Pitt confirms; Paul Chryst is new head football coach

By Lauren Kirschman

Pitt officially announced Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst as its new head coach in a… Pitt officially announced Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst as its new head coach in a press release on Thursday morning.

“Pitt and Pittsburgh are absolutely the right fit for [me and my familly] and we’re looking forward to getting immersed in our new hometown,” Chryst said in the release. “We are committed to building a program on and off the field that will make people proud. The bar is set high in the ‘City of Champions’ and that is incredibly exciting and inspiring. I can’t wait to meet our players and get to work.”

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said in the release that the University is excited to welcome Chryst as head coach.

“His remarkable success at Wisconsin is well documented in the form of Big Ten championships and All-America performances,” Pederson said. “But beyond his achievements on the football field, we believed it was important to find a leader who gets the very best from his players while also developing the kind of culture that fits the University of Pittsburgh.

“Paul Chryst is that leader and we are anxious for our players and fans to get to know him in the coming days and years.”

Chryst has been the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin for six seasons and the Badgers have a 60-18 record during that time.

The Badger offense averaged 466.9 yards and 44.6 points this season. Wisconsin, who finished the regular season 11-2, will face Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.

Chryst has been a football coach for 23 years with 16 seasons as a college coach and seven on the professional level.

Running back Montee Ball and quarterback Russell Wilson excelled for the Badger offense this season. Ball was a Heisman trophy finalist and leads the nation with 1,759 rushing yards and scoring with 38 touchdowns.

Wilson ranks second national with a 191.60 pass efficiency rating after arriving at Wisconsin in July as a transfer from North Carolina State. He passed for 2,879 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Wisconsin’s offense finished with three first team All-Americans.

In 2010, the Badgers finished the year 11-2 ranked in the top ten nationally in scoring offense, pass efficiency, fewest turnovers lost, third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions, red zone offense, time of possession and fewest penalties per game.

Chryst served as the offensive coordinator at Oregon State in 2003 and 2004.

He served as a tight ends coach with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers from 1999-2001.

He was also an assistant at Oregon State (1997-1998), Illinois State (1995), and UW-Platteville (1993).

Chryst was a three-year football letterman for Wisconsin and graduated with a political science degree in 1988. He also earned a master’s in educational administration from West Virginia.

Chryst has three children with his wife Robin.

Chryst is Pitt’s fourth coach in about a year, following Dave Wannstedt, Michael Haywood and Todd Graham.

Wannstedt resigned under pressure after the 2010 season and Pitt hired Haywood as a replacement. After Haywood was arrested on a felony domestic abuse charge in South Bend, Ind., Pitt fired him.

At a court hearing on Feb. 11, Haywood entered a court diversion program which requires a psychological evaluation and 60 hours of community services in order for the charges to be dismissed in one year.

Florida International head coach Mario Cristobol appeared to be the other leading candidate for Pitt’s head coaching vacancy.