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April 14, 2014

It seems assistant basketball coach Barry Rohrssen has been the rumored target to replace Orlando Antigua on John Calipari’s Kentucky bench. Granted it has been a slow week-long rumble, but everyone is presuming it will happen (and thank you KSR comment kids for demonstrating that Kentucky fans have little basketball knowledge outside their own team).

For Rohrssen it is almost a no-brainer. Kentucky is a blue-blood job with huge exposure. No, John Calipari assistants haven’t had the greatest success rates, but they get opportunities. Rohrssen obviously wants another crack at being a head coach. His odds increase being on a staff like Kentucky  This may shock some, but the money may have very little to do with it.

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February 20, 2014

Okay, I’m trying  to be back. It’s been a rough few weeks in the offline world, and a lot of the crap has been coming to a head this week. That’s why I’ve been largely silent this entire week. Hopefully I’ll get things back in order soon.

I know there’s a lot of stuff to cover. Right now, I’ll just discuss my feelings on the changes in position coaches.

To recap. Brooks Bollinger resigned from his position as QB Coach at Pitt. He is not taking a job elsewhere in D-1, but has decided to pursue a lifestyle that lets him actually spend time with his family.

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February 14, 2014

Interesting.

The move to hire Troy Douglas as Defensive Backs Coach was made official. But with it, a little bit of adjusting to the coaching duties.

Chryst also streamlined positional assignments for Pitt’s defensive staff. In addition to coordinating the defense, Matt House will work with the linebackers. Chris Haering will coach the outside linebackers and serve as special teams coordinator. On the defensive line, Inoke Breckterfield will continue to coach the tackles and John Palermo will focus on the ends.

Chryst additionally announced that Desmond Robinson, who served as player personnel director this past season, will not be returning to Pitt’s staff.

Question. When did “streamline” become popular verbiage in football circles? Living in the Cleveland area I couldn’t help but absorb the Browns-Jimmy Haslam stuff this week. Haslam kept emphasizing the front office being streamlined. There was one position eliminated (CEO spot held by Joe Banner). Two people fired, but only one position eliminated.

Now Pitt has “streamlined” essentially be completing the phase out of Desmond Robinson. Otherwise, I’m not seeing “streamlined.”

Sorry, bit of a tangent but this was bothering me.

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February 11, 2014

Since everyone is working from essentially the same news and reports, here’s what we have

Pitt’s most obvious opening is to replace Bobby Engram at the WR Coach spot. Yet, the first breaking news was that Pitt has made a play to bring Troy Douglas from Iowa State to be the Defensive Backs Coach.

Iowa State secondary coach Troy Douglas has been offered a spot on the Pittsburgh staff, but Douglas has not decided if he’ll take the position yet, according to a source.

Coachingsearch.com reported that Douglas will join the Panthers’ staff on Wednesday.

Douglas spent the last three seasons with the Cyclones. He previously worked with ISU defensive coordinator Wally Burnham at South Florida from 2006-08.

But now, Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com is tweeting that as of this morning it is a done deal.

Douglas coached DBs in the ACC for a couple years while at North Carolina. He appears to be a solid recruiter and a good DB coach. Considering the spot was essentially coached last year by a graduate assistant (love you Hank Poteat, but you should not have been put in that position) this looks to be a very good move.

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February 7, 2014

The other side of the coin on signing day is that within days afterwards you see assistant and especially position coaches fired or move on to another job. Those that stay through signing day are the ones that have key relationships with recruits and the head coach doesn’t want to have anything change at the last minute.

But after signing day…

Rumors about WR Coach Bobby Engram swirled on signing day. That he was one of three candidates for the WR Coach with the Baltimore Ravens. Naturally Head Coach Paul Chryst claimed not to know anything about it when asked at the signing day press conference. The question had to be asked, even if the non-denial was fully expected.

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January 8, 2014

The Unqualified Hire

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 10:00 pm

It is permissible to like Paul Chryst as a coach at Pitt and still hate hiring decisions. That is the state I find myself once again this offseason.

Ross Kolodziej, who played seven years in the National Football League following a distinguished collegiate career at Wisconsin, has been named head football strength and conditioning coach at Pitt, it was announced by Coach Paul Chryst today.

Kolodziej (pronounced ka-la-gee) was promoted to the post after serving the Panthers as an assistant strength and conditioning coach this past season.

I said it on Monday that this would be a bad hire, based purely on his resume.

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January 6, 2014

Okay. You may be ready to panic and scream if you saw this:

KolodziejS&C

CoachingSearch.com doesn’t do permalinks, so it is in their ticker for today.

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January 1, 2014

New Changes In Happy Valley

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 11:46 pm

Yes, we all know that Bill O’Brien has left Penn State after two years.

Yes, this was a devastating piece on some of the things behind his departure by David Jones. Penn State has a particularly virulent,  nasty and visible group that has been able to gain extra influence. At the same time there is no major (and most minor ones) college program that doesn’t have a batshit crazy wing of fans/boosters. It’s really only a question of how much noise and influence they have.

Those are Penn State’s problems. How they deal or ignore their problems are something about which I don’t care to waste my time.

As a Pitt fan my concern is purely about self-interest.

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December 20, 2013

And no, this has nothing to do with Fraud Graham.

Pitt has shed it’s strength and conditioning coach.

Strength and conditioning coach Todd Rice has resigned from his position, a Pitt spokesman confirmed tonight. Rice spent the last two years as Pitt’s head strength and conditioning coach, and previously held the same title at N.C. State, Boston College and Cal.

