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December 6, 2012

Chryst is staying at Pitt

Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez said during a press conference in Madison on Thursday that he won't consider Pitt head coach Paul Chryst for the Badgers' head coach opening.

"Paul's going to stay at Pitt," Alvarez said in a press conference that was televised on the Big Ten Network.

Chryst's name has been linked to the Wisconsin job since Tuesday when Bret Bielema left the Badgers to become the head coach at Arkansas. Chryst spent seven years as a Wisconsin assistant, including six as offensive coordinator, before he was hired to be Pitt's head coach last December.

Chryst replaced Todd Graham, who left Pitt after one year to become head coach at Arizona State, setting up an interesting ethical dilemma if Chryst were to pull a similar one-and-done deal at Pitt.

Alvarez said Thursday that dilemma won't come to pass.

"Paul has already come out and said he is committed to Pitt, and I think he should be committed to Pitt," Alvarez said. "I don't think it'd be right for him to leave after one year. I wouldn't feel right and I don't think it'd be appropriate for me to hire him back."

Pitt released a statement from Chryst Tuesday night addressing the growing rumors about his possible candidacy.

"I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today's developments. I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh. I am focusing all my time and energy on our team's bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football."

On Wednesday Chryst met with the current Pitt players, and while he didn't offer a guarantee that he would stay on as head coach, he said that he had not spoken with anyone from another school.

Chryst and his assistant coaches were more proactive with recruits, though, contacting Pitt's committed prospects and top targets Tuesday and Wednesday to reassure them that the coaching staff had no intentions of leaving.

Four-star quarterback commit Tra'von Chapman told Panther-Lair.com Wednesday that he had a conversation with Chryst and felt good about the head coach's intentions.

"He said he wasn't going anywhere and he's excited about the future and the class we have coming," Chapman said via text message.

In his first year as Pitt head coach, Chryst led the Panthers to a 6-6 record and a matchup with Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl, which will be played in Birmingham, Ala., on Jan. 5. Chryst is expected to be in Birmingham Thursday for a bowl-related press conference.

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