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Paul Chryst Named New Head Football Coach at the University of Pittsburgh

The Chryst family outside the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.

The Chryst family outside the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.

Dec. 22, 2011

Coach Chryst with Bill Hillgrove | Coach Chryst Introductory Press Conference | Photo Gallery

PITTSBURGH-- Paul Chryst, the highly accomplished offensive coordinator of the Rose Bowl-bound Wisconsin Badgers, has been named the new head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh by Athletic Director Steve Pederson. Chryst's formal introduction will take place at a 3 p.m. press conference today at the Panthers' practice facility.

The 46-year-old Chryst takes over at Pitt following an exceptional eight-year tenure at Wisconsin (2002, 2005-11) where he gained acclaim as one of college football's finest offensive teachers and strategists. The Badgers have compiled a 60-18 record (.769) during his six seasons overseeing the offense, which annually ranks among the nation's most prolific and efficient units.

In 2011, Chryst helped Wisconsin to an 11-2 record and its second consecutive Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth. The Badgers are averaging 44.6 points and 466.9 yards per game entering their Pasadena showdown with Oregon on January 2.

Over the past three seasons (2009-11), Wisconsin boasts the Big Ten's best record (32-7, .821) while being fueled by an offense that has averaged 39.3 points per game during that span. Chryst, who also coaches quarterbacks, has been named a finalist for the prestigious Broyles Award, annually presented to college football's top assistant, each of the past two seasons.

His 23-year coaching career includes 16 seasons on the collegiate level and seven years in the professional ranks.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Coach Chryst and his family to Pittsburgh," Pederson said. "His remarkable success at Wisconsin is well documented in the form of Big Ten championships and All-America performances. 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."

 

 

"My family and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to join the University of Pittsburgh," Chryst said. "Pitt and Pittsburgh are absolutely the right fit for us, and we're looking forward to getting immersed in our new hometown. 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."

Chryst's 2011 Wisconsin offense features two of the country's most explosive performers - running back Montee Ball and quarterback Russell Wilson. Ball, a first team All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist, leads the nation in total rushing yards (1,759) and scoring (38 touchdowns, 17.54 points/game). He is one touchdown shy of the NCAA record of 39 set by Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders in 1988. Ball has scored at least two touchdowns in every game this season, including four TDs in a 42-39 win over Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.

Wilson, who transferred from N.C. State to Wisconsin for his final season of eligibility, is second nationally in pass efficiency with a staggering 191.60 rating (trailing only Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III's 192.31 rating). Despite not arriving at Wisconsin until July, Wilson was seamlessly adapted into the Badgers' offensive attack and has completed 73% of his passes for 2,879 yards with 31 touchdowns against only three interceptions. He was named the inaugural winner of the Big Ten's "Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year" award.

The 2011 Badgers offense produced three first team All-Americans (Montee Ball, center Peter Konz and guard Kevin Zeitler). Since 2006, Wisconsin offensive players have earned nine first-team All-America citations. Three of Chryst's offensive pupils have won national awards, including a pair of Outland Trophy winners (tackles Joe Thomas in 2006 and Gabe Carimi in 2010) and a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner (quarterback Scott Tolzien in 2010).

Wisconsin's offense also enjoyed a record-setting year in 2010. The Badgers ranked fifth nationally in scoring at 41.5 points per game, demolishing the school record by more than a touchdown per contest. In Big Ten play, Wisconsin averaged 45.2 points in eight league games, the second-best average in Big Ten history. Prior to 2010, Wisconsin had not scored 70 points in a game since 1915. The Badgers did it in three different games during the `10 campaign.

Also in 2010, Wisconsin nearly became the first team in FBS history to have three different players rush for at least 1,000 yards in the same season (James White, 1,052 yards; John Clay, 1,012; Montee Ball, 996). The Badgers tied a Big Ten record with 48 rushing TDs. The potent rushing attack was balanced by a laser-accurate passing game as Scott Tolzien set the Big Ten single-season record for completion percentage (73.3% in eight league games) and finished sixth in the country in pass efficiency (165.92 rating).

