On Sept. 5, 2015, Paul Chryst walked into Camp Randall Stadium for his first regular-season game as head coach at Wisconsin. Four decades earlier, he delivered newspapers to the stadium and snuck through the gates to see the field.
Chryst, a native of Madison and former quarterback for the Badgers, is one of 28 current FBS college football head coaches who are coaching teams in their birth state. He is one of only six who are coaching teams in their home city.
"I remember being a paperboy and delivering six papers to the stadium," Chryst said during his introductory news conference in December 2014. "I had one of my worst wipeouts on my bike on the railroad tracks. I went down and went to heal myself at the doughnut shop right down the road."
Of the 14 Big Ten coaches, Chryst is the only one coaching in his birth city. However, three others are within 100 miles.
The average distance between birthplace and current city for Big Ten coaches is 483 miles, a number skewed by Chris Ash, Mike Riley and Mark Dantonio, all of whom have a disance of more than 1,000 miles — led by Dantonio's 1,713-mile trek from El Paso, Texas, to East Lansing, Mich. The median distance is 252 miles.
Nine coaches hail from the Midwest and two others — James Franklin (Langhorne, Penn.) and Jeff Brohm (Louisville, Ky.) are very close.
|Team||Head Coach||City||State||Distance (in miles)|
|Indiana||Tom Allen||New Castle||IN||98|
|Iowa||Kirk Ferentz||Royal Oak||MI||487|
|Michigan State||Mark Dantonio||El Paso||TX||1,713|
|Minnesota||P.J. Fleck||Sugar Grove||IL||393|
|Northwestern||Pat Fitzgerald||Orland Park||IL||43|
|Ohio State||Urban Meyer||Toledo||OH||149|
|Penn State||James Franklin||Langhorne||PA||202|