Wisconsin Rapids native, former Badger Vince Biegel holds high praise for Paul Chryst upon firing

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, right, shakes hands with linebacker Vince Biegel (47) before...
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, right, shakes hands with linebacker Vince Biegel (47) before an NCAA college football game against the Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/DavidBanks)(David Banks | AP)
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:58 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - Upon hearing the news of his college coach’s firing, Vince Biegel cannot help but reflect on Paul Chryst’s impact.

“He’s done a ton for me as a person, as an individual,” says Vince Biegel, Badgers Linebacker (2013-2016). “Off the field but then also just as a football player, as well.”

He also knows he is not alone.

“It’s sad to see Coach Chryst go,” says Biegel. “And, you know, I know there’s a ton of former players like myself who have a ton of respect for him.”

But of the many high qualities of coach Chryst, Biegel believes Wisconsin will miss his personable attitude the most.

“Coach Chryst can talk to anybody,” says Biegel. “He can talk to your 80-year old grandmother and he can talk to your little sister. He’s so adverse and he is such an easy guy to talk to and such a good person.”

With sudden news like this breaking mid-season, it can become a distraction when you have more games to focus on.

Meaning team unity is now more important than ever.

“When that happens, when player really shut the doors and say he, this is the men that we got in this locker room, special things do come from that,” says Biegel. “And I know it’s a tough 2-and-2 record right now, but there’s a lot of season left.”

In chryst’s place for the remainder of the season will be defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard.

Before joining the defensive staff during Biegel’s senior year, Leonhard was a three-time first-team All-American for the Badgers.

With his mix of playing and coaching experience, Biegel is confident that the team will be in good hands.

“Coach Leonard is a great coach and he’ll do a great, great job of being the interim head coach at the time and uphold the Wisconsin standard that has been set like way before I got there,” says Biegel.

The buyout

Chryst will not be leaving the Badgers empty-handed. According to his buyout as spelled out in his contract, he is entitled to millions of dollars for the university ending his contract “without cause” before the agreement period ends.

Chryst’s compensation is paid for by UW-Madison and the University of Wisconsin Foundation. The foundation pays for about 85% of his compensation.

His buyout terms state that he is entitled to 85% of what he would have received through the end of his contract. His latest agreement, signed in March, extended his contract through Jan. 31, 2027.

The contract explicitly lays out numbers through 2025. Calculating his compensation from termination prorated through 2025, he would receive about $16.6 million. However, the terms state that he is to be compensated through the end of the contract, so following those terms through the end of 2026, he is entitled to about $21.5 million.

“We’ll share more about the specifics of where we ended up with Paul at a future date soon,” UW athletic director Chris McIntosh said at the press conference Sunday. “What I can tell you today is that the number that we agreed to is significantly less than the numbers that have been reported, or even the number that would have been due per the terms of his contract.”

According to 2019 research into UW-Madison athletics’ impact on the state’s economy from a Philadelphia consulting firm, Econsult Solutions Inc., Badger football had the largest impact on the Wisconsin economy out of all other UWM sports teams at the Division I level. It generates $16 million in the state for each home game and about $114 million every year for the Wisconsin economy.