PAUL RHOADS enters his eighth season as Pitt's defensive coordinator. After coaching the secondary each of the last seven years, Rhoads will change his positional focus this season to the Panthers' linebackers.
Under his direction, Pitt's defense has been regularly listed among the nation's leaders in various defensive categories. His track record of success led The Sporting News to name him the Big East's best defensive coordinator in its 2006 college football annual.
At the end of the 2005 season, Pitt ranked second nationally in pass defense, yielding just 152.82 yards per game, and sixth in pass efficiency defense with a 99.36 rating. The Panthers ranked 31st in overall defense, giving up 338 yards per contest.
In 2004, Pitt ranked ninth nationally with 17 interceptions. Moreover, the Panthers scored four defensive touchdowns, one shy of the school single-season mark set in 1986.
During Pitt's victorious Insight Bowl season in 2002, the unit played at its highest level since the late 1980s. The Panthers ranked among the nation's top 25 in an impressive seven different categories and allowed their fewest points in a season since 1988 despite playing in a school-record 13 games.
In 2001, the Panthers gave up just 7.4 points and 182.6 yards over a five-game winning streak heading into the Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl. The unit ranked among the nation's top 30 in five different categories at season's end. Additionally, Pitt finished with 38 quarterback sacks. It was the Panthers' highest sack total since the 1987 season.
As secondary coach, Rhoads has had four players taken in the last five NFL drafts, including Bernard "Josh" Lay (2006, New Orleans Saints), Shawntae Spencer (2004, San Francisco 49ers), Torrie Cox (2003, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Ramon Walker (2002, Houston Texans). Pitt's Darrelle Revis is expected to be among the first cornerbacks taken in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Under Rhoads' watch, Revis earned first team All-Big East for the second consecutive season in 2006. A semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, he scored three touchdowns, including two on interception returns and one on a thrilling 73-yard punt return against West Virginia. Revis is the first two-time first-team All-Big East defensive back at Pitt since Hank Poteat accomplished the feat in 1998 and 1999.
Rhoads joined the Panthers after serving the prior five seasons (1995-99) at Iowa State, where he was the secondary coach his last four years after coaching the inside linebackers in 1995. Rhoads also assisted with the Cyclones' special teams.
Prior to Iowa State, Rhoads spent three years at Pacific (1992-94), serving as the defensive backs coach and, in his final season, coordinator of the Tigers' pass defense. In 1993, Pacific ranked 20th nationally, allowing just 152 yards passing per game. Rhoads began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State (1991) and Utah State (1989-90), working with the secondary at both schools.
A 1989 graduate of Missouri Western with a bachelor's degree in economics, Rhoads was a three-year football letterman and the recipient of the Chris Faros Scholarship, honoring the program's top senior student-athlete. He later earned his master's degree from Utah State in 1991.
A native of Ankeny, Iowa, Rhoads was a prep special mention all-state free safety and valedictorian of his high school class.
Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa
Alma Mater: Missouri Western, `89
Family: Rhoads and his wife Vickie have two sons, Jacob (12) and Wyatt (10).
Utah State, 1989-90, graduate assistant.
Ohio State, 1991, graduate assistant.
Pacific, 1992-94, defensive backs; 1994, defensive pass coordinator.
Iowa State, 1995, inside linebackers; 1996-99, secondary.
Pittsburgh, 2000-present, defensive coordinator; 2000-06, secondary; 2007, linebackers.
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