Five possible replacements for Chryst at Pitt
Paul Chryst left Pitt after three seasons to go back to Wisconsin, where he was a former quarterback and longtime offensive coordinator.
With athletic director Steve Pederson also gone, Randy Juhl will serve as the acting athletic director and run the head-coaching search. The new hire will be Pitt's third coach in four seasons, so Juhl will be looking to stabilize this program.
Whoever gets the job will inherit a team with All-American candidates in James Conner and Tyler Boyd along with a veteran quarterback in Chad Voytik. The offense is built to be a physical unit, and the defense was starting to get a bit deeper under Chryst. The new head coach can win immediately in the ACC Coastal, so it's an intriguing opening.
Let's take a look at the names that could be in play to be the next head coach of the Panthers.
Greg Schiano: He badly wants a head gig again following his year off after being dismissed by the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former Rutgers head coach went 68-67 (including an 11-2 mark in 2006) with the Scarlet Knights from 2001-11, but every college football observer knows that what he did for that program goes far and beyond that record. The 48-year-old is familiar with Pitt from his time in the Big East and would employ the same physical style of ball that Chryst had implemented.
Doc Holliday: The Marshall head coach played at Pitt's rival, West Virginia, and he was also an assistant with the Mountaineers for 22 years before landing the head job with the Thundering Herd in 2010. He is 39-25 in five years with Marshall, including 12-1 this season.
Pat Narduzzi will be a head coach one day. Will it be at Pitt?
Pat Narduzzi: The 48-year-old turned down the UConn gig that went to Bob Diaco because he knew he could get a bigger job. He makes a lot of sense at Pitt but, of course, does not have the head-coaching experience. However, the hard-nosed identity and physical brand that he helped create in East Lansing would play well with the Panthers. He would be a great fit.
Joe Rudolph: The team's current offensive coordinator could land the gig if any of the bigger names fall through. The 42-year-old arrived in town with Chryst in 2012 and will coach the team in the Armed Forces Bowl against Houston. He doesn’t have head-coaching experience, though, and he could join Chryst at Wisconsin if he is not a serious candidate for this opening.
Dan Mullen: It's tough to get a read on whether Mullen is a serious candidate for the Michigan opening, but some college football insiders feel that the Mississippi State head coach may have hit his ceiling with the Bulldogs. He had a veteran squad this season that was once ranked No. 1 in the country, so that may be the highest the Bulldogs can get. He has spent a lot of time in the Northeast in the past and is from the Urban Meyer coaching tree. But would he leave the SEC?
Others who could be in the mix:
Mario Cristobal: He's a great recruiter and has head-coaching experience. I don't think enough people realize just how dire the situation was at Florida International when he took over that gig. He never should have been let go from that job.
Sal Sunseri: He played with the Panthers from 1978-81 before moving onto a career as a defensive coach. The Florida State defensive ends coach has been around winning programs, but he has never been a head coach.
Matt Campbell: The 35-year-old Toledo head coach is going to eventually get a bigger gig after accumulating a 25-13 mark with the Rockets. He could be a candidate that stays longterm and helps the program get back to its winning ways. The Panthers have finished in the final AP Top 25 just three times since 1990.
Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.