Named less than a month ago as the Badgers replacement for former head coach Gary Andersen, Paul Chryst has wasted no time in gathering his coaching staff. While retaining some personnel from the Anderson era, Chryst, a Madison native, announced this week six new hires to his staff. Four assistants joined the program on Wednesday, as Chryst revealed their hiring at just his second news conference since becoming head coach at Wisconsin. The four include running backs coach Thomas Brown, who held the same position under Andersen, Inoke Brekterfield as the defensive line coach, tight ends coach Mickey Turner, and Chris Haering who will oversee special teams. Also on Wednesday, Ross Kolodziej was announced as the strength and conditioning coach.
On Tuesday, Chryst ended speculation and revealed his much anticipated choices for a pair of vacant coordinating jobs. On offense, the former Pitt head coach brought over his coordinator from that school, Joe Rudolph. A one-time professional guard for Philadelphia and San Francois, Rudolph was also a captain on the Badgers in the early 1980s and the school’s tight end coach from 2008 to 2011.
Defensively, Chryst retained Andersen hire Dave Aranda for the 2015 season. Aranda, who came to Wisconsin along with the former coach in 2012, had the opportunity to join Andersen at the same position at Oregon State, though he told reporters at the Wednesday news conference that as soon as he found out Chryst would be at the helm he knew he would rather stay.
During his two seasons at Wisconsin, Aranda has transformed the defensive scheme into a more aggressive 3-4. The new style has been good enough to rank in the top-20 in all four major defensive categories, as well as garner the team’s first away shutout in 16 years, a 37-0 routing at Rutgers.
With the six hires announced this week, just three prominent coaching positions remain to be filled. Media reports are speculating that Hawaii secondary coach Daronte Jones will take on the same role under Chryst in the upcoming year. Former Oklahoma assistant Jay Norvell will reportedly take on the wide-receiver coaching capacity. That leaves just the outside linebackers coaching position still vacant. Chryst said Wednesday that he expects that final spot to be filled soon.
The array of new faces coming to Wisconsin under Chryst are not unfamiliar. Nearly all have past ties to the team or have been hired by the coach before, mostly at Pitt. Fans will likely remember Turner as a letter-winner every year from 2006 to 2009, as well as a senior captain for the 2009 team.