February 18, 2013

To The House

Filed under: Assistants,Chryst,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 2:55 pm

You’re doing it wrong, Pitt. You release bad news — or at least controversial news — on a Friday sometime around 5pm Eastern. Especially on a holiday weekend. You don’t do it on that Monday. And certainly not when there is a big basketball game slated for national TV and rather than have the Pitt fans fired up for the game, they are debating the long-awaited hire of a new defensive coordinator.

By now, almost everyone is aware, Pitt has promoted Matt House from secondary coach to the defensive coordinator position.

House, who will narrow his positional focus to the safeties this season, joined Chryst’s staff last year after working with the NFL’s St. Louis Rams (2009-11) and Carolina Panthers (2008). He previously held collegiate coaching posts at Michigan State, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb and Buffalo.

“I was very impressed by Matt’s work last year in the secondary,” Chryst said. “He has been a great fit for our program as a coach, recruiter and teacher of the game. His experiences and work ethic have more than prepared him for this opportunity to be a coordinator.”

It was a move that had been rumored for the past month in some form or another. House is not yet 35 and what makes this move subject to many questions is his paucity of experience. He started out at his alma mater, Michigan St., as a grad assistant for two years. Then it was two years as a “defensive assistant” at UNC. A year at Gardner-Webb. Then two years at Buffalo. Never beyond a position coach.

Before Coach Chryst hired him as the secondary coach he was working in the fringes of NFL coaching for four years. Heck, last year getting the job at Pitt to coach the secondary was reasonably considered to be his biggest break to date.

This makes the promotion to be the DC something of a shock. And definitely a bit unnerving. Coach Chryst said he interviewed at least 3 other people for the job as well as House. Naturally the names were not identified. Chryst also downplayed the length in naming a DC — especially when merely promoting from within — by saying that they really didn’t start looking at possible hires until after the BBVA Bowl.

The promotion of House ends a 64-day search for Huxtable’s successor, but Chryst said the last two months weren’t spent exclusively on finding a new defensive coordinator.

“We were going to get through the bowl game, and while we were doing that, I was going to start talking to people, but nothing really more than that. Just kind of gathering information and finding out if certain guys had interest, on the phone more than anything. There was a window after the bowl where we interviewed guys for the coordinator job, and once we did that, we finished out recruiting and while that was finishing up we started compiling a list of guys that would be good fits in the assistant role.

“I made some inquiries and talked to people, but we really wanted to give as much as we could to the bowl. I knew [Matt] was going to interview, but I didn’t want him to have to get ready to interview for a job and do the necessary work for bowl prep.

“We wanted to finish out the season the best we could. We didn’t feel like we were going to get anybody in that was going to impact recruiting anyways, so that’s why there wasn’t a strong push to try to get someone in at that time.”

Apparently Chryst isn’t real big on multi-tasking. Need to finish the bowl prep first. Then the end of recruiting. That DC thing will keep.

Honestly, the whole recruiting stuff for the class of 2013 is such a load of crap. No one was really worried about the loss of Huxtable as DC costing Pitt anyone from the class. Huxtable’s presence was neutral for recruiting. I wasn’t even concerned with its impact on the 2014 recruiting.

The issue was simply that it was taking 2 months to make a call on the hire. That the hire finally came with a little more than 2 weeks before spring practices begin. And now, that it took 2 months just to promote a guy with very limited experience to the job. And why? Because Coach Chryst was familiar and comfortable with him.

Citing familiarity, Matt House gets promoted from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator. Veteran coach John Palermo joins staff as linebackers and defensive ends coach. Former Pitt standout Hank Poteat (1996-99) on board as graduate assistant.

Just two weeks prior to the start of spring practices, Pitt head coach Paul Chryst promoted defensive backs coach Matt House to defensive coordinator. House fills the vacancy after Dave Huxtable was tabbed as N.C. State’s defensive coordinator on December 14.

Chryst said he interviewed four candidates for the job, but felt most comfortable promoting from within, despite House not having experience in a coordinator role. Chryst declined to announce who the four interviewees were, or if House was among those four or in addition to those four.

“Matt was a guy I interviewed, and he set the bar pretty high,” Chryst said. “He earned it. Matt is certainly ready for it.”

Look, every coordinator is an eventual leap of faith from a position coach. It is that House has all of four years position coach experience — and only one year at the 1-A level that makes this such a questionable thing. It isn’t like House was being widely regarded as a rising star.

The bullseye will be on House. If the defense struggles this coming year, there won’t be much slack cut the new DC. By extension, there won’t be much slack given to Chryst if the defense struggles.

Now the debate will rage. Was Pitt too cheap in what they offered for a coach? Is Chryst’s preference for guys he knows/trusts/has familiarity or some direct trust limiting his choices (or simply leading to those choices)?

I tend to think this is more about comfort than money. Especially when you see a good, experinced DC like Todd Orlando taking the Utah St. DC position. The hiring of John Palermo to coach the defensive backs and linebackers reinforces my sense that promoting House was more about Chryst hiring people he is more familiar/comfortable with than the money. It is more a matter of what Chryst likes.

Palermo is widely regarded as one of the finest defensive assistants in college football. He is a 38-year coaching veteran whose stops include 15 years at the University of Wisconsin, two seasons with the Washington Redskins and this past season with the University of Tennessee.

Palermo (pronounced pa-lair-mo) was an integral figure in helping Barry Alvarez build Wisconsin into a national power. He was the Badgers’ assistant head coach from 1991-2005 and also oversaw the defensive line (1996-2005) and outside linebackers (1991-95). Palermo coached four first-team All-Americans, four Big Ten Defensive Linemen of the Year, two Big Ten Defensive Players of the Year, and a pair of first-round draft selections in Wendell Bryant (2002) and Erasmus James (2005). In 2004 the entire starting defensive line at Wisconsin was selected in the NFL Draft.

