Wisconsin fires Paul Chryst five games into eighth season; Jim Leonard takes over as interim coach

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Wisconsin fired coach Paul Chryst five games into the 2022 season, according to multiple reports. The Badgers started 2-3 this season following a 34-10 loss to Illinois as former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema got a win over his former team at Camp Randall Stadium.

Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard will serve as Wisconsin’s interim coach over the remainder of the season. If Chryst is fired for cause, Wisconsin could pay north of $16 million for his buyout. 

The loss to the Illini marked a low point for what has normally been a reliable, upper-tier Big Ten program under Chryst. The Badgers, known for being physically dominating in the trenches, notched just 2 yards rushing on the day. 

Chryst never had a losing season in eight seasons at Wisconsin, leading the program to double-digit wins across four campaigns. The most recent in 2019 ended with a berth to the Rose Bowl where Wisconsin lost 28-27 to Oregon. The Badgers advanced to the Big Ten Championship Game three times under Chryst, though they lost all three chances (twice to Ohio State, once to Penn State).

Chryst finishes 67-26 (.720) overall at Wisconsin, though the team went 52-16 (.765) across his first five seasons and just 15-10 (.600) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. He previously served as the coach at Pittsburgh where he went 19-19 in three seasons with the Panthers.

CBS Sports will update this breaking news story shortly.

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