February 27, 2012

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.

Whatever it takes Hail To Pitt

Comment by 63Team 02.27.12 @ 1:02 pm

I know people are nervous about Bollinger but could this guy be any worse than Todd Dodge. Dodge drove the North Texas program into the ground and even though he was a high school coaching legend in the great state of Texas, he worked no miracles with Sir Tino and Squire Trey.

Comment by AJ 02.27.12 @ 1:03 pm

Bollinger will be worth his weight in gold if he tells PC to forget about Tino as a QB.

Comment by Pittastic 02.27.12 @ 1:05 pm

Let’s hope Bollinger can get the big lefty to reach his potential, and thereby nullify the Tino problem.

Comment by CJK 02.27.12 @ 1:35 pm

anyone know if the new RB coach, Desmond Robinson, has a rep as a good recruiter??

Comment by scott 02.27.12 @ 2:14 pm

Eureeka!!! I am exuberant over the acquisition of Bollinger, Robinson and Kabala to the Panther grid staff. I also commend Pitt and especially Coach Chryst for the PROFESSIONAL Manner in which this was done and the thinking that went into the hiring. What a contrast to the last head coach and his muppets. I recall Bollinger as a polished, skillful signal caller for the Badgers. I have kept in touch with Johnny Majors over the years even when I served a congregation in the Jacksonville area, John, indeed, brought a MAJOR CHANGE in Pitt football. We all know the zeal and winning atmosphere of the Razorbacke, especially over these last few years and Kabala was a part of that. My confidence in the Chryst hire has been restored. I will now watch with renewed interest, the Panther future, BUT THE PROGNOSIS IS PROMISING. Congratulations all around and,fellow Bloggers, HAIL TO PITT!! Rev. George in Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 02.27.12 @ 2:39 pm

Why is everyone so down on Bollinger? If he turns into the next Major Applewhite we should be thrilled

Comment by Tony C 02.27.12 @ 2:43 pm

If he makes Chryst all the more comfortable, all the better.

I assumed that most coaching hires will probably hire people they have, or have had ties too???


I get that he has hired a lot of Wisky people, and we’d like some more south and mid-atlantic guys, but, really, i’d be a little more worried if he didn’t bring anyone from Wisky, or Wisky ties with him.

Comment by Dan 02.27.12 @ 4:15 pm

Great photo of a young Dan Marino from an SI photo shoot. Blue and mustard, anyone?

link to

Comment by Scott 78 02.27.12 @ 4:27 pm

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, Don’t tell me that Pitt pulled a Graham with Bollinger, paying a lot more money to someone who never wanted to be here.
Please say it ain’t so.

Comment by Gas 02.27.12 @ 4:53 pm

During the past three months of the coaching carousel there has been quite a large amount of sniping against who has been hired. It is very understandable that many have felt very uneasy about Pitt’s football coaching staff, especially after the Fraud Graham fiasco…it is now time to turn the page.

Let’s give Coach Chryst our full support and wish him success and that extends to all of his new assistants. The glass is half full//or the glass is half empty…it’s time to take the glass and offer a toast to a great future of winning football in the ACC.

Comment by isnore 02.27.12 @ 4:54 pm

I would rather have him hire guys from a winning program in Wisconsin than Pitt.

Comment by Tony C 02.27.12 @ 4:58 pm

Money can’t buy you love.

Comment by TX Panther 02.27.12 @ 5:07 pm

“Money can’t buy you love.”

Penni Graham’s words prior to her next move
to Sam Houston State University

Comment by isnore 02.27.12 @ 5:16 pm

For Chryst sake, wait until someone jumps offside or makes a mental mistake before calling him out for a staff hire!
Whoever the hell the last 2 QB coaches have been are getting off unscathed…you folks talk lime Bollinger was some scrub on a crappy team–a guy who wouldn’t know which end of the football to hold. HE PLAYED THE GAME–IN THE RECENT PAST and he played it well in the Big Ten.
From what I saw of him as a player ( and he was on often), he overachieved. That is precisely the kind of guy I want to coach!

Comment by SFPitt 02.27.12 @ 6:37 pm

What I think is good about Chryst’s decisions is that he has a lot of confidence in his hires. In other words he has been through the trenches w/ these guys. Last I checked, he has been successful at all his stops, that means they have been also.

Comment by Bones 02.27.12 @ 7:14 pm

Graham will be on wife #4 by the time ASU shoves him out the door, which should be in about 22 months or so.

Comment by Gas 02.27.12 @ 7:14 pm

I don’t know about #4, I think Penny knows a good paycheck, err I mean man

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 02.27.12 @ 8:11 pm

BOLLINGER 4 years as a wisconsin QB 6 tears as a
pro QB that is all good there is no down side
to him.
thoes that dont like him as a QB coach are nuts
who would be better.
he has every thing i want in a QB coach .

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.27.12 @ 8:47 pm

Yes Frank!!! And, how are ya???

Hey, if one of the coaches doesn’t work out, then you make a change, in a year or two.

We haven’t even had spring ball season 1 yet!!!!

Comment by Dan 02.27.12 @ 9:22 pm

Penni will stand by her man.

Now that the coaches are all here, let’s just offer. I still don’t know what that means. Bama can offer. Pitt needs to sell but I don’t think the sell job has to be all high octane and that. If Pitt begins winning and brings some excitement in the way it does win, recruits will come. Excitement doesn’t have to be a spread and no huddle. Just win the games you’re supposed to win and get a big upset from time to time.

And Pitt needs to stop ruining the tailgate experience. When is that schedule coming out by the way?