Yes, Chryst hired another guy he knew from Wisconsin. It’s also worth noting that Palermo made his rep coaching the D-line. That is what he has been coaching since 1996. That is the position he has always coached aside from the first four years he spent at Wisconsin (1991-1995). At Pitt he is coaching outside linebackers and defensive ends. Chris Haering will focus on coaching the inside linebackers and Inoke Breckterfield will take the defensive tackles.

If I’m Inoke Breckterfield, I work really hard at pulling in some talent this year. That or I make sure Aaron Donald, K.K. Smith have monster years to show some other value. Chris Haering is likely safe with his local ties as a former coach at Mt. Lebanon.

The other hire was Hank Poteat, the former Pitt star, as a grad assistant focusing on the cornerbacks. Frankly, this one is nearly as confusing as promoting House.

While his title is “defensive graduate assistant & cornerbacks”, it seems he’s more the cornerback coach. With House the DC and safeties coach. There isn’t another defensive back coach on the staff.

Poteat would play for five NFL teams over 10 seasons and earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 2004 New England Patriots. He retired from the NFL following the 2009 season and spent the past two years as defensive backs coach at Kentucky Christian University.

A native of Harrisburg, Pa., and graduate of Harrisburg High, Poteat earned his bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Pitt.

“We’re really excited to bring Hank back home to Pitt,” Chryst said. “In addition to his experience as an NFL player, Hank has coached on the college level the past two years. His knowledge of the game and of Pitt is going to be a big asset for us.”

I’m assuming “grad assistant” is more descriptive of his pay scale.

been so busy working didn’t even hear this. way to ruin my week on the first day of it. wtf chryst

Comment by usd121 02.18.13 @ 3:04 pm

“Release the hounds!”

Comment by Oklahomeboy 02.18.13 @ 3:09 pm

This is a bad hire and speaks volumes why Pitt is not one of the big boys. No way to spin this one.

Comment by TX Panther 02.18.13 @ 3:23 pm

This hire of house is absurd.
chas said this on feb 8 if chryst chose to promote from within it would be a huge mistake it would not be based on the new dc actual ability.

wardapalooza said the new DC hire is a joke


I say it is amiateur time at pitt i thought we would be serious abought football when we went to the ACC that is not true what a joke this is.

here is my offer if pitt wins 6 games next year
and the d plays good and i dont think a 38 to 35 win is the d playing good i will come on here and say i am a jackass and chryst knew what he was doeing.

but if we win 5 or less and the d is not playing well you koolaid drinkers come on here and say chryst was a jackass that is fair.

chryst felt comfertable with house i want the best DC not one that makes you comfortable.
as EMel said this is very perplexing
and you know how i know i am right abought this it is becuse Wbb doesent think much of this hire
and he is allmost allways right.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 3:28 pm

I still suspect his target was the 49ers coach that Harbaugh blocked. Years of experience is not always the most important factor.

Comment by nw pa pitt fan 02.18.13 @ 3:30 pm

People were pissed when Jamie Dixon got the job. Lets give it some time.

Comment by alcofan 02.18.13 @ 3:35 pm

@FRANKCAN – no matter how Pitt does next season, even if they go undefeated, you don’t ever have to say you were a jackass. Regular readers on here understand your passion for Pitt.

As I’ve said before, I care less about process or resumes than I do about results. So, I will judge HCPC and his hires at the end of the season. In the meantime, he and they have my support.


Comment by Pitt Dad 02.18.13 @ 3:35 pm

I like the Palermo hiring and I have no problem with Hank Poteat. About the the hiring a young coach for defensive coordinator, we’ll have to see how he does. Hopefully Paul Chryst has seen some things about him that give the confindence to make the hire. By the way, what preciscly does being a graduate assistant mean?

Comment by Justinian 02.18.13 @ 3:38 pm

This Palermo guy will probably be holding House’s hand quite a bit this year.

I like the Poteat hire if Hank can recruit.

Pitt is reminding me of a House of Cards or the House of Usher. They all eventually fall.

Comment by TX Panther 02.18.13 @ 3:43 pm

Agree with alcofan and Pitt Dad. Wait and see men.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 02.18.13 @ 3:45 pm

Regardless of everyone thinks, the hire has been made. Let’s hope House does a good job. Age isn’t always indicative of ability. There are people who have been around a long time that are not very good. One thing I will say, Pitt has some talent on the defensive side of the ball and having talented players makes you look a lot smarter. My hope is that this turns out to be a better move than may appear.

Comment by Justinian 02.18.13 @ 3:47 pm

Now there will be four different ways in four years to backpedal.

And Palermo’s will be the best of the best.

