The last two head coaches hired by Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin were swiped by Power Five teams. After this latest swiping, Alvarez is apparently ready to reach into those ranks as well.
Citing a source close to the Wisconsin football program, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported overnight that Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst is poised to take the same job at UW. Alvarez and Chryst met in Florida to discuss the job, the Journal-Sentinel reported.
“I thought this would be the scenario from Day 1,” the source told the paper. “He will put together a good staff.”
As alluded to by the paper’s source, the move has been viewed as a potential, even likely, scenario since Gary Andersen abruptly and unexpectedly ditched UW for Oregon State earlier this week. Chryst was born and raised in Wisconsin; quarterbacked the Badgers from 1986-88; served at his alma mater as tight ends coach in 2002; and, from 2005-11, was UW’s offensive coordinator. He was named the head coach at Pitt in December of 2011 and is finishing up his third season with the Panthers, but was long one of the coaches who most observers figured would eventually “go home.”
As for when an announcement will be made, the paper writes that “UW officials posted the job opening Thursday” and, per “the posting, applications must be received by Dec. 17.”
For Pitt’s part, they’re taking the business-as-usual approach to the speculation.
“It is our practice not to comment on the personnel searches of other institutions,” the university said in a statement. “Paul Chryst is the University of Pittsburgh’s head coach, has been recruiting all week on behalf of the program and will begin preparations for Pitt’s bowl game this weekend.”
In his three seasons at Pitt, the Panthers are 19-19, with a Jan. 2 Armed Forces Bowl meeting with Houston still in the offing. It’s likely an interim coach will guide the team through that postseason affair.
Should Chryst end up taking the job, the Panthers would begin the process of hiring what would be their fifth head coach since 2010.