Wisconsin makes it official, hiring Paul Chryst as head coach

Paul Christ went 19-19 in three seasons at Pitt
Paul Chryst went 19-19 in three seasons at Pitt. (USATSI)

Wisconsin has its new coach. It wasn't the world's best-kept secret, but the program announced Wednesday that it hired Pitt's Paul Chryst to replace Gary Andersen, who surprised many when he suddenly left Wisconsin to take over at Oregon State on Dec. 10.

“I’d like to thank Coach Alvarez for this wonderful opportunity,” Chryst said in a release from the school. “This is obviously a special place not only for me but our whole family. I would also like to thank the players, staff and administration at Pitt for the last three years. I’m proud of what I helped to accomplish there and appreciate the support I’ve received. Pitt will always have a special place in my heart.”

"It's a bit overwhelming to be able to come back to a place where you grew up, went to school and coached, where you have so many ties personally and professionally. This job has everything that we, as a family, and me, personally, are looking for. The bar has been set at a high level here and it didn’t just happen. I look forward to the challenge of continuing that tradition of success."

The decision for Wisconsin to turn to Chryst now makes a lot of sense, and it does not come as a surprise. Once the job came open, Chryst seemed like the logical man for the Badgers to turn to as their next coach. Chryst went to school at Wisconsin ,and he has eight seasons as an assistant in Madison on his résumé, coaching tight ends during the 2002 season and serving as offensive coordinator from 2005-11.

Chryst left Wisconsin following the 2011 season to take over as head coach at Pitt, where he's gone 19-19 in three seasons with the Panthers. While that record isn't exactly impressive, the success Chryst had running Wisconsin's offense for seven years and his familiarity with life in Madison, plus the familiar recruiting landscape, made too much sense; the Badgers knew they had to bring Chryst back into the fold.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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