Comment by steve1 02.18.13 @ 3:50 pm

I thought grad assistant must take some college credits and get paid for housing meals etc. again I could be totally wrong. This move may come down to having to many coaches forcing hank to be brought on as grad assistant. I’m sure someone can clear this up. Im puzzled with all these defense coaching positions right now

Comment by Why me 02.18.13 @ 3:50 pm

I repeat my post from earlier since this is the discussion where it belongs.
“Is Pitt really the place for someone to cut their teeth learning how to be a DC? Look, everyone deserves a chance, however the Pitt DC job should be more of a destination than Utah St for pity sake. If there is a high riser DC in the MAC or MWC, or whatever lower conference, then fine, but honestly, are you telling me that the best man for the DC job just happened to be sitting in a different chair at the D coaches meetings all last year.
Ugh, this doesn’t give me much comfort that PC’s learning curve is any less steep after his first year.”
This is not analogous to Dixon’s or Tomlin’s hiring. Although younger, each of these guys had more years of experience either in D1 Bball or the NFL. Tomlin was an NFL DC (and rising NFL star) for goodness sake and Dixon was a #1 Asst. for two successful D1 Bball programs over a 5-7 year period, no comparison to House at all. House has coached at Gardner-Webb and Buffalo (both historically terrible), been a strength and conditioning coach and hardly considered a rising star in anyone’s eyes except PC’s. If this works out it is pure luck or conicidence. Maybe he’s an defensive idiot savant just waiting to show how he can revolutionize D1 football. More likely, he’s a young, inexperienced, over-his-head, DC who will cost Pitt at least 1-2 games a year until he learns his trade (hopefully sooner than later). I support that PC needs the space to build his own program, but this absolutely makes no sense.

Comment by Taxing Matters 02.18.13 @ 4:10 pm

It might not make sense but it is what it is. We just have to wait and see.

Comment by Oklahomeboy 02.18.13 @ 4:19 pm

Good points Taxing Matters. I was in the process of explaining how Dixon and Tomlin weren’t similar.

I don’t get how they waited till after the bowl game (which was one of the latest) to look for a DC? If I needed a new assistant I start looking right away because you want to find a guy before he gets hired. It almost sounds like Chryst wanted House to be DC from the get go. Chryst said “I knew [Matt] was going to interview, but I didn’t want him to have to get ready to interview for a job and do the necessary work for bowl prep.” Also I love that this quote is basically Chryst admitting that he didn’t think his brand new DC could competently handle doing TWO things at once.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.18.13 @ 4:20 pm

Here is the point that EVERYBODY is overlooking:

A new DC means a new defensive system. That would be what? The fourth defensive system in four seasons. There is something to be said for continuity fellas.

It’s also obvious that Chryst brought in Palermo to play the grizzled-old-master-sergeant role to House’s freshly-minted lieutenant. Yes House will probably have some growing pains, especially in year one, but we’ve got a lot of senior leadership on that defense. Pitt will be fine.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 02.18.13 @ 4:20 pm

Well apparently the de4cision has been made. I have not seen the salary figures. Perhaps some of the “inside” bloggers have. BUT,I DOUBT It!!! Anyone who has been the HEAD HONCHO of a business, a church,etc. knows that it is a plus when one acquires someone on his/her staff with whom one is”COMFORTABLE.” Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. BUT In the meantime, as a loyal Panther I will give my support and my monetary contributions to my school, my HEAD HONCHO, AND MY TEAM. I invite oyther Pitt fans to do the same. Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 02.18.13 @ 4:22 pm

obviously Palermo was brought in to assist the new DC House. Teach him a thing or two. Palermo at his age was glad to pass on his knowledge but not want the full responsibility. I hope this works out for us. Tough schedule next year and we will probably take our lumps but I believe that Chryst knows what he is doing and is planning for the future, not a one and done assistant coach. Poteat should be a good recruiter with his resume in the NFL.

Comment by Pittpup84 02.18.13 @ 4:28 pm

While most of us are disappointed that we did not get a name guy, it does not mean it won’t work out. I did my share of hiring and firing and I can assure you there is no sure thing.

As I said before, few heard of Cowher and Tomlin before they got their opportunities.

Sometimes young and hungry guys are the ones that succeed.

For now, in Chryst I trust, otherwise continue the bitch session.

Comment by gc 02.18.13 @ 4:31 pm

Please tell me what evidence that shows that Chryst actually knows what he is doing in regards to building a staff? Chryst has never had to do any of this stuff before. This is why you shouldn’t hire an assistant to be a HC.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.18.13 @ 4:31 pm

hi, my name is Pittscript… and I’m a koolaidaholic…
Well said Pitt Dad on all fronts including supporting Frankcan’s passionate stand.

The junior day just happened so he must of liked how all the recruits and staff interacted? So to that most important constituency he must like how this staff is handling recruiting.

Hey, as I said earlier… at least this is not a CYA call where he can blame the coach retread and no one would have blinked.

His team, his staff, his call… and it seems he wants it that way.

Comment by Pittscript 02.18.13 @ 4:36 pm

Good thing the Rooneys did not follow the advice of not hiring assistants to be head coaches…

Gee, then we would never have been stuck with Noll, Cowher, or Tomlin….

Better to go with those ‘seasoned’ coaches who are out of work and looking for yet another job…

Comment by Pittscript 02.18.13 @ 4:38 pm

FRANKCAN – smug smile Steve is the jackass, no matter how this turns out. Time after time, this athletic administration has bungled coaching searches.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.18.13 @ 4:39 pm

@Wardapalooza: I am sure when Chryst was the OC at Wisconsin he had imput on who was to be helping him run the offense. Any head coach worth his weight in gold would discuss such hirings with his assistants before pulling the trigger on an assistant. Continuity among staffs is very importatnt.

Comment by Pittpup84 02.18.13 @ 4:40 pm

Don’t confuse comfort for competence.

There is a reason why big time schools pick experienced and results driven head coaches and assistant coaches, and do not allow their school to serve as a proving ground. They don’t chalk up 2-3 losses per year based on coaching inexperience. Why should Pitt settle for that then? Because we don’t consider ourselves elite or don’t desire to be. This attitude of settling for 4th best is disturbing.

Pitt also needs more non-Whisky diversity in the coaching ranks. The ACC is a different league and the tactics are different relative to the Big 10. Do these coaches know how to effectively utilize speed and counter it?

Best of luck to House. I’ll support Pitt football monetarily when they show me they can consistently win. Decisions such as these make me feel less confident.

