We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Wisconsin sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, hockey or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 6, and this is your Wisconsin Wake-Up Call.
Pay the man
Paul Chryst has won as many games (20) the past two seasons as anyone in the Big Ten not named Urban Meyer. And yet, following the announcement by Purdue that it had hired Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm as its new head coach, Chryst now ranks fifth in the Big Ten West and ninth overall in the conference in terms of salary.
Purdue made a HUGE commitment to Jeff Brohm; Am told six-year deal will be worth around $20 million.
— Jody Demling (@jdemling) December 5, 2016
Chryst made $2.7 million this season, according to USA Today, an increase of $400,000 from his first year. His contract calls for a $100,000 increase each year, and there are performance bonuses involved as well.
The case for a raise is clearly there for Chryst. He’s performed above and beyond what many thought, especially this season with a schedule that was considered at the beginning of the year to be as tough as any the program had seen in the last 20 campaigns.
Winning the Big Ten West was a significant accomplishment, even with the disappointment of the conference title game loss to Penn State. Chryst became just the third coach in school history to be named the coach of the year in the Big Ten. The last time it happened, with Bret Bielema in 2006, his salary nearly doubled the following season.
Chryst’s case is an interesting one. He’s viewed, unlike Bielema or his successor, Gary Andersen, as someone who won’t be going anywhere unless he gets fired. He grew up around the Wisconsin program, played for the Badgers and is in his third different stint as a coach in Madison.
That screams Wisconsin lifer, but that doesn’t mean he can be treated or paid less as a result. And as athletic director Barry Alvarez knows as well as anyone — considering his own dalliances with the NFL during his coaching tenure — others will come calling if Chryst somehow sustains the success he’s had the first two years. If you treat the situation like you expect him to take a hometown discount, it could backfire if an attractive NFL job comes open.
Wisconsin will never pay — smartly — the amount that certain programs have thrown around. For example, $4.5 million for Kirk Ferentz at Iowa? Ridiculous. Bielema has been paid $16.4 million in his four seasons at Arkansas and it’s resulted in 10 SEC victories. That’s an insane amount of investment to get so little in return.
Still, while Wisconsin won’t be paying a head coach north of $4 million anytime soon, some kind of increase is needed for Chryst in the wake of a 20-6 record to start his tenure.
While Wisconsin was getting ready for the Big Ten title game last week, coaching staffs from every team that wasn’t playing on championship weekend got an early start on the recruiting trail, stopping in for home visits all over the country.
Following the heartbreaking 38-31 loss to Penn State, the Badgers coaches didn’t waste any time joining them on the road, hitting multiple commits in the class of 2017, including cornerback Madison Cone (Kernersville, NC), quarterback Jack Coan (West Sayville, NY) and offensive lineman Kayden Lyles (Middleton, WI).
Great home visit this morning with the head man and Coach Set❗️ pic.twitter.com/RWY53BJ5dy
— Madison Cone (@_the_future21) December 5, 2016
Great in-home visit with Coach Chryst and Coach Turner. Thanks for coming to Sayville. pic.twitter.com/ptkNU353m5
— Jack Coan (@jcoan17) December 5, 2016
— Kayden Lyles (@Klyles60) December 4, 2016
Wisconsin’s relatively small class of 2017, with 15 recruits right now, is pretty much completed, with the staff chasing one or two more potential players. Ranked 33rd in the country and ninth in the Big Ten, according to 247 Sports, the class doesn’t jump off the page at you. But it’s a good solid group of kids, stocked with four highly thought of offensive linemen, a guy in running back Jonathan Taylor who broke Corey Clement’s New Jersey rushing record and a couple other intriguing prospects, including Alvarez’s grandson, tight end Jake Ferguson.
The success Wisconsin had on the field this year — they spent a school-record 10 weeks inside the AP Top 25 and will play in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games — won’t necessarily show up this February when the class of 2017 signs. But the key to the Badgers taking the next step, where they are constantly among the top 10 or 15 teams in the country, will be taking advantage of high-profile years like this. It was something that Alvarez never managed to do despite all his success. Chryst has a young and eager staff around him to get it done.
Pumphrey closes in
With just one game left in his career, Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State’s senior running back, is just 108 yards short of former Wisconsin star Ron Dayne’s FBS career rushing record of 6,397 yards.
The Aztecs face Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17, and as Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel notes, the Cougars aren’t exactly an easy group to run on.
SDSU's Donnel Pumphrey needs 108 yards in the Vegas Bowl to break Ron Dayne's FBS career record. Houston is allowing just 97.9 per game.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 5, 2016
As Pumphrey closes in on the record, more and more voices have started to pipe up about the fact that Dayne’s record isn’t actually 6,397 yards. It’s 7,125, but back when Dayne was running his way into the record books and picking up the 1999 Heisman Trophy, the NCAA didn’t count stats accrued in bowl games toward career records. That didn’t come around until 2002, so the 728 yards Dayne had in four bowl games goes unrecognized.
— Creg Stephenson (@CregStephenson) December 5, 2016
Pumphrey is a talented back and deserves recognition. But the NCAA is being lazy. There is zero reason not to go back and add bowl stats for players. Heck, the folks at Sports-Reference College Football have already done all the heavy lifting, with their career stats showing what the record books would look like if bowl stats were included dating back to 1956.
Dayne hasn’t been petty about it, noting that while there will be an asterisk next to the record in most people’s minds, Pumphrey’s career speaks for itself. And it has been great. Just not as great as Dayne’s.
Putting out the call
Wisconsin will host NCAA regional action in women’s volleyball this Friday and Saturday at the Field House, the first time since 2000 the Badgers have had the opportunity to go to the Final Four while playing at home. But, unfortunately for them, the home court advantage they normally have inside the 86-year-old venue will be dialed back against Ohio State thanks to the start time — 1 p.m. on a weekday. The reason for that abnormal start is because ESPNU will be televising the match.
It’s a balancing act in the mind of Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield. Obviously, they want as much exposure as possible, but it’s also going to limit their ability to pack the Field House to its normal capacity, which isn’t fair to the loyal season-ticket holders or the players that have dreamed of these types of moments. So, in an effort to avoid a half-empty arena, Sheffield is paying for the first 1,000 tickets for students and student-athletes.
— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) December 5, 2016
It’s an outstanding gesture from Sheffield, who said he got emails and calls from ticket holders who were upset they couldn’t attend and were wondering how they could help in anyway possible.
Pick your ticket up FRIDAY MORNING at the ticket office! https://t.co/YkoxfyVMBJ
— Lauren Carlini (@laurencarlini) December 5, 2016
The players deserve better than perhaps their final collegiate game being a 1 p.m. on a weekday. But they’re making the best of it, and it should still be a solid environment on Friday. And if they beat the Buckeyes, watch out. Saturday will have the Field House rocking as loud as it ever has.
- Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes earned his first career Big Ten Player of the Week honor on Monday.
- Luke Kunin, a captain on Wisconsin’s hockey team, was chosen for the U.S. World Junior camp.
- The Badgers stayed at No. 17 in the AP Top 25 despite beating No. 22 Syracuse and Oklahoma last week.
- Senior kicker Andrew Endicott took to Instagram on Monday to give a look back at what his unexpected final year has been like at Wisconsin.