Is it time for the Wisconsin Badgers to move on from head coach Paul Chryst?
Following an embarrassing 17-14 Saturday night loss to Washington State, fans of the Badgers are in a state of absolute shock, and it’s time to face some hard questions.
Most importantly, do we feel confident about the direction of the program under Chryst?
Honestly, I don’t know at this point. If you asked me a couple years ago, I would have said I totally support and back Chryst without question. Now, I’m open to having a dialogue about what to do, and the numbers back up this mindset.
In Chryst’s first three seasons, the Badgers went 34-7. Since the end of the 2017 season, Wisconsin has a record of 32-17 under Chryst.
Let’s dig in a little deeper. Since the start of the 2020 season, the Badgers are just 14-8. Imagine telling someone after our Orange Bowl win at the end of the 2017 season that our win percentage would go down to just 63.6% from 2020 forward.
Nobody would have believed you. How could a team that went 52-16 over five seasons take such an unbelievable hit?
You can blame COVID, but that’s an easy way to get out of responsibility. COVID didn’t force Jack Coan out of Madison. An apparent lack of commitment from Chryst did.
Now, we’re coming off a horrifying loss to a bad WSU team, and I would argue Chryst should absolutely be on the hot seat.
Wisconsin football fans can take a disappointing 8-4 season from time to time. That’s football. That’s life, but winning at least 10 games a year should be the norm. Since 2017, the Badgers have only done it twice.
That’s completely and totally unacceptable. Sure, he has a career record of 66-24 in Madison, but we’re without a doubt sliding in the wrong direction.
To make a shift even more enticing, Jim Leonhard is ready and waiting to become a head coach. He’s already the best defensive assistant in America, and turned down a chance to go to the Packers.
His time being an assistant in Madison is almost certainly over after this season. So, here’s what needs to happen, and it’s surprisingly simple.
If the Badgers have another disappointing season, Chryst needs to step aside and Leonhard must be named head coach. Three straight stagnant seasons is more than enough justification to move on from Chryst.
If it happens, it doesn’t mean Chryst is a bad coach and it doesn’t mean all the games he won didn’t matter. It just means we need a change and when you have the best assistant coach in America already on staff, the decision becomes very easy.
Nine wins at a minimum this season, and anything less should result in Wisconsin head coach Jim Leonhard on the sidelines in 2023.