Wisconsin Coaching Hot Board 1.0

Following the surprise departure of Gary Andersen to Oregon State, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez begins his second coaching search in two years. BadgerNation has a list of candidates who fit the billing and whose names have been mentioned.

The Top Target

Paul Chryst

Chryst was the quarterback of the Badgers in the late '80s, was the tight ends coach of the Badgers in 2002 and was the offensive coordinator from 2005-11 before becoming the head coach at Pitt in 2012. In three seasons at Pittsburgh, Chryst is 19-19.

Chryst earned acclaim as one of college football's finest teachers and strategists, as UW compiled a 60-19 record (.759) during his six seasons overseeing the offense, which annually ranked among the best in the country.

In 2011, Chryst helped Wisconsin to an 11-3 record and its second consecutive Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth. The Badgers featured a prolific offense that set no fewer than a dozen school records, including points per game (44.1 avg.), total offense per game (469.9 avg.), total rushing yards (3,298) and total passing yards (3,280).

Over the past three seasons (2009-11), Wisconsin achieved the Big Ten's best record (32-8, .800) while averaging 39.2 points per game during that span. Chryst also coached the UW quarterbacks and was named a finalist for the prestigious Broyles Award, annually presented to college football's top assistant, each of the past two seasons.

”My vision is making it fit the guys," Chryst told Pittsburgh’s athletics website after he was hired. "One thing that you have to be careful of is that your system has to fit the players. Football is a tough, physical game and I like that part of it, but I think you accommodate your players. You are a better coach with better players, and better coaches give their players a chance to be successful. So you have to be careful trying to put a square peg in a round hole. We're not just going to say we're going to be a `pound it' type of team. We want to be balanced."

UW athletic director Barry Alvarez has spoken openly about the disappointment he had that he couldn’t retain Chryst after the 2002 season. Chryst had come to UW after three years with the San Diego Chargers and left to go to Oregon State.

Since Dave Wannstedt left in Dec. 2010, the Panthers have had five head coaches. Chryst is the overwhelming fan favorite to bring back his offensive flair back into Camp Randall. He’s turned down Wisconsin once. Will he do it again?

Other Head Coaches


The supposed runner up to Gary Andersen in 2012, although it was reported he was never offered the job, Clawson’s hire wouldn’t generate much excitement in Wisconsin. He spent a year as the offensive coordinator in Tennessee in 2008, but the Volunteers had the 116th best offense in the country that year. After spending six years at Bowling Green, finishing with a 32-31 record, Clawson was hired for his first power five coaching job at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons finished 3-9. Clawson did lead the Falcons to a 10-3 record and a MAC championship last year with an offense ranked eighth in the nation in total defense and 23rd in total offense. The Falcons were one of just six teams to rank in the top 30 nationally in both total offense and defense. The Falcons are the only non-power conference team to rank in the top 25 statistically in both total offense and total defense in 2013. The previous season, Bowling Green was ranked sixth in the nation in total defense in and 10th nationally in scoring defense, yielding just 16.8 points per game.

Dave Doeren


Doeren spent five years at Wisconsin, where he served as defensive coordinator along with linebackers coach. During Doeren's time at Wisconsin, the Badgers posted a 49-15 overall record and played in the Champs Sports Bowl (twice), Outback Bowl and Capital One Bowl. In January of 2008, Doeren added defensive coordinator duties to his assignment as linebackers coach after spending his first two seasons in Madison as the Badgers' co-defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator.

Wisconsin’s defenses were consistently ranked in the national top 25 in NCAA defensive categories. The 2010 Wisconsin defense ranked 20th in the country in total defense and in the Top 30 in both rushing and scoring defense. In 2009, Wisconsin led the Big Ten and ranked fifth in the country in rushing defense. The Badgers held each of their last 10 opponents in 2009 to less than 100 yards rushing, the longest streak in school history. Wisconsin led the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2006 and was the No. 2 scoring defense in the country.

Doeren has experience at multiple stops in addition to Northern Illinois and Wisconsin, as he served on successful coaching staffs at Kansas (2002-05), Montana (2000-01), USC (1998-99) and Drake (1995-97), his alma mater. In all, he helped take teams to eight bowl games and two national championship contests as an assistant.

