The Wisconsin Badgers athletic board has approved a five-year contract extension for head football coach Paul Chryst, according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, ensuring he remains in Madison through the 2020 season.
Chryst led the Badgers to a 10-3 record and No. 21 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 in his first season. The team hired Chryst, who spent three seasons as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers, to replace former head coach Gary Andersen in December 2014.
The school did not immediately disclose the financial terms of the extension.
In his first season, Chryst lost three games to formidable foes—national champion Alabama, No. 9 Iowa and No. 23 Northwestern. The latter two were by a combined 10 points and cost the Badgers a shot at winning the Big Ten West Division.
Wisconsin rebounded with a dramatic 23-21 win over the USC Trojans in the Holiday Bowl to head into the offseason with momentum.
Athletic director Barry Alvarez, who served as Wisconsin's head coach for 15 years before becoming the AD in 2004, said Chryst’s work in his first year impressed him—particularly since four redshirt freshmen started on the offensive line because of injuries, yet the offense averaged 378.6 yards and 26.8 points per game—per Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"That is really strong for that first year when a lot of people are trying to adjust and learn the kids,” Alvarez said. "The staff really blended together well and I feel like we got a lot out of them."
Chryst, who played quarterback at Wisconsin from 1986 to 1988, took over amid a scramble when Andersen surprisingly jetted for Oregon State after recording a 19-7 mark in two seasons. The call to Chryst was the first Alvarez made when the job opened for the second time in three seasons.
Chryst was a fan and player favorite as an alumnus who led an electrifying offense that featured stars such as Russell Wilson and Montee Ball as Wisconsin's offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2011.
On the national level, however, Chryst was a question mark, given that he didn’t wow with his 19-19 mark in three seasons at Pittsburgh.
But after a 10-win outing in what initially looked like a rebuilding season, he has created optimism and subsided any speculation.
The Badgers have struggled to find consistency at their head coaching position since Bret Bielema left for Arkansas, but it appears as though Wisconsin has found its man for the long haul.
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