Pitt did not provide a reason for the resignation, and said that it will hire a full-time replacement some time after Jan. 1.

Most of the reviews I heard from current and former players about Rice were not necessarily glowing, and Pitt dealt with a spate of back injuries (usually, though not always, indicative of a conditioning issue) along the offensive line. Left guard Cory King and left tackle Adam Bisnowaty both missed multiple games with back injuries this season.

Not glowing reviews. That may be putting it mildly considering the first source that put out word that Rice was out.

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September 21, 2013

Quick Thoughts: Duke game

Filed under: General Stupidity,Hire/Fire — Justin @ 3:47 pm

This one was ugly; like Wannstedt’s mustache full of fish sammich ugly. I don’t know if I have the stomach to watch the defense and give you guys a review. If you really, really want it (post in comments what your opinion is) I’ll do it, but only because you guys are the best. I say that earnestly, not sarcastically. Here are a few quick thoughts. (more…)

May 3, 2013

The rumors of Barry Rohrssen’s return have been swirling for a couple of weeks. To be honest, it has been hard to separate fact from wishful thinking that has been put out there. But it seems that Jamie Dixon is indeed bringing back Slice.

Sources confirmed Thursday night that Barry “Slice” Rohrssen will rejoin Dixon’s staff as an assistant coach, replacing Pat Sandle, an original member of Dixon’s staff who spent the past decade with the program.

That detail is surprising. Sandle first started with Pitt in 1999 under Ben Howland. The LA native left for a couple years to be an assistant at UCLA under Lavin. Of course, Lavin was fired by UCLA who hired Howland and Sandle was not retained. And when Dixon became the Pitt head coach, he hired Sandle.

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March 25, 2013

In the recruiting game, sometimes it doesn’t pay to wait for late offers and sometimes it does. For Jon Severe, it worked out well. The shooting guard from Christ the King didn’t have a lot of offers at first. A 3-star recruit, had offers initially from middling A-10 programs like Rhode Island, GW and Fordham. He didn’t commit and saw his stock rise, including being named New York’s Mr. Basketball. He now has offers from Pitt, WVU, K-State, Creighton. No surprise Pitt and WVU are now after him considering both struggled with being able to score consistently this past year. He is a shooter and willing to drive.

He gets to the rim north to south as well as east to west with a quick first step and good economy of motion. He runs hard in transition, has dexterity putting the ball on the floor and finishing, and actually prefers to drive left. Severe is also a capable shot maker off the catch or the dribble with terrific shot preparation for a youngster.

As you would expect defense and consistency are the issues for him. He’s a bit on the small side for a shooting or wing guard at 6-2 — which was the primary reason he didn’t attract a lot of high-major interest. It’s not clear when he will make a decision. The number of offers swelled, so he appears to be re-evaluating everything.

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March 24, 2013

Sorry. I have been trying to get healthy and pull double shifts the last week or so. Somehow the two don’t work well together. I was working on a post-mortem post on the Wichita State game yesterday when the news of Dixon’s extension started seeping.

That kind of changed things a bit.

So let’s work from this point. Jamie Dixon is not going anywhere.

Stating that he intends to “finish his career at the University of Pittsburgh,” Pitt men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon reinforced that commitment today when he signed a 10-year contractual agreement that runs through the 2022-23 season.

Dixon owns the highest winning percentage in school history (.753) with a 262-86 record from 2003-13. He has led the Panthers to nine NCAA Tournaments in 10 seasons, the most NCAA appearances by a Pitt coach.

“Pitt and Pittsburgh are home,” Dixon said. “My family and I feel blessed to be part of such a great institution and wonderful city. It is the people who truly make a place special. I could not be surrounded by better players, staff and administration. These aren’t just people I work for and with every day. They’re friends and I’m very thankful for that. I would like to express special appreciation to our leadership team of Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Athletic Director Steve Pederson and Executive Vice Chancellor Jerry Cochran. Their guidance and friendship have been invaluable. I greatly appreciate the faith and support they have always shown me since my arrival at Pitt.”

I know there is a vocal minority that feels like Dixon should be gone; along with a very frustrated group after the Wichita State flop ready to say good-bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out to USC.

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March 13, 2013

I’ve tried to ignore it since midseason, because it is rather silly. Still, the storyline is getting a little more play so I guess it’s time to write a bit about the idea that Coach Jamie Dixon would take the USC job.

Is it possible?

Well, sure, most things are possible. But it isn’t very probable.

Last week. Last week — mind you — Jeff Goodman at CBS Sports wrote about USC talking to Syracuse’s coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins. In writing up the potential of Hopkins, Goodman noted who the guy USC AD Pat Haden had at the top of his list.

The hip pick is Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon returning to the West Coast (that’s where he’s from). The 47-year-old Dixon is set to go to his ninth NCAA tournament in 10 seasons since taking over for Howland. It could happen, but Dixon has had other opportunities to leave — including one before Kevin O’Neill took the USC job three years ago — and has spurned them all. The USC program is in a better place now, and Pittsburgh is headed into a stacked ACC, so it makes more sense for him to head west now than it did a few years back. However, the question becomes his buyout and whether he’d actually pull the trigger when the time comes to make a decision.

Dixon, from what I’m told, sits atop Haden’s list.

The themes are all hit. Heading to a new conference. The ACC is stacked. He’s from the west coast. USC isn’t quite the dumpster fire it was three years ago. The one thing it doesn’t try to claim: that Dixon wants to take the USC job.

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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.

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