As a head coach, Doeren is 33-18 overall (23-4 at Northern Illinois and 10-14 at N.C. State)

Al Golden


Golden’s name was tossed around during the previous coaching search. He was hired by a former president and athletic director who have close ties to Wisconsin, so it makes sense that Golden’s hiring a couple years back was because the pair liked his values.

The former Penn State and New England Patriots tight end worked his way through the coaching ranks with stops as a defensive assistant at Boston College (1997-99) and Penn State (2000) before being hired as the defensive coordinator at Virginia in 2001.

He took over the head coaching position at Temple, a program had just two winning seasons over its previous 26 years and had only won 22 percent of its games over the previous 30 years, in 2006 and battled through a 1-11 record in his first season. He went a combined 17-8 in his final two seasons, including a trip to the EagleBank Bowl in 2009 – the school’s first bowl appearance since 1990.

Golden was hired as the head coach at the University of Miami before the 2011 season and has guided the Hurricanes to a 21-21 record in two years. But after finishing in a tie for first in 2012, Miami has gone backwards, although the program has been under NCAA sanctions.

Voted the preseason favorite to capture the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Hurricanes instead finished in a three-way tie for last by ending on a three-game skid.

"It's important to keep it in perspective," athletic director Blake James said this month. "I think the answer to your question -- I don't feel any different, but it's important to evaluate things holistically. After the bowl game's over, I'll really reflect back on the entire season and talk with Al about it. As I've said numerous times over the past few weeks, he's our coach. He's going to continue to be our coach. With that said he knows we have to get better, I know we have to get better. I need to talk to him about how we need to get better."

Golden has ties to Pittsburgh and the East Coast in terms of recruiting, which is an important area for the Badgers. He also has worked for plenty of athletic directors in a short time frame, and Alvarez can provide stability and a solid program to build on.


Chris Ash

After the butt kicking his defense unleashed on Wisconsin Saturday, Wisconsin’s former defensive coordinator and Ohio State’s current co-defensive coordinator might get a look.

Ash’s unit was the main reason Wisconsin went to Pasadena for a third straight season. Although some late scores against the second-team defense skewed the average, Wisconsin’s defense gave up more than 21 points in regulation only three times this past season (twice coming against Nebraska and the Huskers’ conference-best rushing attack). Wisconsin held eight opponents to 14 points or fewer in four quarters, including six straight.

In his first as co-defensive coordinator, the Badgers ranked 13th in the country in scoring defense (19.0 points per game) and 15th in the nation in total defense. It was the first time since 2006 that Wisconsin had allowed fewer than 20.0 points per game. Ten of the Badgers' 14 opponents failed to score more than 17 points.

UW allowed just 163.6 yards per game through the air in 2011 to rank fourth in the NCAA in pass defense. That was the second-best mark for Wisconsin's defense in the last 20 years. Oregon State, Michigan State (twice) and Oregon were the only teams to pass for more than 180 yards against the Badgers.

Five UW defenders earned All-Big Ten honors, including four first-team selections. Linebackers Mike Taylor and Chris Borland finished 1-2 in the conference in total tackles, with both finishing in the top 10 in the country. Taylor's 150 tackles were the most by a Badger since 2001. Defensive backs Aaron Henry and Antonio Fenelus tied for second in the conference with four interceptions apiece as UW ranked second in the Big Ten with 16 INTs.

Before those criticize UW hiring a coach without head coaching experience, look how Alvarez’s last head coaching hire turned out.

Darrell Bevell

A long-time assistant in the state of Wisconsin, Bevell has expressed interest in the past of returning to Wisconsin where he led UW to Rose Bowls and worked with Green Bay for six years, serving three as quarterbacks coach.

Bevell helped turn the University of Wisconsin program into a national power. A four-year starter for the Badgers, Bevell helped guide the team to a 10-1-1 mark as a sophomore in 1993. The squad claimed a share of the Big Ten championship for the first time since 1962 and defeated UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Bevell helped UW go 18-4-2. He left Madison as the school’s all-time leading passer with 19 team records and a pair of Big Ten marks. His 67.8% completion mark set in 1993 stood as the conference record until 2010, and he was a 61.4% passer for his career.

Bevell is a hot head coaching candidate after getting plenty of attention leading Seattle Seahawks’ offense, with former UW quarterback Russell Wilson, to a Super Bowl title last season. He doesn’t have college coaching ties, so it’s unknown of Alvarez’s intentions with him.

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