterback. Scott Tolzien set the Big Ten single-season record for completion percentage (73.3% in eight league games) and finished sixth in the country in pass efficiency (165.92 rating). Tolzien threw just six interceptions in 266 passing attempts.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Coach Chryst and his family to Pittsburgh," Pitt athletic director Pederson said. "His remarkable success at Wisconsin is well documented in the form of Big Ten championships and All-America performances. But beyond his achievements on the football field, we believed it was important to find a leader who gets the very best from his players while also developing the kind of culture that fits the University of Pittsburgh. Paul Chryst is that leader and we are anxious for our players and fans to get to know him in the coming days and years."
Here is a look at Chryst's previous stops:Collegiate
West Virginia (1989-90), graduate assistant
UW–Platteville (1993), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
Illinois State (1995), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
Oregon State (1997-98), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
Wisconsin (2002), tight ends
Oregon State (2003-04), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
Wisconsin (2005), co-offensive coordinator & tight ends
Wisconsin (2006-present), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
San Antonio Riders (1991-92), wide receivers, running backs, tight ends (World League of American Football)
Ottawa Rough Riders (1994), quarterbacks (Canadian Football League)
Saskatchewan Roughriders (1996), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks (Canadian Football League)
San Diego Chargers (1999-2001), tight ends (National Football League)