Chryst downplays Wisconsin rumors

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Amid rumors that he could be a candidate for the vacant Wisconsin head coaching job, Pitt coach Paul Chryst released a statement Tuesday night reaffirming his commitment to the Panthers.

"I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today's developments. I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh," Chryst said in the statement.

"I am focusing all my time and energy on our team's bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football."

When word leaked Tuesday afternoon that Bret Bielema was leaving Wisconsin to take the job at Arkansas, Chryst's name popped up as the most likely candidate for the opening with the Badgers.

Chryst was born and raised in Madison, Wis., and graduated from Wisconsin in 1988. He coached the Badgers tight ends in 2002 and served as the team's offensive coordinator from 2005-11.

Chryst reportedly has a good relationship with Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who was the head coach during Chryst's one-year stint as tight ends coach.

Several recruits verbally committed to join Pitt in 2013 said they were contacted by the coaching staff Tuesday night to reassure them that Chryst and the staff would be staying at Pitt.

If Chryst were to leave, it would mean a third consecutive offseason with a coaching change for the Panthers, who forced Dave Wannstedt to resign after the 2010 season and lost Todd Graham to Arizona State last year.

pittsports


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