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Chryst remains ‘committed to the Pitt football program’

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In the immediate aftermath of the Bret Bielema bombshell Arkansas dropped on the college football world Tuesday afternoon, it took, at most, nanoseconds for Paul Chryst‘s name to be brought up as a potential replacement at Wisconsin.

On multiple levels, that particular dot-connecting makes immense sense.  Chryst was born in Madison and lived on UW’s home turf until he was in his mid-teens.  He spent one year as an assistant on former head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez‘s UW staff in 2002, returning for Alvarez’s final season in 2005 and remaining on as Bielema’s offensive coordinator until landing the job as Pittsburgh’s head coach in December of last year.

In response to the aforementioned dot-connecting, Chryst has released a statement through his current employer that will do nothing to quell the speculation as it relates to his former employer.

“I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today’s developments,” Chryst said in the statement. “I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh. I am focusing all my time and energy on our team’s bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football.”

Given one the schools involved and their recent coaching history, a Todd Graham-sized grain of salt may not only be necessary but warranted.

Other than an expression of being “very surprised,” Wisconsin has given no indication in which direction they may head for a replacement for Bielema.

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47 Responses to “Chryst remains ‘committed to the Pitt football program’”
  1. prince5000 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:15 PM

    Hog fan here. Hope Wisconsin finds a great replacement. I feel like we hired a proven winner.

  2. bearfan3454 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:32 PM

    Good luck with Bielema. Christmas came early here in Wisconsin with the news of Bielema bolting to Arkansas. He does not have a clue how to manage a game.

  3. thefiesty1 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:40 PM

    Just DON’T call Tressel!

  4. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:44 PM

    Boy. You Wisconsin fans sure are a high and mighty bunch. At first all the hate on BB I thought was just sour grapes but it seems to be the consensus among Badger fans. How exactly did the guy do a bad job at UW? I understand and tend to agree with the idea it wasn’t a smart hire for Arkansas given the complete lack of experience in the SEC as to recruiting and such but all the UW fans cheering BB’s departure is a little nuts. Grass isn’t always greener people. That being said anybody that thinks Chryst doesn’t already have his bags packed for Madison….I have a bridge for sale.

  5. mvp43 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:47 PM

    I would love to see coach Fitzgerald from Northwestern come up here.

  6. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:51 PM

    I think Fitzgerald is a lifer at Northwestern. He’s not going anywhere.

  7. drummerhoff says: Dec 4, 2012 9:55 PM

    Mario Cristabol would be a great fit.

  8. prince5000 says: Dec 4, 2012 9:59 PM

    Bear fan 3454: thanks for a coach who went 7 seasons and 7 bowl games. BTW: us – oneBCS game. UW – 3 straight. Who is UW next coach?? Here Houston Nutt is free. LMFAO.

  9. rca26 says: Dec 4, 2012 10:04 PM


    Madison native, UW student, Badger season ticket holder here.

    I know that you think looking up Wisconsin’s recent record on Wikipedia qualifies you to get in your ivory tower concerning Wisconsin fans’ opinion of Bielema. That’s good, fantastic.

    However, we know a good coach when we see one. Barry Alvarez was a special coach. Paul Chryst is a special offensive mind with a lot of potential as a head guy. Bret Bielema, well, most of us are of the belief that he was in the right place at the right time.

    Bret has some good qualities. He’s a nice recruiter and has put together some good staffs at Wisconsin. But it’s no coincidence that the offense suffered when Chryst left, and didn’t take off until he took Canada’s shackles off in the Big 10 Championship. The guy can’t manage a game to save his life. And Chryst just so happen to have recruited a lot of our recent stars (Russell Wilson ring a bell?).

    We are a fiercely loyal bunch in Madison, but we know our football too. So that’s why we’re clamoring for a 6-6 Big East coach (and have done so all season). There’s a lot more to coaching the Badgers than meets the eye.

