There’s some historic beef going on between one of Ohio’s strongest high school football programs and a team that has spent two-straight seasons in a New Year’s Six bowl game, and it’s reached a level where one is now signing athletes from the other without being allowed to visit them on campus.
As reported by Land of 10, Wisconsin’s newest quarterback signee, St. Xavier (Ohio) of Cincinnati star Chase Wolf, chose the Badgers despite being unable to see Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst outside of Madison. The reason behind that apparently has everything to do with a player who was forced to abandon his Wisconsin commitment more than six years ago.
Since the late decommitment of then-St. Xavier offensive lineman Brandyn Cook, St. Xavier coach Steve Specht has aligned himself squarely opposite Chyrst, who 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 of Ohio, and Chyrst has since made the move back to Wisconsin (he was the Badgers offensive coordinator before taking the head coach role at Pittsburgh). Specht, meanwhile, hasn’t forgotten the apparent snub from the former Pittsburgh coach and isn’t willing to let Chyrst or other Wisconsin coaches on campus at St. Xavier … until Chyrst himself calls to offer a personal apology.
As for Chyrst, he reportedly was completely forthright when first recruiting Wolf, explaining the school’s past and still recruiting him on the merit of the program.
“We told them exactly what it was and then if you want to keep going, this is the way we’ve got to do it,” Chryst told Land of 10. “We just said, ‘We’re not here to make it hard on the kid.’ So we didn’t go [to St. Xavier] in the fall evaluation and didn’t want to create any drama for him. … Knowing the family, I think there was some dialogue. If that’s what they want, then we’re going to honor that. But if the kid wants to be recruited by us, then we’re going to recruit him.
“In the end, it’s choices. And if his choice is about that, then that’s what it is. There’s no one better with people and in schools than Joe Rudolph. And I know the history, and I know what we did along the way. So you just try to make the best of it. And you really didn’t want Chase to be in the middle of it. That was the thing that became more foremost in my mind when going through the whole process.”
Chyrst insists that he did call to apologize to Sprecht shortly after he took the Wisconsin position.
“I haven’t spoken to any of those coaches,” Specht told Land of 10. “That’s why Chase’s commitment is so strange. Coach and I had a little falling out when he was the head coach at Pitt. Let’s just say some things happened with an old player of mine. He and I still have not spoken. I have not spoken to anyone from Wisconsin. Currently, they are not allowed into St. Xavier High School until Coach Chryst calls me and helps make this right.
“I don’t have anything against the university. I’ve sent kids to play there. But Coach Chryst and I, he needs to make some things right with me. And he’s never done that because of something that happened at Pitt.”