Feb. 14, 2014
PITTSBURGH—John Settle, a former NFL running back who has 20 years of experience coaching in the college and pro ranks, has been named running backs coach at Pitt by Paul Chryst.
Settle spent the past three years coaching running backs in the NFL, including this past season with the Cleveland Browns. He served in that same capacity with the Carolina Panthers in 2011 and ’12.
“John Settle has a tremendous football background as both a player and coach,” Chryst said. “He knows what it takes to be an outstanding running back. His track record brings immediate credibility from a coaching and recruiting standpoint. We are fortunate and excited to bring his talents to Pitt.”
Chryst additionally announced that Brooks Bollinger, the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach the past two seasons, has resigned to pursue non-coaching opportunities. Chryst, a renowned mentor of quarterbacks, will now have direct oversight of that position at Pitt.
“Brooks did a tremendous job for us the past two seasons and our program is better for his contributions,” Chryst said. “He is interested in some professional pursuits away from football and I know everyone at Pitt wishes him only the very best.”
Settle, a native of Reidsville, N.C., was part of some milestone rushing attacks while on the Carolina Panthers’ coaching staff.
In 2012, Carolina ranked ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (130.5 avg.) as DeAngelo Williams (741) and Cam Newton (737) each rushed for more than 700 yards for the second consecutive season. Carolina made NFL history in 2011, becoming the first team to feature three 700-yard rushers. Williams (836), Jonathan Stewart (761) and Newton (706) each reached the mark, helping the Panthers average a franchise-record 5.4 yards per carry.
Prior to Carolina, Settle spent five seasons as running backs coach at the University of Wisconsin (2006-10), where he teamed with Chryst — then the Badgers’ offensive coordinator — to produce one of the country’s most prolific rushing attacks. Settle coached three players who combined for six 1,000-yard rushing seasons: P.J. Hill (three 1,000-yard campaigns), John Clay (two) and James White (one).
In 2010, Wisconsin nearly became the first team in FBS history to have three different players rush for at least 1,000 yards in the same season. White (1,052 yards), Clay (1,012) and Montee Ball (996) spearheaded the attack as Wisconsin set a Big Ten record with 48 rushing touchdowns.
Prior to Wisconsin, Settle coached running backs at Fresno State (1998-2005), overseeing the development of six different backs who achieved 1,000-yard seasons. He broke into the coaching ranks at his alma mater, Appalachian State, coaching the Mountaineers’ running backs in 1994. He also served as an offensive assistant and special teams quality control coach with the Browns (1995) and Baltimore Ravens (1996-97).
As a collegian at Appalachian State, Settle rushed for a school-record 4,409 yards and 43 touchdowns from 1983-86. His senior year, he compiled 1,661 rushing yards with 20 TDs and was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year. Appalachian State retired his No. 23 jersey in 1994.
Settle was a teammate of new Pitt secondary coach Troy Douglas at Appalachian State. Pitt defensive ends coach John Palermo was assistant head coach at ASU in 1983, when Settle and Douglas were freshmen for the Mountaineers.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to be reunited with Coach Chryst and join a program like Pitt,” Settle said. “I believe in what Coach Chryst is doing at Pitt on and off the field. I’m already familiar with a lot of the coaching staff. I know there are some great young men in the program and I can’t wait to start working with them.”
Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons in 1987, Settle would play six NFL seasons (1987-90 with Atlanta and 1991-92 with the Washington Redskins). He was named to the 1988 Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,024 yards, becoming the first undrafted player since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to reach that rushing milestone. Settle was also a member of the Redskins’ Super Bowl XXVI championship team.
Chryst has one remaining vacancy on his staff, the wide receivers post that opened when Bobby Engram recently accepted a position with the Baltimore Ravens.
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