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February 18, 2013Pitt will promote from within for its new defensive coordinator, as head coach Paul Chryst announced on Monday that defensive backs coach Matt House will be elevated to the coordinator position.
Chryst also announced that veteran coach John Palermo will join the Pitt coaching staff to work with the defensive ends and linebackers.
House replaces Dave Huxtable, who left Pitt to be the defensive coordinator at North Carolina State. Huxtable was formally announced at N.C. State on December 14; Pitt's search for a new coordinator lasted 64 days.
House joined Pitt's staff last December when Chryst was hired as head coach, and he served as interim defensive coordinator for the Panthers' 38-17 loss to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl in January. 2012 was his eighth season as a college coach, and he also spent time at Michigan State, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb, and Buffalo.
After coaching defensive backs and serving as recruiting coordinator at Buffalo, House spent four years in the NFL, first as special teams assistant and strength and conditioning assistant with the Carolina Panthers in 2008, and then as a defensive quality control coach with the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.
In 2012, House oversaw the development of K'Waun Williams and Lafayette Pitts, arguably the best cornerback tandem in the Big East this past season, and Pitt's pass defense ranked No. 20 nationally after allowing less than 200 yards per game.
House was also active on the recruiting trail, serving as Pitt's primary recruiter in Michigan, where he landed Grand Blanc defensive end Luke Maclean and had the Panthers in strong position for several other BCS-level prospects. House was also a secondary recruiter for Pitt's defensive backs targets, and he worked extensively on prospect in Ohio.
Palermo comes to Pitt after spending a year at Tennessee as defensive line coach. A veteran of coaching for more than 30 years, Palermo, 60, has ties to Chryst through Wisconsin, where Palermo was on Barry Alvarez's staff from 1991-2005. He has coached at Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame, and Minnesota, and he was the head coach at Austin Peay in 1990. Palermo was also defensive line coach for the Washington Redskins for two years (2008-09) and he coached the defensive line at Middle Tennessee from 2010-11 before joining Derek Dooley's staff at Tennessee.
Palermo brings experience and a veteran presence to a young defensive coaching staff.