  10. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 10:24 PM

    There’s a lot more to coaching the Badgers than meets the eye? Ok. First, if me asking why you guys all wanted to see a successful coach gone is screaming from an ivory tower (which is the dumbest thing I’ve heard. Why is the tower ivory?) then so be it. I understand you guys just are all pros on picking coaches because I guess that’s about all there is to do in Wisconsin but I just find it funny how you people have such a high opinion of yourselves. Hate to tell you but there’s a reason he bolted for the SEC. And despite what you people think, it isn’t because he sucks. I guess if you guys aren’t running up the score on people 70-whatever a coach doesn’t know what he’s doing. I agree Alvarez was a good coach but if my memory serves me BB was his hand picked successor. So I guess if we connect the dots, your special coach doesn’t know what a good coach is which, as you can see, is a little funny. So while I was curious as to where all the hate is some how made me scream from a tower made of ivory for some reason it was a pretty simple question. I guess either way it doesn’t matter. Wisconsin is going to spend the next few years as Urban Meyer’s girlfriend no matter who you hire. But something tells me after that happens whoever the next coach is ‘won’t know what he’s doing’ too. But since Madison fans are so gifted at picking what a good coach is I guess I’ll leave that up to the pros.

  11. drummerhoff says: Dec 4, 2012 10:26 PM

    Wisconsin should hire the assistant who picked his nose and ate it during the Rose Bowl:

  12. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 10:38 PM

    Drummerhoff- thanks for that. Perfect follow up to my post. Hahahahaha

  13. rca26 says: Dec 4, 2012 10:39 PM

    “Wisconsin fans sure are a high and mighty bunch” is an interesting way of asking why we wanted to see a successful coach gone. Perhaps you meant to type a question mark.

    “Why is the tower ivory?”

    Kids these days must not read anymore.

    You know what? I concede all of your points. You obviously know much more about Wisconsin football than the people that watch Wisconsin football. Sorry for wasting your time.

  14. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 10:49 PM

    The only point I was making was getting mocked for wondering what the hell exactly warranted a celebration in Madison for a guy that took your team to a couple BCS Bowls. Must be nice to feel so special.

  15. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 11:00 PM

    Oh and in case this is breaking news in Wisconsin, people EVERYWHERE get to watch Wisconsin football on this awesome thing called cable or satellite TV.

  16. padraighansen says: Dec 4, 2012 11:07 PM

    @nongenital78 or whatever your name is – could you be a bigger douchebag? When you move out of your parent’s basement or hit puberty – whichever comes first – let us know. Until then, pull your head out of your ass before making more dumbass statements.

  17. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 11:08 PM

    What was the dumbass statement? That Wisconsin fans are acting high and mighty? Explain jerk off what I said that was dumb.

  18. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 11:09 PM

    Awwww. Are you a lost Badger fan too?

  19. ningenito78 says: Dec 4, 2012 11:12 PM

    nongenital78. Haha. That is some creative word play.

  20. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Dec 4, 2012 11:21 PM

    I was a little surprised that Bielema left also, but after reading all these comments from Wisconsin fans, I don’t blame him for leaving and am not surprised anymore.
    Wow, bunch of ungrateful, spoiled rotten, high and mighty, your shit don’t stick, arrogance, know it all fans!!!

  21. thekingdave says: Dec 4, 2012 11:50 PM

    I’m going to have to agree with ningenito78 here. Nothing he said was out of line and should have provoked these snarky responses.

  22. gfunk5299 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:01 AM

    Maybe this is overly simplifying it. Barry won every Rose Bowl he went to. Bielema lost every Rose Bowl he went to.

    Bielema is a good recruiter. I think he may struggle against elite recruiters in the SEC, even with the Arkansas brand behind him. Bielema did not bring out out of state five star recruit into Wisconsin.

    Bielema is a great marketer. He branded Wiscsonsin very well and he marketed the brand very well.

    Bielema has a big question mark about managing his coaching staff. All the major assistant coaches were Barry’s guys and there is still a big question mark about how almost his entire staff left last year. There was never a good explanation as to why. Local rumor mill says the guy is a jerk in person, maybe that is true and it rubs off on his colleagues??? Just rumors though so who knows.

    Bielema is an ok game coach. He makes very questionable time management decisions. He puts up 80 points, but only against inferior opponents. Big games he is about .500 and they are always a dogfight. Outside of the most recent Nebraska game, he rarely dominates against quality opponents. Quite often he has gotten to 17 pt leads on quality opponents and found a way to lose the game.

    I don’t know if the grass will be greener, it will be hard to find a better coach especially in a short window. But I think this program has gone about as far as it could under Bielema. A regular top 10-15 type team, a regular 25 – 35 recruiter, but rarely if ever a top 5 team.

    If we can’t get Cryst or Gruden or some other splash, I would love to see BA come back for a year or two until the next great coach is ready to run the program.

    Good Luck and Good wishes to Arkansas, I don’t hate Bielema and wish him well, I guess I will now root for Arkansas out of the SEC, but I am not sad to see Bielema leave.

