Wisconsin fires football coach Paul Chryst

Jim Leonhard will be the interim head coach, according to multiple reports.
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst watches during the second half of an NCAA college football...
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst watches during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington StateSaturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Washington State won 17-14. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)(Morry Gash | AP)
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - Wisconsin football is moving in a different direction Sunday.

One day after suffering a 34-10 defeat at the hands of former UW head coach Bret Bielema and Illinois, Paul Chryst has been let go by the University of Wisconsin, according to multiple reports, including Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The move was confirmed in a press release from UW Athletics on Sunday. In the release, Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh said that after talking with Chryst about the future of the program, “I have concluded that now is the time for a change in leadership.”

McIntosh called Chryst “a man of integrity” and said that he has “great respect and admiration for Paul and the legacy of him and his family at the University of Wisconsin.”

Chryst was 67-26 at Wisconsin since his hiring in 2015. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Pittsburgh.

Jim Leonhard, a former Badgers All-American safety who spent 10 years in the NFL, will move from defensive coordinator to interim head coach, according to multiple reports. The school is made a formal announcement Sunday evening.

“There is still a lot of season left to play, and I know Jim will do a great job while the program is under his leadership,” McIntosh said in a press release.

“I appreciate Chris McIntosh placing his trust in me to lead our team,” Leonhard said in a press release. “My focus right now is on our players and moving forward with preparing them for our game on Saturday at Northwestern.”

Wisconsin will play Northwestern at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The Badgers are 2-3 on the season.

“I owe a lot to Coach Chryst. Everyone in our program does. He gave me my first coaching job, and for that I am forever grateful,” Leonhard said in a press release. “As a Badger, I thank him for his impact on our football program and our players over many years.”

Leonhard, a native of northwestern Wisconsin and graduate of Flambeau High School, is in his 7th year with Wisconsin as a coach, including six years as its defensive coordinator.