Over the weekend while rumors percolated that House was looking more and more likely to be promoted to the DC postion; I noted on twitter that it seemed to be the sort of move that feeds the perception that Coach Paul Chryst only wanted to hire/work with other coaches that he knew on a personal level.
That assumption was challenged. Actually, it was disputed with the claim that “several Pitt coaches” never worked with Chryst. So, I wanted to be fair. Maybe it was merely my own mistaken perception. Maybe the whole Wisconsin in Pittsburgh meme got carried too far and created a false reality. I figured it was time to review the coaching staff and find see what reality says.
First, let’s review the Paul Chryst bio/timeline:
1985-88 — Player, University of Wisconsin
1989-90 — West Virginia, graduate assistant
1991-92 — San Antonio Riders (World League of American Football), wide receivers, running backs, tight ends
1993 — UW-Platteville, offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
1994 — Ottawa Rough Riders (CFL), quarterbacks
1995 — Illinois State, offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
1996 — Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL), offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
1997-98 — Oregon State, offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
1999-01 — San Diego Chargers (NFL), tight ends
2002 — Wisconsin, tight ends
2003-04 — Oregon State, offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
2005 — Wisconsin, co-offensive coordinator & tight ends
2006-11 — Wisconsin, offensive coordinator & quarterbacks
Somewhat related is there are four people who matter immensely to Chryst as far as coaching. Barry Alvarez: his coach at Wisconsin and also hired him in 2002 and 2005 as an assistant. Mike Riley: first hired him in 1991 when Riley was HC of San Antonio (WLAF). Hired him when he took over at Oregon State and took him with him to San Diego (NFL); Chryst even named his dog Riley. George Chryst: father and coach at Wisconsin-Platteville in 80s and 90s. Geep Chryst: older brother. Coached at Platteville in 1987, then Wisconsin in 1988-89, was the OC at San Diego (NFL) for two years and Paul’s boss.
Coaches that Chryst initially had on his staff included Dave Huxtable and Brian Bostad. Both came from Wisconsin with him when he took the Pitt job.
Now, what about the rest of the staff?
Worked with Chryst as a fellow coach:
Joe Rudolph, OC — Wisconsin, 2008-11 (tight ends coach)
Jim Hueber, O-Line — Wisconsin, 2002 and 2005 (OL coach)
Desmond Robinson, RBs — WVU, 1989-90 (D-line coach)
Jim Palermo, D-Line/LBs — Wisconsin, 2002 and 2005 (DL coach)
Played at a school while Chryst coached at that school:
Brooks Bollinger, QB — Wisconsin, 2002 (QB)
Chris Haering, linebackers — WVU, 1989-90 (LB)
Inoke Breckterfield, D-line — Oregon St., 1997-98 (DE); Also a GA at Oregon State in 2007-08 under Mike Riley
One Degree of Chryst (worked with Geep Chryst — Paul’s brother):
Matt House, DC — Carolina Panthers (NFL), 2008 (special teams assistant & strength and conditioning assistant).
Bobby Engram, WR — San Francisco 49ers (NFL), 2011 (offensive assistant)
One Other Degree of Chryst (tied to George Chryst — Paul’s father along with Geep):
Todd Rice, Strength & Conditioning — Graduated from Wisconsin-Plattville in 1987
[Note, that Rice may have intersected with Paul and Geep at Wisconsin in 1988, but it is unclear. His bio indicates he spent 1988-1993 working in strength and conditioning programs at Ball St., Wisconsin, Illinois and the 49ers, but does not specify particular years.]
Added Bonus. The Graduate Assistants.
Spencer Whipple is the son of Mark Whipple, but does not appear to have any direct ties to Chryst. It is fascinating to find a journeyman college QB (started at Pitt, transferred to UMass, then to Miami).
Nor does Hank Poteat.
Experience/Inexperience on the Staff
It does create an interesting situation with the experience/inexperience on the staff.
Hueber, Robinson and Palmero all have 30 years or more of coaching experience as position coaches
Breckterfield, Bollinger, Engram have less than five years coaching experience.
Chris Haering is inexperienced as a college coach but does have more than fifteen years as head coach in high school.
House and Rudolph have less than ten years coaching experience.
If you want to be on Chryst’s coaching staff, either he needs to know you personally or he has to get an immediate family recommendation.