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Wisconsin Fires Head Coach Paul Chryst After 2-3 Start

Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard will serve as the Badgers' interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Wisconsin announced on Sunday evening it has fired head coach Paul Chryst after the Badgers fell to 2-3 on the season with a 34-10 home loss to Illinois on Saturday.

“After a heartfelt and authentic conversation with Coach Chryst about what is in the long-term best interest of our football program, I have concluded that now is the time for a change in leadership,” athletic director Chris McIntosh said in a statement. “Paul is a man of integrity who loves his players. I have great respect and admiration for Paul and the legacy of him and his family at the University of Wisconsin.”

Chryst went 67-26 overall and 43-18 in Big Ten play in seven-plus seasons at Wisconsin, his alma mater. He led the Badgers to three appearances in the conference championship game, though they were on the losing end each time, falling to Penn State in 2016 and Ohio State in 2017 and 2019.

Wisconsin was considered the favorite to win the West Division once again this season, but suffered a 17-14 loss to Washington State at home in Week 2, then opened conference play with a 52-21 defeat at Ohio State on Sept. 24. The Badgers followed that up with the loss to the Fighting Illini, who are notably led by former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema.

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Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard will now serve as the Badgers’ interim head coach for the remainder of the season. He was a three-time All-American at Wisconsin from 2002-04, then returned to his alma mater as the defensive backs coach in 2016.

“I also have confidence in Jim Leonhard to guid the program for the remainder of the the season,” McIntosh said. “There is still a lot of season left to play and I know Jim will do a great job while the program is under his leadership.”

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