If anyone knows Paul Chryst’s timeline, it’s a good bet that he will be.
The worst kept secret at the University of Wisconsin was finally been unveiled Wednesday that Chryst, a Madison native who played and coached for the Badgers, has been hired to be the 30th head coach in program history.
“I’d like to thank Coach Alvarez for this wonderful opportunity,” Chryst said. “This is obviously a special place not only for me but our whole family. I would also like to thank the players, staff and administration at Pitt for the last three years. I’m proud of what I helped to accomplish there and appreciate the support I’ve received. Pitt will always have a special place in my heart.”
“It’s a bit overwhelming to be able to come back to a place where you grew up, went to school and coached, where you have so many ties personally and professionally. This job has everything that we, as a family, and me, personally, are looking for. The bar has been set at a high level here and it didn’t just happen. I look forward to the challenge of continuing that tradition of success.”
Alvarez needed two weeks to hire Andersen after then-head coach Bret Bielema left for Arkansas, but moved quickly this time around to target Chryst, a former assistant of his. Likely the top name on Alvarez’s “short list,” the two met Thursday in Florida to get the chain of events moving forward.
A Madison native, Chryst has been a fixture in the state’s football scene for decades. He led Platteville to the WIAA Division 4 state title, was the quarterback of the Badgers in the late 80s, was UW’s tight end coach in 2002 and the offensive coordinator from 2005-11 before becoming the head coach at Pitt in 2012.
Wisconsin went 60-19 record (.759) during his six seasons overseeing the offense, which annually ranked among the best in the country. In his final three seasons, Wisconsin achieved the Big Ten's best record (32-8, .800) while averaging 39.2 points per game during that span.
Chryst's coaching career started with a stint as a graduate assistant at West Virginia in 1989. In 1993, he became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Platteville. He held those same positions at Illinois State and Oregon State before retuning to Madison in 2002 to coach the tight ends on Alvarez’s staff.
He returned to Oregon State to serve as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Beavers from 2003-04. In 2003, OSU ranked 10th in total offense (463 yards per game) and became the first team in Division I history with a 4,000-yard passer (Derek Anderson), a 1,500-yard rusher (Steven Jackson) and two 1,000-yard receivers (James Newson and Mike Hass).
Chryst’s second stint in Madison came in 2005 as the Badgers’ co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterback coach under Bielema. From 2006 until Chryst left in 2012, Wisconsin won at least 10 games four times.
Chryst got his first head coaching opportunity at Pittsburgh, overhauling the Panthers program in the wake of Todd Graham’s quick exit. Pitt went 19-19 the past three seasons and made three straight bowl games, including the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl on Jan.2.BadgerNation will have full coverage from Chryst’s press conference and much more