Rudolph Officially Hired, Aranda Retained

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst made it official on Tuesday evening, retaining defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and bringing back former UW offensive lineman/assistant coach Joe Rudolph to run the offense.

MADISON - The angst over who Wisconsin’s assistant coaches will be under new head coach Paul Chryst has started to subside.

After being approved by the UW Board of Regents via teleconference Tuesday, Chryst officially retained Dave Aranda as defensive coordinator and brought former UW offensive lineman and assistant coach Joe Rudolph back to the program as offensive coordinator/associate head coach.

Aranda will return for a third season after serving as UW’s defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach for the past two years. A former Badgers player and assistant coach, Rudolph returns to Madison following a three-year stint as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Pittsburgh under Chryst.

“There are a number of similarities with Dave and Joe,” Chryst said in a statement. “Both are obviously terrific football coaches. They care about our student-athletes not just as players, but also people. As coaches they are committed to helping them become successful and well-rounded adults. The players can sense that and really enjoy playing for them.”

Aranda will continue handling the Badgers’ inside linebackers, while Rudolph will coach the offensive line after Chryst’s attempts to lure former Wisconsin offensive line coach Bob Bostad back to Wisconsin were unsuccessful.

Under Aranda's watch, converting Wisconsin from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme two years ago, Wisconsin’s defense has allowed an average of 299.4 yards per game, ranking third among FBS programs over the last two seasons and trailing only Louisville (280.5) and Michigan State (282.9).

The Badgers have allowed an average of 18.6 points per game over the last two seasons, the sixth-best mark in the FBS during that span. Wisconsin also ranks No. 5 nationally in passing defense over the past two seasons at 184.6 yards allowed per game and No. 7 in rushing defense at 114.7 yards allowed per contest. The Badgers have allowed just 27 rushing touchdowns in the 27 games Aranda has coached.

This past season, Wisconsin ranked fourth in the country in total defense (294.1 ypg), 17th in scoring defense (20.8 ppg), 23rd in rushing defense (126.1 ypg) and fourth in passing defense (168.0 ypg). UW’s defense also had 93.0 tackles for loss and 37.0 sacks to rank among the nation’s top 20 in both categories.

This upcoming season will be Aranda’s sixth as a defensive coordinator.

“Dave is the first person I spoke to when I got the job. I’m very impressed with his knowledge of defense and his ability to put together a game plan,” Chryst said. “He has helped build Wisconsin’s defense into one of the best in the country over the last two years and the numbers back that up. He is able to identify the strengths of his players and play to those strengths, which I think is the mark of a good coach. When Dave expressed a great interest in staying, I was excited because I believe it is a great fit.”

Pittsburgh enjoyed its most productive year offensively under Rudolph in 2014, averaging 31.8 points and 435.4 yards per game. Pitt ranked No. 3 in the ACC in total offense and No. 5 in the league in scoring offense. As a result, Rudolph’s offensive players at Pitt earned a total of 12 all-conference honors.

During Rudolph's three seasons, Pitt’s quarterbacks averaged 8.0 yards per pass attempt, the 19th-best mark among Power Five programs in that span. Panthers QBs also posted a combined pass efficiency mark of 143.9 in that time frame, the 16th-best mark among power five schools.

Much like the offenses he was involved with at Wisconsin, Rudolph’s Pitt units controlled the clock and rarely turned the ball over. The Panthers committed the fifth-fewest turnovers in the FBS over the last three seasons with a total of just 46. They also ranked 14th nationally over that span with an average time of possession of 31:51.

In his first stint with the Badgers, Rudolph spent four seasons as UW’s tight ends coach from 2008 to 2011. He contributed to the two highest-scoring offenses in school history, with the Badgers averaging 44.1 points per game in 2011 and 41.5 points per game in 2010.

He coached four UW tight ends that have earned playing time in the NFL in Travis Beckum, Garrett Graham, Lance Kendricks and Jake Byrne. Beckum was taken in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, Kendricks was a second-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 2011 NFL Draft, and Graham was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.

Rudolph graduated from UW in 1995 and later earned a master’s degree in business administration from Carnegie Mellon University. A native of Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, he was a member of Barry Alvarez’s first recruiting class at Wisconsin and twice earned All-Big Ten honors as an offensive lineman.

In 1993, he helped the Badgers claim the Big Ten championship with a 10-1-1 record, including a win in the Rose Bowl. As a senior, he captained the UW squad that went 8-3-1 and won the Hall of Fame Bowl. He went on to play two years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’ve worked with Joe for a number of years and have witnessed first-hand how good of a coach he is,” Chryst said. “He is very detailed oriented and has a terrific offensive mind. He preaches a tough, physical, smart brand of football that I believe is the foundation of the Wisconsin program. Being a graduate and having played and coached at UW, he truly knows what it means to be a Badger.”

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