Pitt coach Chryst waiting on Badgers' decision

BY foxsports • December 15, 2014

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Paul Chryst is still the head coach at Pittsburgh. For now at least.

While the former Wisconsin player and offensive coordinator said Monday he has talked to the Badgers about the vacant head coaching position, he hasn't heard anything concrete and doesn't expect to before Wednesday, the earliest Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez can name a successor to Gary Andersen.

"I was told nothing will happen before then," Chryst said. "I don't know and I don't know what they're thinking specifically. It probably depends on the search."

Chryst spoke Monday in Fort Worth, where Pitt will play Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl on Jan. 2. He is the clear frontrunner to return to Madison, where he played in the 1980s and served as offensive coordinator from 2005-11 before joining the Panthers. Chryst is 19-19 in three years at Pitt, including three straight 6-6 marks in the regular season.

The Badgers have also spoken to former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, though Chryst brings strong ties to the university and would provide a sense of stability following Andersen's abrupt departure for Oregon State.

"The truth of it is, I talked to them and then once I was done talking, it's all about getting back and getting our team ready for this bowl game and recruiting," Chryst said. "That's really where it's at right now."

Wisconsin state hiring laws require a mandatory waiting period when jobs become open. The window was shortened by a week at Alvarez's request, though the waiting has led to an awkward moment for Chryst and Pitt, which could be a couple of days away from looking for its fifth head coach since 2010.

Chryst spent the weekend on the recruiting trail for the Panthers and insists he was up front about the situation and stressed the players currently on the roster understand the potential opportunity at hand.

"I feel really fortunate to be at Pitt and working with a group of guys," Chryst said. "When something like this comes up, they understand that and you just tell them the truth."

Chryst flew back to Pittsburgh late Monday and plans to be at practice on Tuesday as the Panthers prepare for a seventh straight bowl game. Whether Chryst will be around when the Panthers face the Cougars is uncertain. It's hardly new territory for Pitt, which used interim head coaches at the BBVA Compass Bowl in both 2010 and 2011.