UPDATE (1:20): Pitt made the announcement along with a RB Coach. Details at the bottom.
No word yet from Pitt on this hardly kept secret, but Brooks Bollinger says it has has happened.
“I think it was an extremely difficult decision for me, but also a great opportunity,” Bollinger said today. “I am excited for the opportunity at Pitt. Also, it is so hard to leave Hill-Murray. It was a special place to me while I was there. They are great people and is a great place. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been there.”
So there’s that. And it seems that Chryst really wanted Bollinger on the staff.
Reliable source told me Bollinger was offered the job by Chryst in December but turned it down. This time, Chryst upped the offer.
Take that for what it’s worth, but I really hope that isn’t true. That Chryst had to up the offer to “lure” Bollinger from a high school job he’s been doing for one year.
I’ve already made my point of discomfort with the move. Not for any personal reason against Bollinger, but because of his minimal experience and that Coach Chryst is limiting his pool of hires to Wisconsin guys or family connections.
For all I know, Bollinger may be a savant as a coach and recruiter. And a counterpoint is that while he will be the QB coach, Chryst will probably be very hands-on in coaching the QBs.
Still, at some point there aren’t going to be people available to hire that he knew from Wisconsin. It’s okay. They won’t hurt you.
UPDATE: Pitt put out a press release announcing the hiring of Bollinger as QB Coach and the hiring of a RB Coach.
Desmond Robinson is the new RB Coach:
Robinson’s appointment with the Panthers marks a return to his alma mater, where he was a linebacker and defensive end (1974-77) on some of the finest teams in Pitt history. Playing under John Majors and Jackie Sherrill, he was a member of three squads that finished in the nation’s Top 20, including the 1976 team that went 12-0 and was unanimously selected as national champions.
Robinson rejoins Pitt with nearly 30 years of coaching experience on the collegiate, prep and professional levels. He began his collegiate coaching career as a part-time assistant at Pitt under Sherrill in 1981, helping the Panthers to an 11-1 mark and No. 2 national ranking. Robinson would go on to coaching posts at Notre Dame, West Virginia, Syracuse, Tulane, Dartmouth and Connecticut. He also coached on the professional level with NFL Europe.
His standout pupils at running back include West Virginia’s Amos Zereoue, a 1,000-yard rusher and the Big East’s Rookie of the Year in 1996; Notre Dame’s Autry Denson, who became the Irish’s all-time leading rusher with 4,318 yards; and Syracuse’s Damien Rhodes, one of the Orange’s top 10 all-time rushers.
Robinson and Chryst previously worked together during the 1989 and ’90 seasons as assistants under Don Nehlen at West Virginia.
Of course there’s a direct tie to Coach Chryst.
The press release also includes mention of hiring Dann Kabala as player personnel director. Hey, it looks like no direct connections to Chryst or his family. At least on first read.
Kabala, a Pittsburgh native and graduate of Fox Chapel High School, spent the past four years at the University of Arkansas, serving the Razorbacks’ football program in the areas of on-campus recruiting, eligibility coordination and academic support. His efforts helped Arkansas lure three consecutive top 25 recruiting classes from 2010-12.
Kabala previously worked with Pitt football as a graduate assistant from 2005-07. His additional experience includes time as an operations assistant with his alma mater Indiana University (Bloomington) and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Dann returns to Pitt with outstanding administrative experience that will strengthen our program in so many important areas,” Chryst said. “His ties to Pitt and Western Pennsylvania will definitely help him hit the ground running as we get ready to start spring drills.”
That’s good Coach Chryst. Take those baby steps.