  23. ronin262 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:08 AM

    Wow you Wisconsin fans act like your football team is steeped in successful history, multiple National Championships and all. When did Alvarez win them, I missed that? Your team is middle of the road in a conference that gets punked by the SEC and PAC-12 annually. Stop acting important. You aren’t.

  24. gfunk5299 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:17 AM

    ronin262, you make no sense. If Wisconsin is such a bad program, compared to the SEC, then what is Arkansas doing wasting their time with Bielema?

    I think Wisconsin fans are asking the question, why is Arkansas chasing a coach that has lost two straight Rose Bowls and never won one? We don’t think Bielema is all that good of a coach. Not that our program is awesome, he just isn’t an elite coach. He is not a National Championship caliber coach.

    And if you are an Arkansas fan, you should find the tapes of both of those games. Wisconsin should have won both of them with better in-game coaching.

    Don’t forget, Bielema was humiliated by Florida St in a bowl game as well.

  25. ningenito78 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:19 AM

    @thekingdave- I know maybe the ‘high and mighty’ thing seemed a little douschy but it wasn’t meant that way. I really didn’t get all the ‘THANK GOD THAT GUY IS GONE’ stuff. He was pretty successful. Especially filling extremely large shoes which is very difficult.
    @gfunk5299- ok. That actually sounds very reasonable. The thing that surprised me was how it was like a consensus thing. When I first started reading the comments I thought that maybe it was just some UW fans shocked and trying to rationalize it. But the more I read I really was surprised how many Badger fans wanted BB gone. I watched quite a few UW games over the years and came away pretty impressed. I admit I don’t troll Badger fan sites so I have no idea what the overall opinion was of the coach. I agree that he may be a little over his head in the SEC if, for nothing else, that’s good old boy country down there and the recruiting game is nasty. That may be a struggle. As for his in game management I have scene a pretty good amount of UW games but probably not enough to warrant as educated an opinion as true fans. But to be totally honest I would bet my house that Cryst ends up as the HC. I would honestly be stunned if he wasn’t. So in the end the Badgers will get their man.

    Now excuse me while I leave my ivory tower to double check that I still have pubic hair and a deep voice. Gotta go to work. Somebody needs to pay the mortgage.

  26. gfunk5299 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:26 AM

    One last note, Here is a good overall view of Bielema’s record.

    Notice, 2-4 in bowl games.

    Don’t read into it, not saying the guy is terrible, but for those asking why Wisconsin fans range from excited to see him leave to not upset by it, this kind of explains it as well.

  27. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:28 AM

    So we have to have 10 national championship banners hanging to expect a lot out of our football team? Bullcrap. Alvarez did a great job taking a terrible team and building it from the ground up and Bielema has not been an awful coach. At this point though of being relevant for the better part of 20 years us Wisconsin fans want more now. Just winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl shouldn’t be the goal, National Championships should be. Bielema is a good coach but watching him make the same clock management mistakes along with rarely having a passing game that’s all that special and many of is no longer think Bielema can take us to the next level. No ivory tower here we’re just raising our expectations and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  28. ningenito78 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:38 AM

    @brewcrewfan54- I completely understand that. Raised expectations are well deserved. But what threw me was how UW fans sounded like they were dancing in the streets over it. I understand wanting to get to the next level but this idea BB was a garbage coach makes some fans sound really uninformed. The guy can coach. He’s flawed but to actually say this is a great day for Badger football you have to understand why some people are wondering what the hell those fans are smoking.

  29. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 5, 2012 12:55 AM

    It is a great day in a sense. Wisconsin is a good job now. There’s probably lots of coaches out there who want this job. To people who no longer like Bielema thats opens up plenty of reason to be happy and optimistic. The next guy may flop and we’ll be wishing for Bielema back but right now for many of us this is good news. And come on, its the internet. The guys with the crazy reactions always stick out more.

  30. ningenito78 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:04 AM

    That’s true. If I had to bet my house it’s going to be Chryst. I cant see anyway he doesn’t take the job unless for some reason he isn’t offered it. Makes me feel kind of sorry for Pitt fans but this is a much of an out of the blue circumstance as you can think of. Chryst makes so much sense I can’t imagine it doesn’t happen. Good luck Badgers! I hope you find what you’re looking for.

