Paul Chryst is entering his seventh consecutive season at Wisconsin and his eighth overall as an assistant coach for the Badgers. Chryst, UW's co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 2005, is now in his sixth year as the program's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Chryst, the Badgers' tight ends coach in 2002, returned to Wisconsin in 2005 and his impact on the UW offense has been undeniable.
In the last five seasons, Wisconsin has averaged 31.9 points and 408.6 yards per game. In addition, the names of three quarterbacks he has coached dominate Wisconsin's record book. Scott Tolzien, the starter each of the past two seasons, is at the top of both the career completion percentage and pass efficiency lists. Tyler Donovan and John Stocco rank third and fourth, respectively, in completion percentage while Stocco is second in career passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns. Wisconsin has compiled a 49-16 (.754) record during Chryst's five seasons at the helm of the offense.
The 2010 season was an historic one for the Badger opffense. UW finished fifth in the country, averaging 41.5 points per game to demolish the school record by more than a touchdown a game. In Big Ten play it was even better, averaging 45.2 points in its eight league games, the second-best average in Big Ten annals. Heading into last season, Wisconsin had not scored 70 points in a game since 1915. The Badgers did it in three different games.
The stength of the offense was its running game. UW nearly became the first team in FBS history to have three different players rush for at least 1,000 yards in the same season as James White had 1,052 yards, John Clay had 1,012 and Montee Ball had 996. The Badgers finished 12th in the country in rushing offense and tied a Big Ten record with 48 rushing TDs.
As a balance to the stellar running game, the passing game featured Tolzien, the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner, and Mackey Award finalist Lance Kendricks. Tolzien set the Big Ten single-season record for completion percentage and finished sixth in the country in pass efficiency.
The offense boasted three first-team All-Americans (Gabe Carimi, John Moffitt and Kendricks), four national award finalists (Carimi, Clay, Kendricks and Tolzien) and two national award winners (Carimi and Tolzien).
UW ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense, pass efficiency, fewest turnovers lost, third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions, red zone offense, time of possession and fewest penalties per game.
In 2009, the Badgers led the Big Ten in both scoring (31.8 ppg.) and total offense (416.9 ypg.). Both averages are among the top five in school history. It was the first time in conference history (records date back to 1985) that UW has led the league in both categories in the same season. Wisconsin paced the Big Ten in scoring during conference games for just the sixth time in league history (records date back to 1936).
UW was one of just six teams in the country to average at least 200.0 yards rushing and passing in 2009. Wisconsin led the country in time of possession (33:54), tied for third in red zone offense (94.6 percent), ranked 10th in third-down conversions (47.5 percent) and 15th in rushing offense (203.8 ypg.).
2009 was also a big year for UW individuals as Clay became the first Badger since 1999 to win Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors. The sophomore led the conference and ranked with in the country with 1,517 yards. Four offensive players (Clay, TE Garrett Graham, Carimi and Moffitt) earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, the most for the Badgers since 1999.
Tolzien, who entered 2009 with eight career pass attempts, led the Big Ten in pass efficiency at 143.0, the third-best mark in school history. His 2,705 passing yards were the second-most in school history. Tolzien completed a school-record 211 passes and his completion percentage of 64.3 was second-best in the conference, 14th in the country and third in school history.
In 2008, the UW offense overcame injuries and a midseason switch at quarterback to still lead the Big Ten in rushing offense. The Badgers' 211.2 yards per game on the ground was their highest average since the 1999 Big Ten championship season. The 399.2 yards of total offense per game was the seventh-best season average in school history and Wisconsin averaged 31.7 points over its last six games.
The prior season saw the Badgers lead the nation in time of possession (33:44) and averaged 29.5 points per game, tied for the ninth-highest scoring average in school history. Wisconsin also averaged 408.8 yards per game of total offense, the sixth-highest figure in program history. Junior All-American and John Mackey Award finalist Travis Beckum broke his own school record for receiving yards by a tight end with 982 and tied the UW record for receptions in a season with 75. Sophomore RB P.J. Hill reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second consecutive season while Donovan ended up throwing for what was then the second-most yards (2,607) in UW history and broke the school record for passes attempted in a season with 333.
Five players from the 2005 Badger offense were selected in the 2006 NFL Draft and several others were lost to graduation, so Chryst had to rebuild the 2006 offense with a new staff and eight new starters. The result? Chryst helped orchestrate Wisconsin's record 12-win season with an offense that produced: 1) the 10th-highest scoring (29.2 ppg) unit in school history; 2) the second-winningest quarterback in school history (Stocco had 29 victories as Wisconsin's starter), who finished second in every major career passing category at UW; 3) an Outland Trophy winner in OT Joe Thomas; 4) the school record-holder for receptions (61) and receiving yards (903) by a tight end in sophomore Travis Beckum; and 5) P.J. Hill, the Big Ten's leading rusher (1,569 yards) and Freshman of the Year.
The 2005 Badgers set school records for points scored in a season (446) and for season scoring average (34.3 ppg). UW scored at least 40 points six times in 2005. The Badger passing game was much improved, with Stocco setting school season records for passing yards (2,920), passing TDs (21) and pass completions (197). Running back Brian Calhoun became just the second player in NCAA Division IA history to accumulate 1,500 yards rushing and 500 receiving yards in the same season.
Chryst was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oregon State in 2003-04. He helped the Beavers rank No. 6 nationally in passing yardage per game (328.1). The 2003 Beavers became the first team in NCAA Division I history with a 4,000-yard passer, 1,500-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers. Among the Oregon State stars he coached were RB Ken Simonton, the school's career rushing leader, QB Derek Anderson (now with the Cleveland Browns), who left as the Pac 10's No. 2 career passing leader, RB Steven Jackson (now with St. Louis Rams), a 2004 first-round draft choice, and TE Tim Euhus, a fourth-round pick of Buffalo in 2004 who is now with Arizona.
Chryst came to Wisconsin in 2002 after serving as an assistant coach with the San Diego Chargers.
Previously, Chryst was an assistant coach at Oregon State (1997-98), the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1996), Illinois State (1995), the Ottawa Rough Riders (1994), UW-Platteville (1993) and the World League's San Antonio Riders (1991-92). He was a graduate assistant at West Virginia (1989-90).
Chryst was a three-time football letterwinner at Wisconsin, where he earned a degree in political science in 1988. He added a master's degree in educational administration from West Virginia in 1990. Paul's brother, Rick, was commissioner of the Mid-American Conference for 10 years. Another brother, Geep, is an assistant with the Carolina Panthers. Paul's late father, George, was a longtime head coach at UW-Platteville and a former Badger player and assistant coach.
Chryst and his wife, Robin, have three children: Katy, JoJo and Danny.