By Thayer Evans
December 12, 2014

Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst is set to become the new head coach at Wisconsin, according to a source. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported earlier that the Badgers were "poised" to hire Chryst.

The hiring of the 49-year-old Chryst would mark his return to his native Madison and alma mater, where he played quarterback and graduated in 1988. Chryst was a Badgers assistant for eight seasons, including seven seasons as offense coordinator before he left for his current job in 2012.

On Friday, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez issued a statement in which he said the search for a new coach is still ongoing and that the job hasn’t yet been offered to anyone. He noted that in accordance with university hiring policies, the earliest an official offer could come is next Wednesday, Dec. 17, and would be contingent upon approval by regents.

From Chyrst's experience at Wisconsin, He is well aware of the program's tougher academic standards for accepting players and the school’s penchant for not paying its assistants as much as lesser Big Ten schools.

Chryst and Alvarez have a close relationship from their days together with the Badgers. Chryst’s tenure as Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator began in 2005, the last of Alvarez’s 16 seasons as coach, a year in which the Badgers went 10-3 and won the Capital One Bowl.

Under Alvarez’s successor, coach Bret Bielema, Chryst helped Wisconsin win two of three consecutive Big Ten titles in 2010 and ‘11. Bielema won a third straight conference title in ’12 after Chryst left for Pittsburgh before departing himself for his current job as coach at Arkansas.

Prior to being offensive coordinator at Wisconsin, Chryst spent two seasons in the same position at Oregon State. He also did a one-year stint with the Badgers in 2002 as tight ends coach.

Chryst has gone 19-19 with three bowl appearances in as many seasons with the Panthers, including a 6-6 record this season. He’s poised to succeed Gary Andersen, who stunningly left to become the head coach at Oregon State on Wednesday after just two seasons at Wisconsin.

Andersen went 19-7 in his two seasons with the Badgers, including a 10-3 mark and a Big Ten West title this season. Wisconsin was routed 59-0 by Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game Saturday.

Chryst hasn't spoken publicly about the job, but Pitt released a statement Wednesday night reiterating that he was still the school's head coach at that time.

With Chryst as offensive coordinator, Wisconsin was in the top half of the Big Ten in total offense nearly every season from 2005-11, including No. 1 finishes in 2009 and '11. The Badgers set a program record for points per game (44.1) in his final season in ‘11.

Wisconsin announced Thursday that Alvarez will coach the Badgers in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 against Auburn after the athletic director did the same in the 2013 Rose Bowl following Bielema's departure. Pitt will play Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl on Jan. 2.

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