Paul Chryst's statement released late last night has apparently done little to quiet the speculation that he may be the next head coach at the University of Wisconsin. Today's Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal calls him the front-runner after speaking with unnamed sources:
"Paul still misses Wisconsin," a source close to the UW program said, adding that the Madison native was the No. 1 choice of athletic director Barry Alvarez.
Chryst's mother still lives in Wisconsin and his middle child, daughter JoJo, is a senior at Madison Edgewood High School. The family still maintains a cottage north of Madison.
"He still misses home," the source said.
Chryst, 47, has guided Pittsburgh to a 6-6 record in his first season as head coach. The Panthers are scheduled to meet Mississippi in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 5 in Birmingham, Ala.
A source said Tuesday it would be difficult for Chryst to leave Pittsburgh after just one season, but the allure of returning to UW might be enough to sway him if offered the job.
Another source close to the program noted the players on the team, most of whom played under Chryst, would be overjoyed to see him return to UW.
He's the obvious choice so this is going to continue until Wisconsin hires a coach. And t drumbeat continues in the Badger State, as columnists call on Alvarez to make the obvious move and hire Paul Chryst. He seems to be the pick with the fans too. And the players. Pitt's best hope is that either Alvarez looks to make an outside-the-box or wants a more established head coach. Either way, the longer Wisconsin's search goes on, the more the fanbase will long for Wisconsin to hire Chryst and be done with it.
In other news, 93.7 The Fan's Greg Giannotti - and current Pitt sideline reporter - tweeted that Paul Chryst's buyout is $6 million. That's a staggering amount, but the Big Ten school may be able to afford it. Each school reportedly got $24 million from the conference's television deals. For what it's worth, new NC State head coach Dave Doeren, who was a defensive coordinator under Bielema before two successful seasons at Northern Illinois, has a buyout of $3.5 million.
Pitt's coaches were busy working the phones last night, reassuring recruits - and fans by extension:
Quarterback Tra’von Chapman, who is the Panthers’ prize recruit from the Class of 2013, said he received a phone call from secondary coach Matt House, telling him that Chryst is not leaving.
“He said they are not going anywhere,” Chapman said. “They are not going to Wisconsin. He said, ‘Spread the word. The rumors are false.’
“That’s great news,” Chapman said.
Paul Chryst is a better person than Todd Graham. That's obvious and undeniable. But there's nothing to prevent him from going to UW and claiming that he never had any intentions of leaving. Nothing out there that could be called a lie if he bolts.
This will not end until Wisconsin hires someone. Alvarez is a smart guy who hopefully had a contingency plan in place. Hopefully we know soon. For our collective sanity.