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Wisconsin ties could play into Barry Alvarez's pick

Does the next Wisconsin coach need to be in Barry ­Alvarez’s vein?

Alvarez, the former Wisconsin coach turned Badgers athletic director, is known to have a dominant personality. That’s putting it lightly, by the way. Whomever Alvarez hires to replace Gary Andersen, who left Wisconsin to take the coaching job at Oregon State, will have to embrace the unusual circumstance of having an athletic director who is hands-on when it comes to the football program.

As such, these candidates all have ties to Alvarez, making them strong possibilities:

Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh

Alvarez is looking for head-coaching experience, which Chryst has after leaving as Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator in 2012 to take the top job at Pitt. He has built the Panthers to play the “Wisconsin way.” That might just as well be the “Alvarez way,” the physical brand of ball that has made Wisconsin so successful.

Chryst was born in Madison and spent eight years in two stints as an assistant with the Badgers. Late Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Chryst was poised to return as head coach.

Dave Doeren, N.C. State

Chicago college-football fans should know Doeren, who took the baton from Jerry Kill in 2011 at Northern Illinois and continued the program’s tradition of MAC dominance as the team’s coach. The Huskies were conference champs in both his seasons in DeKalb, and he led them to a berth in the Orange Bowl in 2012. He didn’t coach the team in the bowl, however, beginning his job at North Carolina State instead.

Doeren led the Wolfpack to a 7-5 record after going 3-9 in 2013. Before his stop in DeKalb, Doeren spent six seasons as an assistant at Wisconsin. In the first two, he shared the title of co-defensive coordinator, then had exclusive reign over the defense in his last four seasons.

If Alvarez elects to go with a defensive-oriented coach, as he did with Andersen, Doeren would be a leading candidate.

Pat Narduzzi, Michigan St.

Dark horse? Maybe. But the Spartans’ defensive coordinator is a known commodity, having won the Broyles Award (nation’s top assistant) in 2013. Michigan State’s defenses have been among the country’s best during his tenure, which might sway Alvarez from only considering those with head-coaching experience.