This is the second in a series of profiles of potential candidates for Indiana’s vacant football head coaching position.
Candidate: Paul Chryst
Current Position/Tenure: Special assistant at Texas, former Wisconsin head coach
Record as Head Coach: 86-45
|San Antonio (WLAF)
|Running Backs/Tight Ends
|San Diego (NFL)
|Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends
Notable Facts and Numbers
Chryst has a 6-1 record in bowl games. He led Wisconsin to a school record 13-1 season in 2017.
During Chryst’s seven years as offensive coordinator from 2005-11, Wisconsin averaged 34.1 points and 416.3 yards of total offense per game. Both marks were the best in the Big Ten over that span and powered the Badgers to conference titles in 2010 and 2011, remarkable offensive seasons in which UW averaged 41.5 and 44.1 points per game, respectively.
Over Chryst’s seven seasons as head coach, spanning three different defensive coordinators, Wisconsin’s defense was among the best in the country. UW has ranked among the top 10 in both scoring defense and total defense in six of Chryst’s seven years at the helm. The Badgers gave up just 16.5 points (second-best in the country) and 285.0 yards (best in the country) per game over the last seven seasons (2015-2021).
The Badgers produced 18 All-Americans, including 13 first-team All-America selections, under Chryst. Wisconsin had a school-record seven All-America honorees in 2017 alone. A total of 23 players earned first-team All-Big Ten laurels under Chryst’s watch.
Chryst inherited a well-oiled machine at Wisconsin, and after several good years, oversaw a decline. Since the start of the 2020 season, his record was 15-10, including 9-8 in the Big Ten. Chryst was also just 19-20 in three seasons at Pitt.
Why it Might Work
Perhaps above all, Chryst is likely motivated after an unceremonious and surprising midseason exit a year ago. He’s knows the conference, orchestrated high-level success, and recruited from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. He could likely also convince his former assistant Bob Bostad to remain as offensive line coach, a group that clearly improved this season.
Why it Might Not Work / Not Happen
Chryst reportedly turned down the Northwestern job recently, so you have to wonder if the IU opening is any more appealing to him. There were allegations he did not adapt to the new recruiting reality in the transfer portal and NIL era, so query whether an especially challenging situation at IU would be appealing.
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