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Paul Chryst a finalist for Coach of the Year; Al Johnson leaves for East Central University

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Catching up on some odds & ends.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Ohio State vs Wisconsin Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Writer’s note: Apologies for the bit of delay in churning out the football news of the week (head cold + day career activities = a burned-out and Nyquil-ed up Jake). So we’re here to catch you up on the news of the week.

With the Wisconsin Badgers’ remarkable 12-win season, it is only fitting the man in charge of the program receive his due at a national level. Head coach Paul Chryst was named a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year on Wednesday after sweeping the Big Ten Coach of the Year awards a couple of weeks ago.

Chryst was also a finalist for this coach of the year honor last season, along with the Dodd Trophy in 2016.

In his three seasons at Wisconsin, Chryst is 33–7 with two bowl victories included. He looks to guide his Badgers to another New Year’s Six bowl victory against Miami in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

Other finalists for this year’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year award include Southern California’s Clay Helton, Nebraska’s Scott Frost, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Army’s Jeff Monken, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.

Al Johnson named head coach of Division II East Central University

A former Wisconsin standout offensive lineman turned grad assistant jumped on an opportunity to lead a college football program this week.

Graduate assistant Al Johnson, who worked with the offensive linemen the past two seasons at Wisconsin, was named head coach of Division II East Central University on Tuesday.

As stated in the release, Johnson will “complete his current duties” for the Badgers before heading down to Ada, Okla.

Joining him at East Central University appeared to be former UW defensive back and quality control coach Antonio Fenelus.

Fenelus has worked with the Wisconsin defensive backs for the past three seasons in Madison. He posted a message on Instagram on Wednesday with what appeared to be a confirmation of his new role, but he has since deleted it.

Mark Tauscher named to Packers Hall of Fame

One of the great walk-on success stories of Wisconsin history, former offensive tackle Mark Tauscher earned a new title on Dec. 12: Packer Hall of Famer.

Tauscher will be enshrined into the Packers Hall of Fame next year alongside former placekicker Ryan Longwell. The right tackle started 132 games for the Green and Gold this year, and after Wisconsin congratulated him on Twitter, he of course gave a shout-out to his alma mater and the walk-on tradition.

[Update, 5:15 p.m. CT: We’ve updated the article to reflect the section on Antonio Fenelus. It appears a social media post has now been deleted, with any references to East Central University no longer on his Twitter or Instagram profiles.]