December 19, 2014

Former players heaping praise on UW’s Chryst (AUDIO)

Paul Chryst takes over in Madison

Paul Chryst takes over in Madison

Paul Chryst is returning home.  The University of Wisconsin and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez is hoping he won’t have to hire another head coach during his time in Madison.

Alvarez targeted the former Badger assistant coach as his number-one choice to replace Gary Andersen, who left to take the head coaching job at Oregon State.  When he contacted Chryst about the vacancy in Madison, it became pretty clear that Chryst would be returning to Madison.

Those that played for Chryst previously, know the Badgers are getting an excellent coach.

Quarterback Scott Tolzien, who is currently a backup in Green Bay with the Packers, said he doesn’t think he’d be in the NFL if not for Chryst’s work.  The two spent five seasons in Madison together with Tolzien starting his final two seasons in Madison. [Read more…]

Paul Chryst named new Wisconsin football coach

Paul Chryst

Paul Chryst

Madison native Paul Chryst returned to the city where he grew up, played his college football and eventually served as an assistant coach, before being hired by the University of Wisconsin to take over the head coaching job today.

Before spending the last three seasons as head coach at Pittsburgh, where he led the Panthers to three consecutive bowl appearances, Chryst oversaw the most explosive offenses in Wisconsin history.  During his last two seasons as UW’s offensive coordinator (2010 and 2011), the Badgers set a multitude of school and Big Ten records.

With current Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien at the helm in 2010, UW averaged more than 40.0 points a game for the first time in school history, ranking fifth in the country with 41.5 points a game.  On their way to their first Big Ten title since 1999, the Badgers scored at least 70 points three times.  As a team, Wisconsin set a Big Ten record with a .732 completion percentage while also tying the conference record for rushing touchdowns (48).

Chryst was also the offensive coordinator during Russell Wilson’s only season in Madison.  Wilson set the FBS record for pass efficiency (191.8) while setting school records for passing yards (3,175) and passing touchdowns (33 – second-most in Big Ten history).

Junior running back Montee Ball also tied Barry Sanders’ single-season record with 39 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,923 yards.

During his three seasons in Pittsburgh, the Panthers improved from 83rd in the country in scoring offense (24.3 ppg) the year before he arrived to 47th (31.7 ppg.) this season.  He helped stabilize a program that had five different acting head coaches in a span of 12 months.  Chryst led the Panthers to a 19-19 overall record and three straight bowl appearances.

(We’ll have audio from Paul Chryst, Barry Alvarez and a pair of former players shortly).

Democrat urges careful review of Wisconsin elections agency

Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison)

Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison)

A state audit released late last week highlighted a long list of issues at the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees Wisconsin’s election and ethics laws. Those issues included staff failing to mandated checks for felons voting in a timely manner and the inconsistent enforcement of campaign finance violations.

Republican leaders are already calling for changes at the agency and have vowed to introduce legislation next spring overhauling the GAB. However, many Democrats are urging a more careful approach that gives the agency time to fix the issues directly identified in the audit.

State Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) says it would be unfortunate if Republicans used the audit as an excuse to take partisan-motivated action against the GAB, especially since the agency is “committed to taking the suggestions made by the audit bureau seriously, and are working to implement many of them already.”

The Madison Democrat, who sits on the Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee, also notes that the GAB has seen a dramatic jump in its workload in recent years because of recall elections and the ongoing battle over the state’s voter ID requirement. She says the reaction to staffing issues should not be to pull the carpet out from under the GAB, adding that it would be unfortunate if audits are used to “politicize the work of our agencies.”

Audit details problems at Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

(File photo: WRN)

(File photo: WRN)

A new state audit shows a number of problems at the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, the agency that oversees the state’s election, campaign finance, lobbying, and code of ethics laws. The report by the state Legislative Audit Bureau could provide more fuel for efforts to overhaul the agency, which Republicans have indicated they hope to do next year.

The audit found that GAB staff did fulfill many of its required duties, including the training of municipal clerks and working to improve polling place accessibility. However, it also shows staff failed to complete other duties “in a timely manner,” which included mandated post-election reviews to determine if felons voted in an election and audits of electronic voting equipment. According to the report, “from February 2010 through April 2014, GAB’s staff did not conduct 16 statutorily required post-election reviews to identify individuals with ongoing felony sentences who may have voted.”

The audit also showed the GAB falling behind on promulgating, amending or removing several administrative rules. It also found staff failed to regularly provide the retired judges who oversee the board with complete information on their enforcement efforts and that the agency lacked a written procedures for considering complaints.

In a statement, GAB director Kevin Kennedy defended the agency, noting that the audit found “problems with the GAB’s financial accounting or spending, and called for no significant changes regarding the core duties and performance of the Board or its staff.” Kennedy also pledged that they are “committed to implementing LAB’s recommendations to bring the agency into full compliance with statutory requirements and further improve its operations.”

Republican lawmakers pounced on the audit shortly after its release, with state Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), co-chair of the Legislature’s Audit Committee, saying he is “troubled by the numerous findings,” and noting that “the GAB has simply not performed required duties that they are obligated to do, by law. There needs to be answers for the blatant disregard of state statutes.”

State Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem), the other co-chair of the panel, said she was “angry and disappointed with the findings of this audit, adding that the “agency has inspired outrage with its inconsistent penalty assessments and failure to comply with state statute.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the audit was not surprising. “We know that the GAB routinely doesn’t follow the law and there’s no accountability whatsoever. The audit is another illustration of why we must change the GAB,” Vos said in a statement. He added that efforts are already underway to draft legislation to reform the agency.

The Government Accountability Board was created by the Legislature in 2007 to serve as a non-partisan agency to oversee elections in the state, replacing the former State Elections Board. The board is made up of six retired judges, who are appointed to six-year terms by the governor. The agency has been a frequent target of criticism from lawmakers.

Report: Chryst poised to return to Wisconsin as head coach

Paul Chryst

Paul Chryst

According to a report by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Jeff Potrykus, Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez  has put in motion, Paul Chryst’s return to Madison to replace Gary Andersen as Wisconsin’s new head football coach.

The story cited a source close to the UW program as saying Chryst is poised to return to his alma mater.

The 49-year-old Chryst is a native of Madison and played at Wisconsin from 1986-’88.  He went on to coach tightends in 2002, then later served under Bret Bielema as Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator.  He is in his third season at Pittsburgh where he has an overall record of 19-19.

Barry Alvarez had said he wanted to have a replacement on board by January 1st.

There is a job posting period that will have to run its course before the school can make any hire official, but it would appear that Barry Alvarez’ search started and ended with Paul Chryst.