- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst has promoted Matt House to defensive coordinator and hired John Palermo as defensive ends and linebackers coach, the school announced on Monday. Former Pitt defensive back Hank Poteat (1996-99), who spent a decade as a player in the NFL, will join the staff as a graduate assistant and work with the cornerbacks.
From the release:
House oversaw a secondary last year that helped Pitt boast the nation’s No. 17 defense in fewest yards allowed (330.54 yards/game). The Panthers also owned lofty NCAA rankings in pass defense (20th, 194.15 yards/game), pass efficiency defense (21st, 113.12 rating) and interceptions (26th, 15 total).
Individually, free safety Jason Hendricks was named All-Big East after leading the league and ranking sixth nationally in interceptions (0.46 per game). Hendricks’ six INTs were the most by a Pitt player since 2000. House’s starting cornerback tandem of K’Waun Williams (four interceptions) and Lafayette Pitts (one INT and a team-high nine pass breakups) emerged as one of the Big East’s best in 2012.
All three of those defensive backs -- and nine total defensive starters -- are back for the Panthers’ inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013.
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.”
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.
You can find the full release here.