It wasn’t more than 48 hours ago that Mario Cristobal had emerged in multiple media accounts as the favorite to become the next head coach at Pittsburgh.
Coincidence or not, the same candidate has reportedly fallen out of favor following his team’s Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl loss to Marshall Tuesday night.
Instead of Cristobal, it’s being reported by both the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is now seen as the favorite to take over for Todd Graham, who texted that he was leaving the Panthers earlier this month for Arizona State. Chryst reportedly performed well during his interview with Pitt officials last week, a far cry from his rumored performance when he was a candidate for the opening earlier this year.
A ringing endorsement, as the Journal Sentinel described it, from UW athletic director Barry Alvarez did not hurt Chryst’s candidacy either.
It’s unclear when Pittsburgh will pull the trigger on a hire, although it could very well come before the weekend.
One other additional note on Pittsburgh’s search for a coach: Luke Fickell, who interviewed for the position and was widely viewed as one of the three finalists, is no longer in the running for the job. Unless he re-emerges as a candidate at Akron, Fickell will return to Ohio State to serve as co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers, whose hiring by the Buckeyes was officially announced earlier today.
10:54 p.m. ET: Chryst appears to be the choice for Pittsburgh to replace Graham, and an announcement by the school is now expected to take place as early as Thursday. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that “Chryst is in line to become the next head coach at Pitt assuming the two sides can reach an agreement on a contract.”