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February 20, 2013

Chryst Only Knows

Filed under: Assistants,Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 8:36 am

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 RidersĀ (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.

Both Nate Tice and Mickey Turner played their college football at Wisconsin while Chryst was the OC. Both on the offensive side.

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.

I have to admit that I’ve been haunted by that ND game (it seems like forever ago, but only 2 days). It WAS embarrassing, but I still support Dixon and this team. We can turn it around and make that run into the tourney.

Comment by panther94 02.21.13 @ 12:08 am

@Warda…Pitt is not UNC and I don’t mean that in a negative way. We may jump at the chance to go to the B1G, but the ACC is their conference.

Comment by panther94 02.21.13 @ 12:10 am

I can see UNC being conflicted about leaving the ACC, but why should UVA or GT care? If you are aiming for perpetual mediocrity, why not make an assload of money doing it.

Comment by Chris 02.21.13 @ 12:22 am

I will always support PITT teams, be they coached by Dave Hart (3 wins in 3 years), Carl Depasqua (13-29), Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill, Foge Fazio, Mike Gottfried, Paul Hackett, Walt Harris, Dave Wannstedt, Todd Graham, Paul Chryst or the ghost of Pop Warner.

But I really don’t need some snot nosed kid or somebody from the AD’s office telling us we’re too too negative. Awwwwwwww…we are sorry we hurt your little feelings.

Grow a pair, live a couple more decades…..and then come back ..and we can talk. Capice

Comment by EMel 02.21.13 @ 12:25 am

EMel and outhers you do know we had a chance
to go to the sec they were looking at us real hard
when they took there last 2 schools had we said
we would come they would have taken us.

also big 12 wanted us before they took WVU.

i wonder if we should have went to one of them
if we could go back in time.

the reason that i bring this up is i wanted pitt to be some were safe and now the ACC SEAMS LIKE THE BIG EAST OF 10 YEARS AGO

if we could only see the future would we have went to the ACC?

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.21.13 @ 1:04 am

FWIW, the handful of Tar Heel fans I know would much rather go to the SEC. Of course, they are football-first guys, and are mortified at the thought of trips to Iowa City or West Lafayette.

The other interesting thing is how this strategy of the B1G running after more money through large tv markets will play out once the classic cable model of selling expensive, all-encompassing packages starts to dissolve.

No one gives a crap about Maryland football, for example, not even the B1G. All they care about is the Balt-Wash tv market. If you can no longer sell the B1G package easily to most of that market, what does that do to the business model?

Comment by BATR 02.21.13 @ 7:02 am

Wardapalooza, don’t quite understand your double standard statement about Dixon and Chryst.

First off, Jamie has definitely earned leeway after his 1st 8 years where Pitt was right in the thick of the BE race every year.
Chryst, while showing promise, hasn’t earned much yet, but of course, the jury should deliberate for another year or so. Further, Chryst was praised profusely on this site for the recent recruit class, which in reality, was mostly 2 and 3 stars. And like him, this class shows promise … but that’s about it.

Comment by wbb 02.21.13 @ 7:46 am

wbb, I’m with you. My double standard comment was that Chryst gets praised a bunch with little actual results so far, while Dixon wins every single year and gets crushed at times. I’m not saying Dixon is above criticism because sometimes he coaches poorly like all the ND games. But when you say he should be replaced because he has hit his ceiling that is going too far. Making the tournment every single year and being a contender for the national title every couple years is an increadibly high ceiling that nearly every other program in the country would take in a second. And spare me the replace Jamie Dixon with Sean Miller talk. Jamie Dixon wins more than Sean Miller, just look at their records.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.21.13 @ 8:43 am

The bar at Pitt is so low. House? Chryst will be gone in two years as he will below .500 and the circus will start again. He is a atrocious In game coach. Lost 2 games on his own last year.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.21.13 @ 9:11 am

There is only one person on this site that keeps up the Miller Time reference, and most of us are starting to ignore it …. not only because Jaimie has earned our respect but also that Miller will not leave what he has built up at Arizona.

Look how badly Pitt has been burned the past 2 years by firing a successful FB coach, barring total colapse, the only ways Dixon leaves are by resignation or retirement.

Comment by wbb 02.21.13 @ 9:27 am

At least you guys that like the Steelers don’t have the double football curse that I do. I still have nightmares from the YSU and BGSU losses of the past couple years. All I want from HCPC is an 8 win season… and I have no faith.

My Buffalo Bills ownership team is just as inept or even more than Stevie P. and Nordy. Doug Marrone as an NFL head coach? Wanny as DC last year?

Oh the humanity, I should collect stamps rather than following these trainwrecks. We better beat Villanova this year haha.

Comment by AJ 02.21.13 @ 9:39 am

The B10 needs to move into the growing southeast markets now to keep the cable money flowing before a la carte TV becomes reality.

Pitt winning will offset this stuff.

Comment by Frank MD 02.21.13 @ 9:47 am

EMEL – hope you are well – as your elder (you played against Montana) I played with Rosborough –
I don’t have an issue with what you say – but will challenge you when I think you are being cynical as well as wrong! Pitt football is on the upswing, thanks to HCPC and it will take a few more years to get to being a top 25 team. Anyone that dooesn’t recognize that as a fact – will be in for some tough times and has unrealistic expectations. Just think if DW were still the coach – Gary Nova would be next years QB and we’d be complaining about the 6-7 record last year.

Comment by markp 02.21.13 @ 12:03 pm

I just don’t see any facts to the back up we are on a upswing? Ole Miss could have scored 60 on us and they are a bottom feeder in SEC with a first year HC.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.21.13 @ 12:13 pm

Upittball – the fact that we got to a bowl game was a good sign, considering what went on the previous two years! We’ve got some solid transfers, a better than average recruiting class coming in , stability with coaching staff (minus Hux), excitement amongst the 2014 potentials, and I get the sense PC is here for the long haul. It is going to take 2-3 years to show the type of results we all would like to experience again!

Comment by markp 02.21.13 @ 1:03 pm

Markp – I just don’t see energy, passion out there. My other fear is the (In Game) coaching isn’t very good from Chryst. I hope he improves big time this year…If not we may not get to .500. I hope you are right.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.21.13 @ 1:13 pm

hhhmmmm……I think Joe D is back under a different name.

Comment by pghFred 02.21.13 @ 1:18 pm

well, I’m not Joe D but seconds the motion that he has to improve his gametime decision making. I’m still scartching my head about decisions he made before halftimes in the Cincy, Louisville, ND and UConn games.

Comment by wbb 02.21.13 @ 3:08 pm

wbb – I’m not referring to you. I’ve seen you around here for quite a while.

There’s some new names I don’t recognize. **However, I would expect a LOT of folks don’t recognize me either since I don’t post much outside of FB season. I do like Bball, but I’m just not that knowledgeable about it so I just read and try to learn something.

There just seems to be MORE negativity than before. One reason could be that the Smizik PG blog recently converted to Facebook commenting, so some are moving to other blogs.

Comment by pghFred 02.21.13 @ 3:54 pm

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