Well, the speculation over Paul Chryst and his future as the possible head coach at Wisconsin can come to an end, that's for sure. Why? Well, because in his press conference on Thursday Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez put a blunt end to it with his words on the situation.
"I asked some very good friends of mine to help Paul get that job (Pitt head coach)," said Alvarez. "I think Paul has already come out and said that he's committed to Pitt. I think he should be committed to Pitt. I wouldn't think it would be right for him to leave after one year. I wouldn't feel right, and I don't think it would be appropriate for me to hire him back after I asked someone to do me a favor and help him get that job. So Paul's going to stay at Pitt."
So, that was pretty direct, huh? But what about the next coach? Who will it be and who will Alvarez look at?
While he didn't directly answer specific names during the press conference he did speak with the Dan Patrick Show after and was asked directly about Chris Petersen of Boise State - a name that seems to pop up on every single major coaching vacancy. Barry answered that question directly, saying he hadn't had any contact with him, yet.
"I haven't talked with Petersen, he seems pretty locked in at Boise State. I may reach out and see what his interest would be though."
Beyond that specific name we know exactly what Alvarez will be looking for in the next head coach in terms of attributes and that Alvarez will be conducting this search by himself.
"I won't use a search committee," Alvarez said. "Most search committees use me. I get calls from coaches. They call other athletic directors, their athletic directors call me about coaches. I get search firms calling me. I won't pay a search firm. I think that's what they pay me for."
Alvarez also made it clear that he will be talking to current head coaches before moving on to anyone that's an assistant coach - so the pool is limited to some interesting names, but he won't limit himself to just coaches with experience at or ties to Wisconsin either.
"I will start with head coaches," he said. "I'm not going to say that I absolutely would not hire an assistant coach, but I will start my process of interviewing and contacting coaches with head coaches."
"You want to hire somebody that understands the culture here, understands Big Ten football. You always want to bring someone in that brings a little something more to the table."
Wisconsin ties or having been a previous coach at the UW won't be a major contributing factor for Alvarez either as he takes his time in getting the right person in place.
"No, that's not -- that is not one of the criteria that I would use," he said. "I'd like for them to know about Wisconsin and know what we're about and how we win, and I'll be very interested to know their plan and how they're going to proceed in all areas."
We all got that message loud and clear, but one area that was clearly bothersome for coach Alvarez in all of this situation was the assertion that Bielema made in regards to not being able to win a national championship at Wisconsin as his reason for leaving the Badgers. It was something he mentioned both in the press conference and speaking to the Dan Patrick show.
"I was a little surprised by that, and he said that to me," Alvarez said during his press conference. "I wish him well. I wish him well. I thought we were very close to playing a National Championship game a year ago. We just won three championships. I don't know."
At the end of the day it's clear that Alvarez has a plan, is going to stick to it, and will make the right hire - a guy that's proud to be at Wisconsin.
It was inevitable for Petersen to get brought up, but I almost wish there weren't all these rumors (from credible sources especially) since it's hard not to get excited about that possibility.
@swenny916 ya, it's a name you have to reach out to, but don't read too much into it. The one name that honestly makes sense of those that are out there could be Paul Rhoads.
@andycoppens Do you have a personal favorite? Anyone that has been mentioned that you'd be disappointed with? I know you ran the whole list of them (which was a great read) but how about personally?
@swenny916 thanks... may do another one once more names come about... personally the name I would love to see is Rhoads. I've experienced what he can do as an ISU guy myself and if he can do that there it's hard to see how he couldn't do even more at UW. The name that would disappoint me... hmmm, good question. I'd have to say it's Jim Tressel. People don't realize that Tressel has a vast history of NCAA issues dating back to Youngstown State days & I'd hate to see the Badgers set back because of a stupid hire like that.