    The funny thing about success is it makes an ass out of a fan base. For every educated fan there’s a blow hard homer that has no idea what they’re talking about and just goes on a message board and regurgitates what they read on Bleacher Report. I sense that’s what happened here. Because the last couple fans actually made sound, educated points. The first ones….I feel bad for the ones that have to sit next to them during the winning seasons. You won’t have to worry about them during the rebuilding ones.

  31. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:14 AM

    I did forget to say this in my earlier post, last season Bielema lost 6 assistants off his staff. Guys leave for different reasons and when its for jobs up the ladder it makes sense. When they leave for lateral moves it makes you wonder what they don’t like about it here. That was one of my big reasons for not being sad to see him go. I’m all for Chryst getting the job if thats who they want. I wouldn’t be unhappy though if they went outside the box though. Darrel Bevell is an intriguing choice to me for some reason.

  32. ningenito78 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:23 AM

    Bevell is a good one. I actually wouldn’t mind Kirby Smart if you’re going outside the box. Smash mouth coach in a smash mouth conference. Although if the big beef with BB is his low flying offense I don’t know if Smart would be the popular choice. But that guy needs a HC job and he needed it yesterday. I just think Chryst makes so much sense.

    For the record, I tried to talk myself into not thinking Chryst would be the guy just so I could piss on the obnoxious fans parade since that’s who they all seem to want. But I couldn’t. I can’t imagine he’s not the guy. But if I was Alvarez I would def want to talk to Bevel and Smart.

  33. ningenito78 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:31 AM

    You know who else? Butch Jones would be a HELL of a fit when you think about it. Knows the recruiting roads in B1G country. High speed offense. Solid guy. Wild card.

  34. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:31 AM

    I thought Smart would be another choice but other than being on Alanamas staff and being very highly regarded I dont know a ton about him. Plus I think he’s a guy who would jump ship in a year or 2 if Saban retired or another job in the south opened up and wanted him. But I gotta agree, Chryst is the obvious choice and he didn’t exactly say he wouldnt take it if offered. Dan Doeren who just got hired by NC State would have been a candidate I gotta think if this happened 2 days ago as he is a former UW guy.

  35. ningenito78 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:41 AM

    I would think the list is: Bevell, Chryst, Smart and Jones in no particular order. And the more I think about it Butch Jones makes the most sense outside of Chryst. That’s a good point on Smart probably always having an eye on jumping back to the SEC. But in all honesty Wisconsin is really a top end job. Which is why I was stunned BB left for the mess that is Arkansas right now. I understand why UW fans are pissed and they should be. To be honest if I had to choose a job between the 2 I would take Madison 10 times out of 10. SEC be damned. There has to be more to the story there and you insinuated the stuff about his huge turnover on his coaching staff which means there probably is. But if as I think about it Jones really makes a ton of sense. Especially if, as you said, you want to depart from all the BB connections.

  36. ningenito78 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:46 AM

    Smart is an old school defensive kind of guy so I guess I’m making a little bit of an assumption he’s an ‘old school’ style type. For all I know he would hire an offensive coordinator that runs the spread but I’m making the small leap he would be a good fit in B1G style ball. I could be wrong but defensive guys tend to live by a strong D and running game. But I admit I’m making some assumptions based in history. I have no idea what Smart’s offensive philosophy would be. I just can’t imagine a strong minded SEC defensive guy being about throwing the ball 50 times a game.

  37. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:58 AM

    Well Smart would be a perfect fit if he’s a defense and run the ball guy. Having a few championship rings to bring on the recruting trail probably wouldn’t hurt his chances either. You mentioned Jones also and he’s another guy whi I’ve never really seen his teams play but he’s highly regarded as well. I think his hire would leave a lot of fans wondering what direction the program is going. Change isn’t always bad though.

  38. ddjesus says: Dec 5, 2012 2:03 AM

    First of, non78, are they really running up the score if Kurt Phillips only attempted what, a dozen passes? The Badgers scored those 70 points primarily on the ground, with their third string runner barely going over 200 yards. Hard to blame them for that.

    Secondly, as a Badger fan (living in Ohio so I’m somewhat distanced from Wisconsinites), I’m somewhat conflicted about this. I feel like Bielema had reached his potential, and would never take us to the next level, but I’m afraid we will hire somebody worse, and be buried underneath Ohio State indefinitely. I have no preference as to who they hire; I just hope that it’s their first choice, and they’re not reaching for somebody who isn’t ready yet.

  39. joewilliesshnoz says: Dec 5, 2012 9:35 AM

    If Chryst goes, that will be 4 head coaches inside of 2 years for Pitt, that should tell you a lot about the guy who’s picking them, AD Steve Peterson.

