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Wisconsin coaching search: Paul Chryst still the frontrunner; Gary Andersen introduced at Oregon State

Updates on Wisconsin's coaching search after a not-so-eventful, but nonetheless entertaining Friday.

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The Wisconsin Badgers have yet to make an announcement regarding their next head coach, but all indications remain that Pitt's Paul Chryst will be returning to Madison before long.

Chryst, the former Wisconsin offensive coordinator who has been at Pitt since 2012, has been widely pegged for a return to Madison as head coach. We reported as much on Thursday night, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal have since added more details.

The only word to come from UW on Friday was the following statement from athletics director Barry Alvarez:

"We are continuing the process of finding our new head football coach. We have not offered the position to anyone. In accordance with University of Wisconsin hiring policies, the earliest we could make an offer to a candidate is Wednesday, Dec. 17. Any accepted offer would be contingent upon approval by the UW System Board of Regents."

At a previously scheduled UW Athletic Board meeting, there was a separate, closed session to discuss "personnel," Andy Baggot of the State Journal reported. Alvarez did have a few intriguing comments during the portion of the meeting open to reporters:

Alvarez caught some flack for taking the bowl bonus that would've went to Bret Bielema in 2012 after Bielema abruptly left for Arkansas.

As for the coaching search, Wisconsin's timeline has been accelerated by a special waiver from the state allowing it to make a hire in five business days as opposed to two weeks, according to Jason Galloway of the State Journal. Hence, the Dec. 17 date in Alvarez's statement.

Regarding assistant coaches, reports the following UW staff members will be following Gary Andersen to OSU:

Keegan Andersen, Gary Andersen's oldest of three sons, is joining the staff as a grad assistant. Also, per source DFO Jason Thomas and recruiting coordinator Vince Guinta (both from Wisconsin) will be joining Andersen in Corvallis.

In his introductory press conference in Corvallis on Friday, Andersen said he hopes to announce his staff next week. He alluded to interest from some Wisconsin coaches in joining him, but again, nobody was identified.

Every indication from both the Wisconsin and Pitt sides off this situation is that Chryst will indeed be Wisconsin's next coach. Alvarez's game plan seems to have been to let word out that Chryst all but officially coming back to UW, cooling the firestorm that followed Andersen's abrupt departure for Oregon State and giving recruits some positive news to lean on.

At Pitt, there seem to be conflicting reports regarding the finality of Chryst's time there.

In summary, every indication is that the Badgers are locked in on Chryst. The state-mandated timetable puts an inherent brake on things, and of course, contracts take time to sort out and finalize. We'll see how things play out over the weekend, but at this point, it seems like Wisconsin could have its next coach set by next week.

Gary Andersen announced at Oregon State

In yet another sign of how quickly this situation has unfolded, Andersen was introduced at Oregon State -- two days after word of his departure from Wisconsin broke.

Andersen didn't have much of substance to stay at the press conference -- as introductory ones go, it was mostly pomp and circumstance in Corvallis with the unveiling of a new coach. Andersen did have a few quotes pertaining to Wisconsin that probably came off the tongue different than he expected, but nothing conclusively significant.

It's quite weird to see Andersen donning different colors so soon, but this is college football, after all. We'll see what the weekend holds, but again, it looks like Wisconsin is headed for a reunion with Chryst.