Comment by TX Panther 02.18.13 @ 4:48 pm

Can’t wait for next year. This is going to be a wild ride. And you know what anything will be better than last year and the 3 years before. Lighten up guys!

Comment by Oklahomeboy 02.18.13 @ 4:50 pm

Gardner Webb and Buffalo as a assistant. Oh and a strength coach. This is all about money…. No one with a name would even look twice with the salary they are paying the DC. Unreal.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.18.13 @ 5:07 pm

Oy Vey,

This has to be a joke. 2 months and 2 days for someone on your own staff !! lmao

I am speechless………

Comment by EMel 02.18.13 @ 5:16 pm

The House hire is further proof we are not committed to big-time football. Don’t blame HCPC, or even Smilin Steve. The decision comes from the top: Nordy and Cochran. As much as they’ve done academically, it’s time for them to RETIRE. We need administrators serious about college athletics. HTP.

Comment by pittbluegold 02.18.13 @ 5:16 pm

With the large increase in annual revenue that Pitt is getting to move from the Big East to the ACC the failure to field a competitive team amounts to stealing from the ACC.

Comment by Houston Panther 02.18.13 @ 5:17 pm

I think I figured out the 3 other peeps who interviewed for the DC job.

1) Inoke Breckterfield
2) Chris Haering
3) Jim Hueber (i know he’s not a defensive coach, but we didn’t have anymore and PC was comfortable interviewing him)

P.S Has anyone seen the pic of House on the official Pitt site. omg
link to

Comment by EMel 02.18.13 @ 5:28 pm

Cochrane is retiring. Can’t blame him.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.18.13 @ 5:29 pm

He looks like my college roommate freshmen year in the Towers.

Comment by TX Panther 02.18.13 @ 5:32 pm

Thank God he hired this Palermo (who doesn’t know how to pronounce this, lol), it’s only the largest city in Sicily. For the entire defensive staff has like less than 5 years D1 experience …….


Comment by EMel 02.18.13 @ 5:32 pm

I was nervous when Pitt promoted Dixon he has done a great job and I hope he stays at Pitt for life, Tomlin just fired the NFL coach of the year and a guy who his QB loved. He inherited a Super Bowl team and Dick Lebeau has carried his ass, lets see where he goes from here. I don’t know how House will do but I love Pitt and hope that he and the new coaches do a great job you can only wait and see

Comment by Steve h 02.18.13 @ 5:33 pm

Well at least PC will feel assured that if he’s fired, there’s NO ONE to turn to on the staff to replace him. Meaning we would have to start ALL OVER again.

Then again…..that might be a good thing at that point.

Comment by EMel 02.18.13 @ 5:37 pm

Let’s be objective. This hire is high risk. To a large extent he will be learning on the job. He clearly does not have the background to be a DC at this time. Here’s hoping he is a
is up to the task.

Comment by JR 02.18.13 @ 5:42 pm

Steve h, not so sure that Tomlin fired the coach of the year … quite sure that decision came from above (young Art)

Comment by wbb 02.18.13 @ 5:47 pm

must admit that I was pretty incensed when I first heard of this hiring ……. but after I settled down and thought about it for a while .. I may be even more incensed!

Comment by wbb 02.18.13 @ 5:53 pm

By all accounts PC didn’t interview very well.
And we can see why, he’s not exactly a wordsmith.

It would then make sense, if he’s not a great interviewee, and he’s not comfortable with the process.

Then it would stand to reason, he wouldn’t be comfortable being the interviewer either.

And also explains why all the hires have some sort of connection to Wisconsin, or some coach of a coach he knows, like Ingram with the other Chyrst at Frisco. Tomsula was probably the target or Jackson and when that fell thru now he’s in a pinch, as most hires have been made and Spring Practice is approaching fast.

And he is just not comfortable interviewing people outside his ring of friends, relatives or anyone with Wisconsin connections.

Hope it works out.

We’ve all been hoping for the best at PITT for 30 years now, yet Pederson still has a job and we continue to hope and hope and hope.

I’m thinking I don’t want to play FSU on Labor Day nite now.

Maybe we are a Basketball school now, they surely have invested a lot more money in basketball in the last 12 years than they have in football in the last 40 years. That’s a fact ~!

Comment by EMel 02.18.13 @ 6:09 pm

geez, you guys need to relax. whatever happened to the old adage of giving someone a chance to prove themselves prior to giving up on them. we have absolutely nothing at this time to come out and say if this is a great or a bad hire; nothing, cause he has really had no opportunity to show what he can do. so give him a chance before you all go boo hooing about what a bad hire this was. we cannot base any experiences based on the last bowl game as that group of seniors have endured more than enough, enough that would make most people quit. house did a good job with the secondary, now lets see what he can do with the defensive unit as a whole; the hiring of palermo to me seems as a way to keep him under checks and balances. so lets relax, last time i looked the sky is still above us; so stop moaning and support hcpc instead of being a bunch of whiny biotches! H2P!

Comment by pittisit37 02.18.13 @ 6:13 pm

Comparing the promotion of House to the hiring of Tomlin and Dixon is like comparing my looks to Brad Pitt’s . . . Ridiculous.
I hope, pray and implore the Almighty to make him successful, but the odds are as stacked against him as they are against me getting a date with Angelina Jolie.
The next two years will determine how good or bad a decision this is and PC will have the right to crow or the misery of eating crow over it.

Comment by Taxing Matters 02.18.13 @ 6:14 pm

EMel, Talking about cities in Sicily,I DO KNOW how to pronounce Palermo. I thought it a bit odd that Chas had to show us the proper pronunciation. But then again, most people in the US think of Syracuse, as a small city in New York, rather than the great city of antiquity.

