Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez reportedly is wasting little time in identifying, pursuing and securing a coach to replace Gary Andersen. According to a source close to the program, former Wisconsin assistant Paul Chryst, a Madison native and currently the coach of Pittsburgh, is poised to return to his alma mater, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez reportedly is wasting little time in identifying, pursuing and securing a coach to replace Gary Andersen.
According to a source close to the program, former Wisconsin assistant Paul Chryst, a Madison native and currently the coach of Pittsburgh, is poised to return to his alma mater, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
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"I thought this would be the scenario from day one," the source told the newspaper on Thursday night. "He will put together a good staff."
But Alvarez said yesterday that he hasn't offered the job to anyone.
Alvarez said the university can't make an offer before Wednesday, the date given in a job posting that went up after Andersen's abrupt departure this week for Oregon State.
Chryst served as co-offensive coordinator, tight ends coach and quarterbacks coach during his time at Wisconsin. The 49-year-old is 19-19 in three seasons at Pittsburgh, including 6-6 this season with a game against Houston on Jan. 2 in the Armed Forces Bowl.
When Alvarez met with reporters on Wednesday night, he said he preferred to hire someone with head-coaching experience.
"Ties to Wisconsin are not important," he said. "I've always said this: I think it is important that there is a fit."
But it would make sense, in the wake of Andersen's departure after less than two seasons, that Alvarez would target a coach with deep roots, a coach who would view the Wisconsin program as a destination rather than a drive-through.
The Journal Sentinel reported that Alvarez met with Chryst in Florida, where Alvarez was attending an Outback Bowl promotion. The newspaper cited an anonymous source.
Muschamp joins Auburn as coordinator
Auburn hired former Florida coach Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator. A person with knowledge of the move said Muschamp will be paid $1.6 million a year, making him one of college football's highest-paid assistants.
Muschamp was fired by Florida on Nov. 16 after four seasons as coach. He previously was defensive coordinator at Auburn and Texas.
Tigers coach Gus Malzahn fired longtime Southeastern Conference defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson after the season. Auburn fell from national title contention with three straight losses largely because of a struggling defense.
Heisman finalists stay clear of controversy
The day before the Heisman Trophy presentation, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper answered questions about their sensational seasons, their coaches, their chances to upset Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and win college football's most famous individual award, and who might win the national championship.
Cooper passed on making a prediction about how the top-ranked Crimson Tide will do in the College Football Playoff against Ohio State.
Gordon, however, said he's leaning toward Alabama. So much for Big Ten solidarity.
That is about as close to a scandal as anyone will find at this year's Heisman ceremony, a welcome departure from recent years for many fans and voters.
"You hate to think the guy you're voting for might have done something awful in his personal life away from football," said Kyle Ringo, a Heisman voter who works for the Boulder Daily Camera in Colorado.
Last season, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won in a landslide, a little more than a week after a Florida prosecutor decided not to charge him with sexual assault. Winston was accused of rape by a female Florida State student.
In 2012, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel came to the Heisman presentation with a preseason arrest on his record that nearly got him thrown off the team before he could become Johnny Football.
Two years before that, Auburn's Cam Newton was asked if he thought he would get to keep the Heisman at the news conference following his victory. The NCAA had investigated Newton's recruitment, found his father had tried to peddle his son's commitment for money, but cleared the quarterback of any wrongdoing.