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Report: What Led To Paul Chryst's Firing At Wisconsin

A solo shot of Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst.

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 07: Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)


Wisconsin fired head coach Paul Chryst following a 2-3 start.

During an interview on McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning, Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussed what led the Badgers to dismiss their longtime leader early in his eighth season.

After going 4-3 in a tumultuous 2020 campaign affected by the pandemic, Wisconsin "got off to a tough start" last year. After they bounced back from a 1-3 beginning to win seven straight, the Badgers "got outplayed thoroughly by Minnesota" in November.

"This year Paul Chryst made changes in the offseason. Gave up offensive coordinator, gave up play-calling -- no longer coaching the quarterbacks, more of a CEO -- all in an effort to get the offense up and running," Potrykus said. "The changes haven't worked. The offense is stuck in neutral, and the defense is struggling a little bit because they lost eight starters."

Potrykus called last Saturday's 34-10 loss to Illinois the final straw for the Big Ten program.

"The loss to Illinois is really what shook people at UW, including athletic director Chris McIntosh," he said. "And he decided to make a change after kind of sleeping on it Saturday night."

Wisconsin named defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard the interim head coach.

"The expectations of our program at Wisconsin are to win championships," McIntosh told reporters Tuesday, "and I felt that it was the right time to make a change to pursue those."

Chryst went 67-26 as Wisconsin's head coach with seven bowl victories. Yet the program hasn't captured a Big Ten title since 2012.

Wisconsin will begin life without Chryst when facing Northwestern this Saturday.