Comment by Justinian 02.18.13 @ 6:20 pm

Here in Oregon, the same was said when a coordinator fromNew Hampshire was hired to run the offense under then coach Mike Bellotti….turned out to be Chip Kelly, who everybody “knew” wasn’t cut out for the big time, except Mike Belloti. The local fans were shocked…turned out okay for the Ducks.

Bottomline, we as fans aren’t in the decision-making process, and have no idea what will happen.

Let’s give it time, and wish House all the best.

Hail to PITT!

Comment by Oregon_Panther 02.18.13 @ 6:25 pm

Wbb is incensed i am with you Wbb you are the voice of reason and if you are incensed we all should be.
it is a perplexing and absurd move.
and the AD SHOULD BE HUNG. for letting him do it.

the AD sticks his nose in at outher times and
now when he should have he dident becuse he got him cheap i forgot we are not serious abought football

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 6:27 pm

Oregon Panther the difference was kelly was a OC
HOUSE one year as a DB coach never a DC any were.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 6:33 pm

PC must be a control freak and want all yes men. Huxtable probably challenged him and the other DC hires didn’t want to kiss his ass and wanted to run there systems. There is not 1 person on this staf that sseems to have any balls to question PC. They are all thankful just to have a d1job besides engram and Rudolph.

Comment by Krf 02.18.13 @ 6:34 pm

As far as this notion of giving someone a chance.

Nothing wrong with giving someone a chance, as the other hires of Breckterfield and Haering and House were all based on the same notion,

Giving someone a chance.

However when you hire someone to be Vice-President of your company as the DC is, you usually promote someone that has put in the time and has the experience to do the job. You usually don’t WANT TO HOPE, he does a good job, you pretty much know it. Or you bring in someone from another company, with a track record of success and of ‘DOING IT’ someplace else.

Successful companies (other than startups) don’t hope, they promote people with a high percentage chance of success.

There’s another old adage.

You promote people who have paid their dues. You put people into entry level positions and give them a chance. There’s a difference.

Unless you consider PITT a startup company !

Comment by EMel 02.18.13 @ 6:38 pm


lol he got that straight from the Pitt press release. And I’m thinking Pitt had to have lifted that from some old Wisconsin news release, concerning Palermo. As I would think just about everybody in Pittsburgh would be familiar with the name Palermo. Not so much in Wisconsin.

Comment by EMel 02.18.13 @ 6:43 pm

Well said Oregon panther! We would love to know how things work behind close doors but we don’t! Like Jim mora once said ” you think you know but you really don’t know.” Another classic quote by mora. But the point is that we would’ve all liked austin or Orlando but something went wrong. Was it money or interest? I agree that pitt needs to pay more to step it up with the acc, but this happens in football all the time. My prediction, the d has a good year and all of us will come on here and say how they thought it was a good hire and promoting from within can work and blah blah. I trust our coaches who are in the building and whose livelihood depends on these decisions. Now in a couple years if it is not working out, someone should step up with some extra money and get a big time coach. This is his big chance so we know he will work extra hard that is for sure. I like that he is young and a good recruiter. Similar to Paul Rhoads maybe? Hail to pitt boys! Lets try and think of the positives, too much negativity. It kills ya, house is the coach, lets get on board!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 02.18.13 @ 6:56 pm

EVERY time i think we are on the right track
every time i think we will be a major football
program again they do something like this to
screw things up i wish i dident care so much

this just makes me want to scream WTF WTF
they just allways let us down.
why do we care we must be nuts it never changes

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 6:59 pm

Frankcan, I thought about you all day today after I heard the announcement. Could not agree more with you. As for giving someone a chance, what the hell kind of program are we to let a newbie do his apprenticeship with our players in live games. This reeds of Stevie P.and going on the cheap.

I will find out the real story and I will post it here by weeks end.

I am NOT Happy..

Comment by Dan 72 02.18.13 @ 7:26 pm

Dan 72 yes do that i cant wait most think this is a bad hire on panther prey also,
JOE D is on that site and riping this house hire apart.
dan 72 i want to be fair but this hire seams so
ridiculous it seams a promotion given with out

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 7:53 pm

when was the last time you saw a 7 footer do what Adams just did! WOW

Comment by Pittpup84 02.18.13 @ 8:16 pm

cardiac hill says i would be awfully nervous if i were breckterfield or haering i would put house in there if the D stinks next year also.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 8:18 pm

this has nothing to do with pitt or sports
but le vent de lamort
it means the wind of death
the death wind was a man do any of you know who he was.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 9:43 pm

Chryst obviously did not get his first choice and probably not his send either. House may or may not be good, but it is almost certain his first year as DC will not be his best. At least I hope not.
And there is the rub: we don’t get the pretty girl, we get the one with braces and the gangly legs. Could she be a beauty queen? Sure. But we will have to go thru adolescence with her to find out.
And this is why Pitt has yet to establish a program. Because we have no method in place and always, I mean ALWAYS react instead of dictating terms. When someone else controls the question, they also control the answer.
Want to know why Pitt football always underachiever, why breaks never seem to go our way? It’s because we don’t control the process: it controls us and are forever playing catch up.
SP isn’t capable of understanding it and Nordenberg won’t have someone more popular than himself employed at Pitt. Hence the expression “same old Pitt”. How sad. How true.

Comment by SFPitt 02.18.13 @ 9:58 pm

I hear you…but just like today, Duck fans felt how could U of O hire a I-AA coach, especially one with no west coast experience. It goes to show we fans really don’t know as much as we think we do.

