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Alvarez says he won't take Chryst to Wisconsin

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 12:12 p.m.
Pitt football coach Paul Chryst on the sideline against Rutgers at Heinz Field on November 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt coach Paul Chryst urges on his team against Rutgers on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at Heinz Field. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Pitt head coach Paul Chryst on the sideline during his first game against Youngstown State at Heinz Field Sept. 1, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Pitt coach Paul Chryst said his players weren't distracted by speculation about him replacing Bret Bielema in Wisconsin.

“They see you around and know you're there,” said Chryst on Thursday at a BBVA Compass Bowl news conference in Birmingham, Ala. “I think that changes things.”

Pitt players will see Chryst at their practice facility for the foreseeable future after Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said he won't try to hire Pitt's coach.

“Paul's going to stay at Pitt,” Alvarez said at a news conference in Madison, Wis. “Paul has already come out and said he is committed to Pitt, and I think he should be committed to Pitt.”

Chryst asserted his commitment to Pitt on Tuesday within hours of Bielema leaving Wisconsin for Arkansas. But he said he didn't do it for himself.

“The need was for the guys in the room and the guys we're trying to recruit,” he said. “That's what we're here for and what coaches do.

“I'm glad we've got one more game, but it's really one more month and that's what's exciting to me. And as you start to work with them, and especially the seniors who you know you won't be with them after that, you appreciate this time.”

Pitt players were glad to know Chryst wouldn't be leaving for Wisconsin.

“As a future fan and alum, I'm definitely excited for the future with coach Chryst staying,” senior safety Andrew Taglianetti said.

Chryst, 6-6 in his first season at Pitt, was Wisconsin's offensive coordinator from 2005-2011 and considered the front-runner to replace Bielema.

But Alvarez, who was born in Washington County, said he didn't think it would be right for Chryst to leave Pitt after one season. He also said he believes it would inappropriate to try to lure Chryst to Wisconsin after he asked “some close friends” to assist Chryst in getting hired at Pitt, according to an ESPN.com report.

Alvarez, who will coach Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl at the request of the captains, hopes to have a permanent coach in place “by the first of the year,” he said on “The Dan Patrick Show” on NBC Sports.

“But I am not going to rush things,” he said. “I'm going to make sure it is the right person and the right fit.”

Alvarez said he may reach out to Boise State coach Chris Peterson, but isn't sure of his interest.

“I always thought Chris was pretty locked in at Boise,” he said.

Notes: Ole Miss, which improved from 2-10 to 6-6, has sold more than 14,000 tickets. ... Asked about his team's familiarity with Legion Field after appearing in the past two games, Chryst said: “Certainly, they know the stadium. I'd love to believe we've got the edge because of that, but I don't know that that's the case.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at jdipaola@tribweb.com.

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