Yesterday we highlighted one of the crazier off season basketball stories of recent Badger faithful memory at No. 9 on our Year in Review list and today we continue with a look at another story that shook Wisconsin fans in the offseason, this time in football.
It seems as if transition in the month of December is becoming an annual rite of passage for Badgers fans and it all started with one little hire at the very end of 2011 that actually didn't take effect until after the Rose Bowl game against Oregon. I think you've got a good idea of the hire we are speaking of, but if not we are talking about the hire of Paul Chryst by the Pitt Panthers as their head football coach.
Therefore our No. 8 story just comes in under the timeline for the Badgers 2012 Year in Review.
What Happened: Paul Chryst, it's a name that's been around the Badgers program since his playing days in the late 80's. He came back home to his native Madison, WI as the offensive coordinator for Wisconsin in 2005. His offenses took the Badgers to new heights in explosiveness and he became a hot name in coaching circles. After surviving threats from Texas and a few other schools looking at him as a head coaching candidate it was only a matter of time before Chryst got his shot as a head coach.
That came in mid-December 2011 as he was named the head coach at Pitt, however he wouldn't take over until after the Rose Bowl and that's when the fun really started as the Badgers assistant coaching staff was gutted by Chryst who offered increased roles to the likes of Bob Bostad, Joe Rudolph, and Dave Huxtable on his Pitt staff. That started a transition of 6 new coaches needed on the Badgers staff in January.
Needless to say it wasn't an easy transition at times and in the end the staff came together at Wisconsin and as they say… the rest is history. Chryst went on to lead the Panthers to a 6-6 record and a bowl game appearance in his first season at the helm of a program.
Why it's on the List: Anytime you have transition and anytime it includes a coach who was at the helm of a unit that set all sorts of school season records in things like yards, points, touchdowns, etc. it's a big deal. Arguably it was the biggest deal of the first 6 months of the Badgers year that was 2012. Especially because of all the shuffling around of assistant coaches that happened with the hire. It's safe to say Chryst's departure had one of the single biggest effects on the 2012 football season of anyone not playing in a game. You could argue this story should be higher on the list, but this isn't just about football so it comes in lower than you may expect.