Matt House promoted to defensive coordinator; John Palermo, Hank Poteat join the staff

Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Matt House has been promoted to DC, while Pitt made two other interesting additions to the staff.

Pitt's two month search for defensive coordinator is finally over. From Pitt:

Paul Chryst announced today the promotion of Matt House> to defensive coordinator and the hiring of coaching veteran John Palermo as defensive ends and linebackers coach. Chryst also announced that former Pitt defensive back Hank Poteat (1996-99), who spent a decade as a player in the National Football League, will join the staff as a graduate assistant and work with the cornerbacks.

"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's unfair to criticize this hire solely on the thrashing Pitt's defense took in the BBVA Compass Bowl while House was the interm DC. Even though their record indicated otherwise, Ole Miss was a vastly superior team to Pitt, so don't pin that one on House. It would be fair to point out that Matt House has no coordinator experience at either the college or professional level. Heck, his experience as a position coach is pretty limited too. I would have preferred someone with a little more experience to lead the defensive, particularly since the defensive staff has so little of it.

But I suppose that's the past. Paul Chryst thinks he's the guy for the job - and that's the opinion that counts - so we'll find out soon enough whether or not House is up for the job. I'm willing to give him a chance. Pitt is returning a lot of talent on a pretty good defense, so he'll certainly have the opportunity to succeed.

The Palermo hire is pretty interesting for a number of reasons. John Palermo has decades of experience, including the seemingly must-have Wisconsin/Alvarez connection. He is by far the most experienced defensive coach Pitt will have next year. He was most recently in Tennessee last year and before that had stops in Miami, Notre Dame and Minnesota.

It's the assignments that really make me wonder. Palermo will be coaching defensive ends and linebackers, which begs the question of what exactly Chris Haering and Inoke Breckterfield will be doing. House will retain safeties and Hank Poteat seems to be the de facto cornerback coach as a grad assistant. If Poteat does a reasonable job with the corners, I don't think it would be a stretch to see him hired as a full-time coach, particularly if his NFL experience helps establish him as a solid recruiter.

I would be awfully nervous if I were Breckterfield or Haering.

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