MADISON - New head coach Paul Chryst has kept a tight seal on who the members of his first Wisconsin coaching staff will be, but the names being leaked out could form one of the better staffs in the conference.
With sources already confirming that defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has been retained and Pittsburgh offensive coordinator/assistant head coach Joe Rudolph will follow Chryst back to UW after reportedly turned down a similar offer from Pitt, Wisconsin could add a third former coordinator in Madison native Jay Norvell as the program’s wide receiver coach.
Norvell (pictured) - who has previously coached in the NFL and at UW from 1989-94 - is considered to be a great x’s and o’s coach. Players like Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills and Jalen Saunders blossomed into NFL players under his guidance in Oklahoma, where he coached the program’s wide receivers and was the co-offensive coordinator from 2008 before being let go after this season.
According to Scout.com’s Greg Powers, Norvell’s recruiting overall was up and down in Norman. The Sooners just missed on landing major impact talents like Laquon Treadwell and Dorial Green-Beckham (the first time around), but he did bring in highly targeted four-star guys like Stills and Sterling Shepard, an OU legacy who also seems on the path to the NFL.
He also pulled in a couple of five-stars like Justin McCay and Trey Metoyer, but neither player worked out. McCay transferred to Kansas and Metoyer was booted from the program. Both of his 2015 recruits -- John Humphrey and Dede Westbrook -- have already signed and enrolled at OU.
Losing current receivers coach Chris Beatty would likely cost Wisconsin three-star wide receiver target Gary Jennings and could impact the status of three-star cornerback commit T.J. Griffin, whose strong Bond with Beatty led to his commitment in November.
Although Chryst reportedly offered the running back coach job to former UW assistant John Settle, Thomas Brown has hinted on Twitter that he’s returning this season. Retaining Brown would be a major coup for UW on the recruiting front, as recruits have spoken glowingly about his approach and down-to-earth character.
“I love it here,” Brown said prior to the Outback Bowl.
In addition to Rudolph, Chryst is expected to bring defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield and linebackers/special teams coach Chris Haering from Pittsburgh. Both coached with Chryst for the past three seasons.
A two-time all-conference defensive lineman at Oregon State and having strong West Coast ties having coached defensive line at Weber State, Montana and UCLA, Breckterfield would be able to continue recruiting the West Coast for the Badgers (where UW currently has two commits from nose tackles) and develop a young defensive line unit.
Breckterfield played for the Beavers under Mike Riley, who is now the head coach at Nebraska. Chryst is a close friend of Riley’s and was an Oregon State assistant when Breckterfield played for the Beavers.
Haering was a solid recruiter for Chryst, helping the Panthers secure commits from Alex Bookser, Tyler Boyd (a one-time UW target) and many others. Haering served as head coach at Mt. Lebanon High School, compiling a 111-71 record and leading the Blue Devils to 13 WPIAL playoff appearances. Haering sent numerous Mt. Lebanon players on to play college football, including current UW sophomore nose tackle Arthur Goldberg.
Other staff updates
- It’s still believed former UW offensive line coach Bob Bostad is Chryst’s top option to coach offensive line at Wisconsin. If Bostad declines, UW could move Rudolph to OL coach and retain Jeff Genyk as tight end coach.
- It’s widely believed cornerbacks coach Ben Strickland, who played at UW while Chryst was the offensive coordinator, will be retained. There’s been no word on safeties coach Bill Busch, but it’s believed he’ll stay if given the opportunity.
- Once reported to be joining Chryst at Wisconsin, current Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Matt House doesn’t appear to be in the running for a current staff position.