The 11-2 Badgers finished the 2010 season ranked in the nation's top 10 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 was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oregon State during the 2003 and `04 seasons. The 2003 Beavers became the first team in NCAA Division I history to have a 4,000-yard passer, 1,500-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers. Chryst's Oregon State pupils included running back Ken Simonton, the school's career rushing leader, quarterback Derek Anderson, who left as the Pac 10's No. 2 career passing leader, and running back Steven Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler for the St. Louis Rams who has the NFL's longest active streak with six consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

Chryst initially came to Wisconsin in 2002 after a three-year stint in the NFL as tight ends coach with the San Diego Chargers from 1999-2001.

Previously, Chryst held collegiate assistant coaching positions at Oregon State (1997-98), Illinois State (1995) and UW-Platteville (1993). He was also a graduate assistant under Don Nehlen at West Virginia (1989-90). Chryst's other coaching posts in professional football included time with the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders (1996) and Ottawa Rough Riders (1994), as well as the World League's San Antonio Riders (1991-92).

Chryst was a three-year football letterman at Wisconsin, where he earned a degree in political science in 1988. He added a master's degree in educational administration from West Virginia in 1990. Paul's brother Rick was commissioner of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) for 10 years. Another brother, Geep, is the quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Paul's late father George was a longtime head coach at UW-Platteville and a former Badger player and assistant coach.

Chryst and his wife Robin have two daughters, Katy (18) and JoJo (16), and one son, Danny (14).

Chryst's Coaching Chronology:

Collegiate

West Virginia (1989-90), graduate assistant

UW-Platteville (1993), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks

Illinois State (1995), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks

Oregon State (1997-98), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks

Wisconsin (2002), tight ends

Oregon State (2003-04), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks

Wisconsin (2005), co-offensive coordinator & tight ends

Wisconsin (2006-present), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks

Professional

San Antonio Riders (1991-92), wide receivers, running backs, tight ends (World League of American Football)

Ottawa Rough Riders (1994), quarterbacks (Canadian Football League)

Saskatchewan Roughriders (1996), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks (Canadian Football League)

San Diego Chargers (1999-2001), tight ends (National Football League)

Chryst Career Bowl Games
1989 Gator (West Virginia)

2002 Alamo (Wisconsin)

2003 Las Vegas (Oregon State)

2004 Insight (Oregon State)

2006 Capital One (Wisconsin)

2007 Capital One (Wisconsin)

2008 Outback (Wisconsin)

2008 Champs Sports (Wisconsin)

2009 Champs Sports (Wisconsin)

2011 Rose (Wisconsin)

2012 Rose (Wisconsin)

Wisconsin First Team All-Americans on Offense under Chryst (since 2006)
Tackle Joe Thomas# (2006)

Tight End Travis Beckum (2007)

Guard Kraig Urbik (2008)

Tackle Gabe Carimi# (2010)

Tight End Lance Kendricks* (2010)

Guard John Moffitt (2010)

Running Back Montee Ball (2011)

Center Pete Konz (2011)

Guard Kevin Zeitler (2011)

* Consensus
# Unanimous

Wisconsin Major Award Winners on Offense under Chryst (since 2006)
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (nation's top senior quarterback)
Quarterback Scott Tolzien (2010)

Outland Trophy (nation's outstanding college lineman)
Tackle Joe Thomas (2006)
Tackle Gabe Carimi (2010)

Wisconsin Big Ten Award Winners on Offense under Chryst (since 2006)
Big Ten Player of the Year
Running Back John Clay (2009)

Big Ten Lineman of the Year
Tackle Gabe Carimi (2010)

Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year
Running Back Montee Ball (2011)

Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year
Running Back Montee Ball (2011)

Griese-Brees Big Ten Quarterback of the Year
Quarterback Russell Wilson (2011)