Was Paul Chryst Really Wisconsin’s Best Coaching Option?


What I think of Paul Chryst now is a lot different than what I thought of Paul Chryst three years ago.

And that’s a problem, because Barry Alvarez doesn’t see a problem. Because in Alavarez’s eyes, Chryst is the offensive genius that led the Badgers to two of its three most recent Rose Bowls.

The hire also isn’t an issue for some of Chryst’s former players, like current Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick and Packers backup Scott Tolzien:

Had Paul Chryst been hired in the wake of Bret Bielema’s exit, I would have been all for it, but with him being hired at Pitt for just one season, the timing couldn’t have been worse and would’ve made Pitt look as bad as the Atlanta Falcons when Bobby Petrino up and left.

Chryst went 19-19 at Pitt through mostly three full seasons. He will not coach the Panthers in the Armed Forces Bowl against Houston. He will also not coach the Badgers in the Outback Bowl. A couple wins against Top 25 teams under his belt is good for someone going to Pitt, but Wisconsin faces Alabama Week 1 in Jerry’s World to kick off the 2015 season.

Paul Chryst 2014 — not great, not terrible — but not the best option to win right now.

So that leaves Chryst with nothing but time to work with and get to know some of the players he’ll come to coach in 2015. He’s already familiar with Corey Clement, whom he recruited while at Pitt, which is the best start any of us can hope to see. But I digress.

We need to know what he’s going to do at quarterback, and that will be the true test of what Chryst brings to the coaching table. He, and a staff comprised of more than a few former UW players and assistants*, molded Tom Savage into a brief NFL quarterback.

And don’t foget, this is the guy who shaped Russell Wilson.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Wait, what?

Here we have the biggest fault in Paul Chryst-logic. Russell Wilson in just one year was the greatest Wisconsin QB in the school’s history and I’m pretty sure the Super Bowl-winning Wilson did most of the leg work in that relationship.

*(Brooks Bollinger, Brian Calhoun, Taylor Mehlhaf, Joe Rudolph and Dave Huxtable and probably a few others I missed spent time in the Wisconsin football program.)

This all doesn’t mean I wish ill of our Badgers, but I can’t help but feel Alvarez rushed his decision based on old data and personal relationships rather than what it takes to win now.

He wants to be in a stable relationship again, and he knows Paul Chryst won’t leave.

Next: Paul Chryst Officially Named Head Coach at Wisconsin