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  John Palermo
John Palermo

Player Profile
Position:
Defensive Ends

08/15/2013

Football Training Camp: What They're Saying: August 15

Panthers and Florida State to kick off 2013 campaign in just 18 days

08/07/2013

Pitt Football Training Camp: What They're Saying

Day two of camp complete

02/18/2013

Paul Chryst Announces Coaching Staff Appointments

The second-year Pitt coach announced three new assignments.

Widely regarded as one of the finest defensive assistants in college football, John Palermo enters his second season on the Pitt staff. With a coaching résumé that spans 40 years, Palermo has an impressive track record of producing All-Americans, Pro Bowlers and top NFL Draft selections.

Palermo's Pitt appointment reunited him with Coach Paul Chryst. The pair previously worked together while serving under Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin. Palermo will coach the Panthers' defensive ends in 2014.

Palermo was an integral figure in Wisconsin's rise to national stature. He was the Badgers' assistant head coach from 1991-2005 and also oversaw the defensive line (1996-2005) and outside linebackers (1991-95). Palermo coached four first-team All-Americans, four Big Ten Defensive Linemen of the Year and two Big Ten Defensive Players of the Year. He tutored a pair of first-round draft selections in Wendell Bryant (2002) and Erasmus James (2005). Incredibly in 2004, the Badgers' entire starting defensive line was selected in the NFL Draft.

Those punishing defenders helped Wisconsin capture three Big Ten titles (1993, 1998 and 1999) and three Rose Bowl victories during Palermo's tenure.

Prior to his arrival at Pitt, Palermo was the defensive line coach at the University of Tennessee (2012) and Middle Tennessee State University (2010-11). While at MTSU, he coached end Jamari Lattimore, the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, who now is with the Green Bay Packers.

His ability to produce future pros led to Palermo joining the NFL ranks for two seasons (2008-09) as the Washington Redskins' defensive line coach. During that time he worked with Brian Orakpo, who was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in a dual role as a defensive end and linebacker. The Redskins ranked fourth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game in 2008 and 10th in that category in 2009. Washington was sixth in the NFL in scoring defense in 2008.

Palermo's career has also been highlighted by two seasons at Notre Dame under Lou Holtz (1988-89). During his tenure in South Bend, he coached defensive lineman Chris Zorich, a two-time consensus All-American and the 1990 winner of the prestigious Lombardi Award. In 1988 the Irish claimed the national title with a 12-0 record, including a 34-21 Fiesta Bowl rout of West Virginia.

Palermo departed Notre Dame to serve as head coach at Austin Peay State University in 1990. That appointment returned him to the place where he received his first full-time coaching position as APSU's defensive line coach in 1979.

His other coaching stops include Tennessee Tech (2007), the University of Miami (2006), the University of Minnesota (1984-87), Appalachian State (1983) and Memphis State (1980-82). He began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at NC State in 1977 and 1978.

A native of Newburgh, N.Y., Palermo is a 1974 graduate of Florida State and was a two-year football letterman for the Seminoles. Prior to FSU, he attended Wesley College in Dover, Del., and lettered in 1970 and '71. Palermo was inducted into Wesley's Hall of Fame in 2001.

He and his wife Donna have two children: son Jason, who coaches offensive line at Austin Peay, and daughter Jessica, who is the associate director of championships at the Big Ten Conference.

PERSONAL INFORMATION
BORN March 27, 1952
HOMETOWN Newburgh, N.Y.
ALMA MATER Florida State, 1974
FAMILY Palermo and his wife Donna have two children, Jason and Jessica.

COLLEGE COACHING EXPERIENCE
NC STATE, 1977-78 Graduate Assistant
AUSTIN PEAY, 1979 Defensive Line and Strength and Conditioning
MEMPHIS STATE, 1980-82 Defensive Line
APPALACHAIN STATE, 1983 Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line
MINNESOTA, 1984-87 Defensive Line
NOTRE DAME, 1988-89 Defensive Line
AUSTIN PEAY, 1990 Head Coach
WISCONSIN, 1991-2005 1991-2005, Asst. Head Coach; 1991-1995, Outside Linebackers; 1996-2005, Defensive Line
MIAMI (FLA.), 2006 Defensive Line
TENNESSEE TECH, 2007 Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line
MIDDLE TENNESSEE, 2010-11 Defensive Line
TENNESSEE, 2012 Defensive Line
PITTSBURGH, 2013-Present Defensive Ends

PROFESSIONAL COACHING EXPERIENCE
WASHINGTON REDSKINS, 2008-09 Defensive Line

HIGH SCHOOL COACHING EXPERIENCE
BAINBRIDGE (Ga.), 1974-76 Assistant Coach