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Reports: Wisconsin to hire Pitt's Paul Chryst as new coach

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Keith Srakocic / Associated Press
Paul Chryst is a former player and assistant coach at Wisconsin.

Paul Chryst is set to leave Pittsburgh and become the next coach at Wisconsin, various media reports have said.


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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the news late Thursday night, and ESPN.com reported Friday morning that it had a source who confirmed the hiring.

Barry Alvarez, the athletic director at Wisconsin, released a statement Friday that the school has yet to offer the job to anyone, saying the earliest they could make one is Dec. 17.

Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson told The Pittsburgh Tribune that he believes there's a chance Chryst will stay with the Panthers.

"We have made it known to Paul and we have for some time that we would like him to be here for a long time," Pederson said. "That's never been an issue here.

"We are committed to him long-term and hope he will stay committed here long-term. I hope our coach will stay."

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Chryst, 49, is a Madison native who is a former Badgers player and assistant. Chryst was a quarterback for the Badgers from 1986-88, then was the offensive coordinator from 2005-11. He also spent three seasons with the San Diego Chargers (1999-2001) as tight ends coach.

The Chargers' coach during that stretch? Mike Riley, whose decision to leave Oregon State to coach Nebraska got this particular coaching carousel spinning. In a shocking move, Gary Andersen left his job at Wisconsin on Wednesday to replace Riley at Oregon State, and Wisconsin now has turned to Chryst to replace Andersen. Chryst also is a former Oregon State assistant under Riley.

Chryst is in his third season at Pitt and has guided the Panthers to a 19-19 record in his tenure. That record is somewhat deceiving. He has stabilized a program that had been rocked by coaching departures and offensive and defensive scheme changes. Dave Wannstedt was fired after the 2010 season, and Mike Haywood of Miami (Ohio) was hired to replace him. But less than a month after he was hired, Hayward was fired after he was involved in a domestic disturbance. Pitt then turned to Todd Graham, who left Tulsa to take over the Panthers. Graham lasted one season before moving on to Arizona State.

Chryst was hired off Wisconsin's staff -- he had been offensive coordinator -- to replace Graham.


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Chryst's style of offense -- a power running game -- fits what Wisconsin has been able to do for more than a decade. He would be taking over a program that has won double-digit games six times in the past 10 seasons.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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