Hopefully Shell and Robinson click.

Comment by TX Panther 02.27.12 @ 9:27 pm

Finally a PITT man is added to the staff. And a PITT man with tons of experience AND played during the most recent Glory years period. This was a really good hire by PC, glad the first boob went back to Wisky. See some things are meant to be.
This is one of those things.


Comment by Emel 02.28.12 @ 12:53 am

We all know PC is going to be the OC and the QB coach, Bollinger will get his cues from PC and that’s another good thing. Now if they could just somehow get Sir Tino to transfer to Tennessee or somewhere far, far away from PITT. I heard San Francisco Community College needs a QB.

Comment by Emel 02.28.12 @ 12:57 am

Forgot up top

Welcome back to PITT, Desmond Robinson.
Now we can break out the real uni’s of PITT football. The ones recent NFL Hall of Famers, Curtis Martin & Chris Doleman wore well, tearing up other teams at PITT. Bring back the Mustard Gold & Old Blue and of course The Script !

In honor of those great players who wore them proudly at PITT.

Comment by Emel 02.28.12 @ 1:01 am

Somehow PITT fans look down their nose at Bollinger and point to Dodge not getting Sunseri to produce as a major problem but give Frank Cignetti a pass for Sunseri’s first year.

We can point to Bill Stull and say that he is a Cignetti ‘success’ but in reality Stull’s leap in production was the more liberal playcalling inside the opponent’s 35 yard line than his arch-conservative predecessor Cavanaugh. Which I suppose is knowing your QB’s strengths.

Stull already had the physical tools. The key this year is if Sunseri’s physical tools can finally be good enough to succeed.

Really, after the last two QB coaches we had in ’10 and ’11 we have to realize something – either they both couldn’t get the job done or they just had nothing to work with.

IMO Bollinger starts off with a pass on Sunseri should he be named the starting QB, I’m just not sure after watching Sunseri flounder for the past two years that there is enough clay to mold to make a sculpture there. I’m more concerned about what Bollinger can do to prepare Myers and Voytik for the future… and possibly this year should Chryst roll the dice.

As to Robinson as the RB coach,his main draw in recruiting will be the 1976 National Championship ring on his finger.

Comment by Reed 02.28.12 @ 6:20 am

“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.”

Really? This is ‘reported’ by whom? Some guy who is a stringer in the Midwest with a Twitter account. I have a Twitter account that I used for one day three years ago. Maybe I should dust that off, Tweet silly ass stuff with no sourcing and then I’ll be nationwide also.

I think this ranks right up there with the reports that DW was going to hire Walt Harris as the QB coach a few years back.

Comment by Reed 02.28.12 @ 6:27 am

Bollinger makes perfect sense as the pick for QB Coach.

Chryst knows that he and Bollinger will be on the same page. Seems like that would be kind of important.

Saw Bollinger play a lot in Wisconsin.

Athletic, smart, gutsy… most importantly a leader.

Maybe it was those leadership characteristics that made it a difficult decision to leave his position as Head Coach after just one year?

Comment by PittofDreams 02.28.12 @ 7:13 am

???? Anthony Standifer ????

As far as I know he has made the rounds again visiting, Pitt, Vandy and Ole Miss.

We are well past LOI Day, so what’s happening?

Comment by isnore 02.28.12 @ 9:29 am

May be standifer just likes free food and some place to sleep on the week ends.
just jokeing i have no idea what he waiting for.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.28.12 @ 12:33 pm

I could care less about standifer at this point. Seems a little bit too much of a premadonna/attention whore with all his “suspenseful” signing. Just announce already and we can all move on. Speaking of moving on are we ever going to stop mentioning penni? she did us a favor so lets thank her for taking out our trash and focus on the road ahead with chryst

Comment by pittisit37 02.28.12 @ 1:13 pm

Penni and Fraud should be mentioned from time to time to remind the Pitt Administation to do due dilligence when hiring coaches. Penni and Fraud are a symbol of negligence on the part of Smiling Stevie Pedersen.

Comment by isnore 02.28.12 @ 1:30 pm

Off Topic:

Pitt signed Chris Jones a 6ft 5″ shooting guard from Teaneck NJ. He will be part of the class of 2012.


Comment by isnore 02.28.12 @ 1:33 pm

Any rumors about who the two new opponents will be for the 2012 FB schedule?

Comment by markp 02.28.12 @ 1:53 pm

I saw something showing Gardner -Webb is rumored but hope it is not true or may have to sue the BE for a crappy product

link to

Comment by giveitarest 02.28.12 @ 2:35 pm

Maybe Bollinger is reluctant to leave the High School because that “is his dream job”.

Don’t count out the lure of the “Dream Job”! Just ask Fraud and Randy Edsall about it.

Comment by Chuck Morris 02.28.12 @ 4:29 pm

Wow, I knew it was gonna be bad (not blaming anyone, situation we’re in), but Gardner-Webb and Temple?????? jeeeesh!!!

@markp, my Temple reference, is that Temple is in talks to join the BE. That would be our other game if that happens.

Comment by Dan 02.28.12 @ 4:52 pm

Dan – thanks – It will not be an attractive schedule – but fans will need to come out and support them (it will have a positive impact on recruiting) prior to joining the ACC.

Comment by markp 02.28.12 @ 5:17 pm

You’re absolutely right Mark. Should be fun to watch the new coaches develop (hopefully). Plus we have Va. Tech and ND on the road.

Comment by Dan 02.28.12 @ 5:32 pm

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