Tuesday began with several head coaching jobs still open among FBS schools. Then, like dominos, by the end of Tuesday only a few jobs remain open based on hirings or other announcements for later in the week.
Why would Pitt be tied to a head coaching search for a third season in a row? That's because Arkansas has lured Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin, just three days after Bielema led the Badgers to its third consecutive Big Ten Champioship, its third consecutive Rosé Bowl appearance.
Chryst had served as Wisconsin's offensive coordinator from 2005-2011, and was also the Badgers tight ends coach in 2002. Chryst, a native of Madison, was a three-year letterwinner for the Badgers, graduating in 1988.
Had Chryst stayed at Wisconsin as the offensive coordinator, he may have also been in line to take over for Bielema in this instance. Instead, he took on his first head coaching job, leading the Panthers to a 6-6 season, and the school's fifth consecutive bowl bid in as many years.
One of the reasons Chryst was hired at Pitt was his offensive background. In just one year, Pitt produced the first 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. What he did with Sunseri is nothing short of spectacular. Sunseri was coming off a junior year that produced 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions under Todd Graham. Under Chryst Sunseri eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark for the first time in his career, throwing for 19 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. Sunseri also hasn't been picked off in his last 270 passing attempts, a span of nine games.
"I can't say well enough how good a job Coach Chryst has done," Sunseri said after Saturday's win. "He's for the players, and you can tell everyones playing for him"
A coaching search/change in December, would unfortunately be nothing new for Pitt or its fans. Two years ago, just two days after accepting its bid to the BBVA Compass Bowl, then head coach Dave Wannstedt was fired.
That led to the hiring of Michael Haywood, firing of Michael Haywood two weeks later following a domestic incident in South Bend, Indiana. Todd Graham was hired on January 11, 2011...five weeks to the day of Wannstedt's dismissal.
Graham then bolted for Arizona State, not even bothering to ask for permission to be interviewed. He also informed players via text of his departure.
If Chryst did anything besides having an impact on those offensive numbers, he seemd to earn players trust after all the turmoil the program endured ove the last couple years. The question, is if Chryst becomes a candidate at Wisconsin, and ultimately takes the job, what happens next?
"This is the first time since I have been here starting that we are going to be able to carry over and use these bowl practices for spring ball," Sunseri said, also after Saturday's win. "The last two years, we have been going to these practices, the offense didn't repeat into spring ball. So, it was kind of a waste of those practices."
Hopefully, Pitt won't be looking at another set of wasted practices.