On the other hand, you had the well-experienced Monte Kiffin at USC with prior to the 2012 season, a great D, and the number one team. It didn’t fare well for Monte…..and happy for him he did land as Dallas’s new DC.

I have no idea how the interviews went, if it was a case of dollars, or perhaps House best reflects PC and what he wants and needs to build a successful program.

I wasn’t involved in the selection process, so anything is pure speculation on our parts.

House is our new DC, and all we can do now is support him.

Hail to PITT!

Comment by Oregon_Panther 02.18.13 @ 10:14 pm

I going to bed i have had enough.
for thoes that care the death wind was lewis
wetzel a character in 3 zane grey books
my dad told me abought him when i was a kid
i read the books i thought he was just a
character in the books i just found today
he was a real man.

who knew truth is stranger then fiction.
why am i posting this i dont know just tired
of this house DC thing i guess good night all.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.18.13 @ 10:20 pm

A parent of a Pitt recruit posted this on Panther’s Prey – he makes some good point to the negativity and lack of support of Pitt Fans…

As the father of a highly coveted Pitt recruit, and a long time Panther fan I am taking a wait and see approach. I really like PC and his staff. They are different than many of the other staffs we have had contact with. It is my belief that House was his choice from the get-go. I think he looked around for someone who matched their coaching persona/philosophy and when he found no-one, hired House. This could turn out to be a good hire. You can bash it all you want. If you are a Pitt fan you will support the hire and hope that the stadium starts filling up. My kid would have committed to Pitt a long time ago but, he is not happy with the game-day atmosphere.

You Pitt fans need to stop complaining and start showing up on Saturdays. If you don’t, more top recruits will continue to leave the area. If you can’t keep the kids in your own backyard, how do you expect to bring in top kids from across the country?

Comment by markp 02.18.13 @ 10:39 pm

Here here mark but guess what every school in America has fans like Pitt and some are worse. Way worse! You don’t think bama posters don’t say negative things? Most are crazy armchair fans who never played sports. Some really know what they are talking about and have played high levels is sports. But I do agree that fans need to show up and I guess we will find out this year! If they don’t come for Fsu and Notre dame and Miami then I don’t know the answer. I also agree that we should at least let this hire play out before everyone jumps off the cathedral! I mean guys, why make yourself sick at night over a def. coord.? Especially all that we have been through lately with coaches. This is nothing! I will be at my one or two games since I live in Virginia and I will root for them no matter what! Why? Cause we are pitt and that’s what we do!!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 02.18.13 @ 10:58 pm

“If you can’t keep the kids in your own backyard, how do you expect to bring in top kids from across the country?”

Ummm… we don’t.

Comment by thestumper 02.18.13 @ 11:18 pm

IMO. ….it’s going to take us years, if not a decade to recover from the blunder of firing DW.

Say what you will about him, but he had innumerable coaching contacts around both college football and the NFL. He would have NEVER hired somebody with 1 year experience as a secondary coach in something as important as Defensive Coordinator.

The fact that Stevie Cornhole signed off on this, shows how little importance they put in making PITT a viable football program. And yet this jackass continues as AD, expecting to blindly fill Heinz Field like its Creepy Valley.

Unbelievable !!!

Comment by EMel 02.19.13 @ 2:36 am

Do Stevie Cornhole and Nordy share Shabbat together ?

Comment by EMel 02.19.13 @ 2:41 am

Blunder of firing DW…..seriously? His hire was the blunder. Perfect example of hiring the experienced guy and it not working out. Lighten up people.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.19.13 @ 4:41 am

markp u getit, look at these ,look at the same names the same responses,we in cent. pa try to make game day exp. the best we can to long adrive not to.unfortunately these are our fans, protect our house, cochran retiring is not good.

Comment by paul shannon 02.19.13 @ 7:36 am

I don’t know enough about the details surrounding the hire and what Coach Chryst was considering, but he is the Head Coach, CEO, of this Program. His future depends on his personnel decisions and his staff’s performance. I for one respect him and will support his decision by re-upping on my season tickets, contributing and doing the annual pilgrimages to Heinz Field. Hail to PITT!

Comment by barreman 02.19.13 @ 8:03 am

I’m going to try to be optimistic. I’m going to believe that PC saw something in House during the year that made him think this guys has the goods to be a DC. When I think youth I think innovation, hopefully it pans out. I would also put the kibosh on starting out with FSU.

Comment by Pittastic 02.19.13 @ 9:16 am


Comment by Dr. Tom 02.19.13 @ 9:42 am

I heard House on 93.7 the Fan this morning.


I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe Knute Rockne, but I didn’t get a “high energy” vibe.

Seemed compatible with the Chryst shoulder shrug style. Unfair I know, from a radio interview.

Hope he does well. My hopes aren’t exactly through the roof – I’m a Pitt fan, after all.

Comment by BATR 02.19.13 @ 9:50 am

Jim Tressel was never a coordinator when he got his first Head Coaching job. Also, just about every NFL coach started as quality control. What does that say about those guys?

Comment by Bones 02.19.13 @ 9:55 am

Here’s my take. What if House sucks like we think he will? What does PC do? Fire one of his “friends”? Let him ride and get fired himself?? This is one of the biggest fears I have. The relationship factor often gets in the way and causes problems when changes need to be made.
Being a Pitt fan is so taxing.

