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.