HomeSportsWisconsin fires head coach Paul Chryst after 2-3 start to season

Wisconsin fires head coach Paul Chryst after 2-3 start to season


The Wisconsin Badgers fired football coach Paul Chryst after starting the season 2-3.

Athletic director Chris McIntosh released a statement explaining the move that will make defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard interim head coach.

“After a candid and authentic conversation with Coach Chryst about what is best for our long-term football program, I have come to the conclusion that now is the time for a change in leadership,” McIntosh said. “Paul is a man of integrity who loves his players. I have great respect and admiration for Paul and his and his family’s legacy at the University of Wisconsin.”

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Head Coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers during the game against the New Mexico Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin.
(John Fisher/Getty Images)

This surprise move comes after the Badgers were dominated by Illinois on Saturday, losing 34-10 on home turf. But that’s not the only blowout this season, as Ohio State beat them 52-21 in their first Big Ten game of the year the week before.

Going forward, McIntosh is confident that Leonhard can make things better for the Wisconsin program.

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“I also have confidence in Jim Leonhard to guide the show through the rest of the season,” McIntosh said. “There’s still a lot of season left to play and I know Jim will do a great job as long as the program is under his leadership.”

Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Paul Chryst looks on during the game against the Washington State Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium on September 10, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Paul Chryst looks on during the game against the Washington State Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium on September 10, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin.
(John Fisher/Getty Images)

Chryst’s firing leaves his contract status in question, as the university still owes him $16.4 million if there was no cause for the firing, ESPN reported. A negotiation could happen to reduce that number in the contract that was extended until 2026.

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Chryst spent seven seasons as the Badgers’ head coach, posting a 67-26 record, with at least 10 wins in four of his first five seasons. He has also brought home bowl wins, racking up victories at the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl.

Leonhard, a former Badgers defensive back, takes over at Northwestern next on the schedule as his first game in charge of the team.

Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Paul Chryst before the game against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium on September 3, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Paul Chryst before the game against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium on September 3, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin.
(Josh Fisher/Getty Images)

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“I appreciate Chris McIntosh putting his trust in me to lead our team,” Leonhard said. “My focus right now is on our players and moving forward with their preparation for our game on Saturday at Northwestern.”



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