Comment by JJ 02.19.13 @ 10:00 am

dokish from panther prey said the reason pitt football is the way it is.
is becuse the fans and you brothers dont
demand more from the AD or coachs we just go along with every thing.
he say eveything isthere to be a national power
except the desire of the university.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.19.13 @ 10:05 am

RESULTS are the only things that matter. I don’t care if the new DC is so young and inexperienced that he still has a nooki habit to break. It is all about what he can bring to the table and produce for this team’s defensive success

I’m giving Chryst all the slack that he needs, FOR NOW, regarding this in house hire.(pun intended) Now come January 2014 after the statistics for the season are all tallied up and in the record books, then that initial slack has produced plenty of rope for Chryst to hang himself with, if things don’t turn out so good by season’s end. Then that is when I start bitchin and moanin about this hire. A lot of you guys are just getting a preseason head start on me. Hopefully you’ll all feel differently by season’s end, if Pitt puts out a good defense this first season in the ACC. It will be a difficult task, a real up hill battle, considering the big step up in competition in the ACC but then again, we have a solid crew of nine defensive veterens returning for duty. So we will see what we will see.

And as I always say,,,,, that is why they play the games!

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.19.13 @ 10:12 am

On the surface it’s an absolute head scratcher and great blog fodder but I have to give HCPC the benefit of the doubt. He has been given the latitude to do what he wants to turn this program around in a big way. I’d prefer to go high risk…high reward vs. being a middling program that never does anything special for the rest of my life. HCPC gives me hope. As a fan, that’s all I can ask. I’d suggest we all nut up and go all-in with this guy because it’s a lot more fun than being miserable in my book. The ACC is ours and I’m looking forward to the future. HTP!

Comment by FG 02.19.13 @ 10:18 am

Oh…one more thing. As to Dokish telling me that the reason we are middling is because we blindly accept it is BS. The guy has a blog…it doesn’t give him a right to label me or any other Pitt fan. I couldn’t give too ships what he thinks about me and my acceptance of this hire. He has very little inside knowledge of our University and Athletic Dept. The University gives plenty of support within the rules and in a prudent fashion….the chips have just not fallen our way. It happens that way for the vast majority of quality institutions of higher learning. He has opinion just like everyone else….just because he has a blog does not make him an expert and he’s far from it.

Comment by FG 02.19.13 @ 10:30 am

but his back ground says he is more of a expert
then you and i.
and the part that rings true is the university
does not seam to desire to be big time in

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.19.13 @ 10:39 am

How many coaches in our recent history have made Pitt look like fools? How many coaches has Pitt made to look like fools? We are far from a great place to “cut your coaching” teeth. Hopefully PC can change that. Outside of our “Pitt Is It!” world, what is really the view of Pitt’s AD in the real world? Most of these coaches don’t remember the 70’s and ’80s. We Reap What We Sow – (to SP). House is now our new DC. It’s time to stop eating our young, because until Pitt has some success, we’re not going to be “reproducing”.

Football needs to become a bigger deal with bigger focus. We need to generate some “postives” for the program. We have to play the cards we’re dealt, today, but, that doesn’t mean we (Pitt) can’t become the dealers.

Comment by CompLit 02.19.13 @ 10:57 am

FRANKCAN: No insult intended,BUt are you this negative about EVERYTHING IN LIFE or just about the UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH. If you are, I;m sorry and would respectfully suggest you seek another venue for your lisure time activities. What you write often has much sense, but it seems to brand you as a MALCONTENT!! You should move o Columbus where the gridiron euphoria is always at fever pitch, even in the midst of a tatoo scandal and the threat of even more probationary action. Relax, Mr. FRANKCAN and let the Pitt football fortunes play out. I would advize you not to purchase Panther season tickets in the forseeable future. Best to you! Rev. George from central Ohio.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 02.19.13 @ 11:59 am

FRANKCAN, with all due respect, maybe you feel that his background makes him more of an expert than you but do not speak for me. He’s a regular fan from Robinson Township that blogs about Pitt and does some research accordingly. That’s about it unless I missed his Wiki somehow. I and many others on here have been following Pitt from far closer for many more years than that cat but if you want to put him on a pedestal to support your opinions that’s cool.

As for the University desiring not to be in big time college football….again, this is a highly subjective comment. Last I looked Pitt has been in big time college football for a long long time and isn’t showing signs of backing away. If you feel the hiring of a DC coordinator without your preferred pedigree is evidence of a lack of commitment to big time college football you’re not seeing the forest for the trees.

Comment by FG 02.19.13 @ 12:22 pm

Guys, Please, the sky is not falling. We will have a good idea in a couple of years if the Chryst system is working–coach hiring, recruiting, offensive and defensive systems, teaching, coaching (all of it including game day), player off the field behavior, academic performance and most of all progress in the W-L statistics. A minority of us are optimistic, not due to drinking kool aide (we did that with FG, remember, PC isn’t even selling any) but because it is apparent that Coach Chryst has an approach and a plan and is following through. We simply do not have even close to enough experience with his results to be able to effectively evaluate. Relax and enjoy the ride. That might even encourage a few potential recruits and a few more butts in the seats. Ya never know! H.T.P.!

Comment by OPFIM 02.19.13 @ 1:46 pm

House is a good young talent. Hell do fine. I like the willingness by Chryst to recognize an up and coming talent who players will respond to.

Comment by Orlando Truit 02.19.13 @ 2:02 pm

Seems like both Werner (no surprise) and DiPaola are drinking the kool-aid. I like House’s philosophies, our defense sucked a$$ against the spread last year. The only question is whether or not he can pull it off. I’ll bet that he can.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 02.19.13 @ 3:00 pm

A Second to Dr. Tom, OPFIM and others who are looking at this more optimistically.

Wow, you would think someone just blew up the Cathedral of Learning or something.

I waant Oooooorlaaandooooo!

cut me a F#$% break.

The dude Chryst is our head coach, entering his second year. It is his call and now we will see if he is a coach or schmuck…

Where is the reaction of, “hey the guy must know something we don’t”… let’s go kick some ass in Spring ball and see what this is all about?

