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Paul Chryst coming home, set to be named next Wisconsin Badgers head coach

When you’re a Madison, Wis. native, a former quarterback at the University of Wisconsin and have been the offensive coordinator at the school twice, it’s safe to say you’re a Badger for life. According to reports Chryst’s journey at the University of Wisconsin is not done, as Barry Alvarez is set to hire the Pitt head coach for the same position, per multiple reports out of Madison.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the news late on Thursday night, with Jason Galloway of the Wisconsin State Journal reporting the same information just moments later.

Chryst returns to his hometown after a three-year stint as the head coach of the Pitt Panthers, leading them to a 19-19 record in his tenure there. He led the team to three bowl games as well, going 1-1 in the two bowl games he coached.

While the overall record may not make you jump out of your seat, its his work as an offensive coordinator at Wisconsin that has people in Madison fired up over this hire.

He led some of the most prolific offenses in Wisconsin history, including perhaps the most memorable year of 2011 where Russell Wilson went from nice to unbelievably good.

Let’s take a look at Chryst’s overall numbers as the offensive coordinator at UW.

*(national ranking in parentheses)

[ws_table id=”52″]

(source: official stats)

It is believed that Chryst will take some of the staff he currently has in place at Pitt to Wisconsin with him. One name sure to come back is former Badger offensive lineman Joe Rudolph.

He was the offensive coordinator for Chryst at Pitt, but served under him at Wisconsin as a tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. That last part is perhaps the greatest key to what the Badgers are going to be doing under Chryst, because Rudolph has a great reputation in recruiting circles, and can really help the transition between the old staff and new one.

Also on staff at Pitt are a number of former Badger players, and many could be back in Madison should there be openings on staff.

Perhaps the biggest question mark is how the Badgers are going to go about playing defense. They were in throws of a full transition to a 3-4 look and those types of players are what are the roster and being recruited right now. It’s also a defense that was really working for the Badgers this past season.

All will be answered in time, as the official announcement can’t come until at least Dec. 17th when the job posting can be close by state hiring law (all state positions have to be open for 14 days).

Considering the fact that the Badgers have seen two coaches jump ship at the next opportunity, hiring Chryst is a move that should at least guarantee some stability for a while in Madison. It’s hard to see Chryst leaving of his own accord in just a short time frame, considering his deep roots at the university and love for the Badgers program.

Now the pressure will be on to win and win big. Good luck Chryst, you’ve got just over 9 months to get this team ready to take on Alabama to open the season.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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