  40. jason1214 says: Dec 5, 2012 11:01 AM

    Ha ha ha…Kirby Smart..isnt goin to Wisconsin…keep dreaming.

  41. juhsepi says: Dec 5, 2012 11:20 AM

    Bielema left when the time was right. Hard to argue with a resume that says three consecutive Rose Bowl appearances.

    But without Russell Wilson, WI doesn’t repeat; and Paul Chryst was instrumental in recruiting Wilson, not Bielema. And the three-peat doesn’t happen without, OSU and PSU serving suspensions.

    I think it’s going to be Chryst, Alvarez just needs to keep raising up the ante, until He can’t refuse.

    But how fun would Jon Gruden be?

  42. foreverlsu says: Dec 5, 2012 12:24 PM

    thecrazyasianinseccountry says:Dec 4, 2012 11:21 PM

    I was a little surprised that Bielema left also, but after reading all these comments from Wisconsin fans, I don’t blame him for leaving and am not surprised anymore.
    Wow, bunch of ungrateful, spoiled rotten, high and mighty, your shit don’t stick, arrogance, know it all fans!!!

    I agree! I also recall a very similar reaction from the Michigan State fanbase when one Nick Saban left for greener pastures in 2000. Spartan fans were convinced they were going to get a much better coach than Saban (Bobby freakin Williams?). Although Bielema is not a Nick Saban, his resume is very similar to Saban’s at the time. Time will only tell.

    The way the Wisconsin fans have responded on this site (Packerbadger is a fine reflection of the fanbase), I will enjoy seeing them return to the basement and restore order.

    Congrats Arkansas! Nothing wrong with hiring a 42 year old coach with three Big 10 titles.

  43. muskyhunter2542 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:31 PM

    See if you can find anything on the 2008 Wisconsin Vs. Michigan State game.
    Once you read that you will understand as to why he has never been all that highly thought of in Wisconsin. Its because some of his antics have actually cost Wisconsin wins.

  44. thraiderskin says: Dec 5, 2012 1:33 PM

    Bielema is not a loss, even if the SEC fans think so… I live in Wisconsin, have for the vast majority of my life. While not a Badger fan, I have watched many of their games. UW was built by Alvarez, Bielema simply upkept it. As someone brought up before, Bielema is an jerk that consistently forgets about basic concepts like time. While everyone is praising him for the 3 straight B1G titles, 1 of those was shared and the other one was with OSU, who beat Wiscosnin at Camp Randall, on probation (oh, and the team is 8-5). In the man’s 2 appearances in the Rose Bowl, he successfully proved why he can not be trusted to make game-plans. I know this is going to hurt the feelings of TCU fans, but UW should have pounded them two years ago, luckilly the decision was made to throw the ball, instead of running it with his three 1,000 yard rushing running backs. Also, enjoy his ability to recruit skill position players (especially QB), Wisconsin has really flourished in those departments.

    As far as the Nick Saban comparison, by foreverlsu, I don’t remember hearing any MSU fans being happy about losing Saban, I also doubt you do too (I’m calling you a liar). Also, Saban went to Alabama, a school with prominence that was in a slump, Arkansas is not Bama. All schools in the SEC are not Bama, so don’t act like they will all be as successful as Alabama.

    Go Buckeyes

  45. foreverlsu says: Dec 5, 2012 1:53 PM

    thraiderskin says:Dec 5, 2012 1:33 PM

    As far as the Nick Saban comparison, by foreverlsu, I don’t remember hearing any MSU fans being happy about losing Saban, I also doubt you do too (I’m calling you a liar).

    Sure raider, I’m making it up. …and exactly why would I have a reason to do so??? Believe me I could not care any less about Wisconsin or ArKansas.

    I’m hearing Bielema went to Arkansas because Arkansas is committed to winning (financially) and Wisconsin is not. When Chryst left, he took four assistants with him to Pitt because they were not being compensated well enough – makes sense to me, why else would they leave? This will not be a problem for Bielema at Arkansas as his assistants will be compensated well (insert SEC jealousy comment here).

  46. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 5, 2012 1:54 PM

    Raiderskin, i agree with everything you said but remember Saban went from MSU to LSU to the Dolphins and then to Alabama.

  47. guinsrule says: Dec 5, 2012 2:21 PM

    It doesnt matter. Everyone in the Big10 is playing for second place. Look what Meyer did this year with someone else’s recruits and sanctions hanging over the program.

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