Instead its…. Oh, I waant Oooooorlaandoooo…

I am glad he is making his decisions without any “cover my ass I want a paycheck” moves most HC make in college football.

Picking House shows this guy will make the tough decision… yes that’s right… the tough call.

He picked the man he thought will advance his program building the best.. knowing he would take heat for it… as this here exemplifies.

but no… oooohhhh, I waant Ooooorlaaandoooo…..

cut me a F$#% break. coaching retreads are just that… guys out of work looking for jobs with egos to be head coaches or at the ‘top’ programs… such people are not loyal and will not help build a NEW program back to dominance… it is all about them and their ego/pay check.

Chryst picked a guy he watched for a year and measured the man… Chryst is not an idiot and knows this hire is HIS.

If he was a greasy typical head coach he would have pick…

Oooooorlaaaandooo, and then said a bunch of bullshit about how great the guy was… then if the D. puked and things didn’t work out he could have pleaded ‘inexperience’ but hey who would have thought that such a

Pitt ties
all around perfect, manly, … big time… super duper DC could have failed.

As I said yesterday and no one has refuted it…

Steelers, Rooneys,…. Noll, Cowher and Tomlin… ALL fit the same scenario… Tomlin was a DC for one year and then HC to a ‘destination’ job with a great franchise…

oh,… but I waaant Ooooooorlaaandoooo.

F%$# Orlando and all of the other guys who were out of work.

House is the man
Pitt is my team
Chryst is my HC so screw people talking anti-Pitt bullshit.

and when the defense is kicking ass next year and putting a forearm in the mouth of ACC pussies with “speed”…. remember to step up and talk shit then.

Hail Pitt… for real.

Comment by Pittscript 02.19.13 @ 3:08 pm

Thanks Pittscript for having my back. I know that you don’t want to harm anyone’s feelings by presenting a contary point of view, however can you give me your straight, honest opinion on how you really feel about the DC hire without all the sugar coating??? LMFAO after reading your last post above, HILARIOUS!

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.19.13 @ 3:40 pm

Dr. Tom sorry to ‘go off’ and definitely was not directing that in any person’s particular direction… just the mentality.

You however are always the voice of reason sir!

Comment by Pittscript 02.19.13 @ 4:01 pm

Script, Dr.Tom – I’m with you, remember when HCPC was critized for the lack of recruiting offers – we couldn’t recruit…well he can – and he can coach and pick assistant coaches (Rudolph made the top 25 recruiters)- the man knows what he wants and he’ll get Pitt there!

Comment by markp 02.19.13 @ 4:15 pm

we will see next year as i said if we win 6 games i will come on here and say i was the jack ass and if we dont you will, i made this offer before.

but you all kill me chas said this was a bad hire dokish said it was a bad hire
wardapalooza said it was a joke
dan said it looks bad
even Wbb said it pissed him off
iron duke did not like it
EMel did not like it
cardic hill before it was made final did not want it
tex panther thought it was a bad move
but becuse i think dokish makes a lot of sence
i am the bad man
i can take fire all your guns at me
but can you really say this is who you would have hired if it was up to you if you do you lie

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.19.13 @ 6:38 pm


Comment by Pittscript 02.19.13 @ 7:06 pm

FRANKCAN you are not a jackass. I definitely respect your passion and love reading your stuff.

The point is Chryst is the HC of my team and he made the call so I back him… and one big reason is it is only his second season.

Comment by Pittscript 02.19.13 @ 7:09 pm

I’m with FRANKCAN. I’m not generally a negative person but this hiring looks like the best coach that very little money could buy.

Comment by apostles03 02.19.13 @ 8:04 pm

Just read money was not an issue. Chryst did contact Austin and Tomsula. Neither were interested in job. Sounds like House is a workaholic like Chryst. House will also run 4-3 and 3-4. Just like Chryst, he wants to put his best defensive players in position to make plays. That’s at least see what the guy does in spring ball before we hang ourselves.

Comment by Why me 02.19.13 @ 8:42 pm

They fact that he contacted Austin, Tomsula, the previous NC State coach shows he tried to put a seasoned person in place…rather than upset the chemistry of the staff and the team – he decided to use the best person on his staff…makes sense if you’ve even built an organization or built a team (I’ve done both many times). HTP and H to HCPC.

Comment by markp 02.19.13 @ 9:16 pm

Pittscript, Thanks for the affirmation. Your post is an absolute hoot. Sometimes the smart humor on this blog is just wonderful. You, Dr. Tom, markp, myself and a few others are either flinty eyed realistic optimists or simply wacko. What the hell, it’s a great ride. FRANCAN, I too love your passion for Pitt. You are on! Pitt will win 6 games or more this year. The year after will be even better. In fact Pitt will win at least 7 games in 2014! If they don’t I will post on here what an Idiot and a Jackass I am! Hold me to it in case my brain can’t outrun my age and I forget. H.T.P.!

Comment by OPFIM 02.19.13 @ 10:52 pm

I want Chryst to be the one. I love basketball and all, but you can’t beat football. Especially after that ND game, I need a break from heartache.

Comment by Benzene 02.19.13 @ 11:23 pm

FRANKCAN, please don’t set your jackass bar so low. If Pitt wins six games, can we agree that you’ll just be a nitwit instead? Seven wins, then you can earn your jackass award. Eight or more Pitt wins then you’ll acquire the title of Most High Pessimistic Pitt Prognosticator! OK?

Just pulling your chain my friend! Keep sharing your passion about all things Pitt athletics, its always interesting to hear other points of view. In the end we’re all saying the same thing, Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.20.13 @ 7:44 am

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