Here Are Five Great Options To Replace Wisconsin Coach Paul Chryst

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Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst’s days in Madison appear to be numbered, and that means it’s time to start looking at potential replacements.

The Badgers fell to 2-3 Saturday after getting blown out at home against Illinois. Wisconsin football hasn’t been this bad in decades, and Bret Bielema destroying his old team at Camp Randall is beyond embarrassing.

Fans are in open revolt, the administration has lost control of the situation and it’s clear something must be done.

It’s time for Wisconsin to do something about Paul Chryst and the program.

So, if/when the Badgers move off Chryst, who should replace him. As a Wisconsin fan, here are five great options I think the Badgers should call. To be clear, I’m not saying these are guys the Badgers are targeting to replace Paul Chryst. I’m simply saying they’re good options to consider.

Chris Petersen

Petersen stunned Washington fans when he retired after the 2019 season with a career record of 55-26 with the Huskies. It seemed like he had a lot of coaching left in him, but after seemingly getting burned out, Petersen hung up his whistle. Is there a chance he’s getting that itch back to coach again?

Will the Wisconsin Badgers target Chris Petersen to replace Paul Chryst? (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Wisconsin needs to pick up the phone and call to find out. Petersen went 92-12 at Boise State and retired with a career record of 147-38. Petersen is now on Fox as an analyst, but we at least have to pick up the phone and see if he’s interested in returning to coaching. If he is, he’s the best option on the table other than Urban Meyer, which we all know isn’t happening.

Lance Leipold

Leipold to the Badgers almost makes too much sense, and there’s already been some chatter that people in power in Madison want him.

He’s been a winner every single place he’s ever been, and he currently has Kansas sitting at 5-0. If he can win at Kansas, he can win anywhere.

He’s a Wisconsin guy, became a rising coaching star at UW-Whitewater and was on the staff in Madison in the early 1990s. Fans would absolutely get excited about Lance Leipold taking over the program. He’s call number two as soon as we’re done talking to Chris Petersen.

Will the Wisconsin Badgers replace Paul Chryst with Lance Leipold? (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

Bill O’Brien

Now, this name might surprise some people but it shouldn’t. The Alabama offensive coordinator has to be on any coaching list the Badgers are considering. It’s not a sexy or flashy choice, but that’s not what fans want. We want someone who can win, and we know Bill O’Brien can do that.

His head coaching time in the NFL wasn’t great, but that doesn’t matter. This is college football we’re talking about, and he is a proven winner in the world of college football. He went 15-9 at Penn State after taking over a program that was handcuffed by sanctions following the Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky scandal. If you can go above .500 in the aftermath of that mess, you can win anywhere.

He’s also been through Nick Saban’s coaching rehab program, which is a big bonus. Just ask Ole Miss fans how it’s working out with Lane Kiffin after he spent time under Saban.

Mike Leach

This is a bold choice, but it’s also worth considering. Leach represents a very different mindset than the traditional ground and pound mentality Wisconsin fans have known for decades.

The Mississippi State coach loves to air the ball out, and if we want a change of pace, he would be the perfect choice. Would he leave the Bulldogs to come to the Badgers?

Will Wisconsin fire Paul Chryst and hire Mike Leach? (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

The reality of the situation is we can pay just as much if not more, and the road to success is a hell of a lot easier in the Big Ten West than it is in the SEC West.

Matt Campbell

Surprised by how far down the list Campbell is? Don’t be. It’s not an insult. Matt Campbell is a great coach, and he’s won at least seven games every single season at Iowa State, outside of his first season in 2016.

Iowa State is a very hard place to win at, but Campbell is competitive every season with the Cyclones. That’s why his name is often floated around for different jobs.

If everyone else on this list says no, then definitely give Campbell a call.

What will the Badgers ultimately do with Paul Chryst?

The future still isn’t crystal clear in Madison, but what is clear is that something must change. The program must change and it must change immediately before we slide any further into irrelevancy. Paul Chryst had a good run, but that run is clearly over. Now, it’s time to start considering other options.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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  1. Did anyone see Matt Campbell’s Cy-clowns muster just 11 points against *checks notes* Kansas?

    Okay, granted, the Jayhawks have overachieved greatly this season. I figured they’d at least be bowl eligible, but 5-0 at this stage of the season? Still, the only reason Idiocracy State isn’t the worst team in Iowa is because the Banana Beaks in Iowa City have an offense that’s even worse than what’s being put out in Ames.

    And programs desperate for a coach are still looking at Campbell as a viable option? Does anyone outside of Ames realize that Idiocracy State was a one-hit wonder in 2020 and haven’t even sniffed a conference title in over a century?

    But, sure, let’s see some Power Five program hire a one-hit wonder who’d make the Jimbo Fisher to aTm look like a solid return on investment (and we all know how happy they are right now in College Station, right)?

  2. No one on that list (not named Lance Leipold) is gong to Wisconsin! Why in the WORLD would Mike Leach got to Wisconsin? Wisconsin is a 2nd-3rd level team in a 2nd level conference–Leach is a well loved coach in the Top Conference.

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