The beef between an Ohio perennial football power and one of the Big Ten’s most prominent programs appears, for the moment, to be squashed.
As reported by Land of 10, St. Xavier (Cincinnati) officials issued an apology in a statement on Friday and will allow Wisconsin’s football coaching staff on campus to recruit players.
“St. Xavier High School enthusiastically invites all colleges and universities to recruit our students for their academic, athletic and co-curricular programs,” the statement sent to Land of 10 reads. “We apologize to any school that has ever felt anything less than welcome on our campus or by our staff.”
The school’s officials released the statement after the Land of 10 story that detailed a rift between St. Xavier football coach Steve Specht and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst, which led Specht to bar Badgers coaches from visiting the Cincinnati private school.
“It’s not going to ever happen again, and we do apologize that it happened,” St. Xavier director of communications and marketing Becky Schulte told Land of 10. “I don’t know that there’s a way to prevent that except to say that it won’t ever happen.”
As initially reported by Land of 10, St. Xavier (Ohio) of Cincinnati star Chase Wolf recently chose the Badgers despite being unable to see Chryst outside of Madison. The reason behind the disharmonious relationship reportedly has to do with one of Specht’s players decommitting from Wisconsin late in the recruiting process over six years ago.
Since that decommitment of then-St. Xavier offensive lineman Brandyn Cook, Specht has voiced his displeasure with Chryst, who reportedly told Cook he was too small to play in Chyrst’s system and he should find somewhere else to play shortly after he was hired as Pittsburgh’s head coach. Cook went on to sign with Miami (Ohio), and Chryst has since made the move back to Wisconsin, where he had been offensive coordinator before briefly being the head coach at Pittsburgh.
A prep power across many sports, St. Xavier has won three state football championships since Specht took over the program in 2004. Wolf was a key member of the 2016 state champions. As a senior, he passed for 2,532 yards with 27 touchdowns, earning first-team All-Ohio honors and being named the Greater Catholic League South player of the year and the Southwest District offensive player of the year.
Steve Wolf, Chase’s father, told Land of 10 that he had received an apology from the high school principal, informing him that every school was welcome on campus. Steve Wolf also spoke with Specht.
“He’s fiery,” Steve Wolf told Land of 10 of Specht. “The reason why he’s such a good coach is because he’s got passion. I don’t agree with a lot of things that happened. But he was really respectful of my kid. If this would have hurt Chase’s recruiting, it would have been a different thing.
“I didn’t agree with him when it happened, but we worked around it. Less drama. We figured out the way we were going to do it and handle it. We signed our letter of commitment off campus. It worked out great. It’s over as far as I’m concerned. It was over with Chase in the beginning of recruiting.”
Wolf is a Badger, and given that Wisconsin coaches are no allowed on campus, more St. Xavier athletes could possibly follow.