Pitt loses quarterbacks coach, hires running backs coach
Pitt coach Paul Chryst has lost two top recruiters in the past week, but an equal number of quick hires will bring a combined 44 years of experience to the rebuilt staff.
The most recent departure occurred Friday when Brooks Bollinger, 34, the quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons, resigned to pursue opportunities outside of football.
A week ago, wide receivers coach Bobby Engram left to join the Baltimore Ravens.
Chryst opted for experience in identifying replacements, naming former NFL running back John Settle, 48, to coach that position at Pitt. Settle has coached at the pro and college levels since 1995.
New defensive backs coach Troy Douglas, named to the position Thursday, began his career in 1989.
Settle comes to Pitt after spending the past three seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2013) and Carolina Panthers (2011-12).
He was Wisconsin's running backs coach from 2006-10 when Chryst was the offensive coordinator. In 2008, the Badgers nearly produced three 1,000-yard rushers — James White (1,052 yards), John Clay (1,012) and Montee Ball (996).
“(Settle) truly knows (the game),” Chryst said. “He can share that knowledge of all aspects, the big picture to the little details of playing running back. He has the ability to stay current and know what it's like to be a player, as well.”
Pitt offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, who had coached running backs, will direct tight ends under the new structure.
Also, Chryst will have a special teams coach for the first time after giving the job to outside linebackers coach Chris Haering.
“An area where we have to improve is special teams,” Chryst said. “I thought we needed to devote some more resources to it.”
Bollinger, a native of Grand Forks, N.D., had made favorable impressions with several high school coaches while recruiting for Pitt.
He is moving to Minnesota where he was head coach at Hill Murray High School in 2011, but he will not return to coaching, Chryst said.
Bollinger and wife Natalie have three young children.
Bollinger was not available for comment.
“He loves the coaching part, but there is a part of him that wants to sink deep roots in a community,” Chryst said. “That's hard to do as a coach.
“He added a ton and helped us here. We appreciate that a bunch.”
Chryst will add quarterbacks coach to his list of duties — a job he performed while serving as Wisconsin's offensive coordinator — and will be aided by graduate assistant Jon Budmayr, a former quarterback for the Badgers.
Chryst said he is close to naming a wide receivers coach to replace Engram.
At that point, he will have nine full-time, on-field coaches after using only eight last year when Desmond Robinson, who was not retained, became player personnel director.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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