Feb. 27, 2012
PITTSBURGH—Pitt head football coach Paul Chryst filled the two vacancies on his coaching staff today by naming Desmond Robinson running backs coach and Brooks Bollinger quarterbacks coach. Additionally, Chryst announced the addition of Dann Kabala to the Pitt football program as player personnel director.
Robinson’s appointment with the Panthers marks a return to his alma mater, where he was a linebacker and defensive end (1974-78) on some of the finest teams in Pitt history. Playing under John Majors and Jackie Sherrill, he was a member of three squads that finished in the nation’s Top 20, including the 1976 team that went 12-0 and was unanimously selected as national champions.
Robinson rejoins Pitt with nearly 30 years of coaching experience on the collegiate, prep and professional levels. He began his collegiate coaching career as a part-time assistant at Pitt under Sherrill in 1981, helping the Panthers to an 11-1 mark and No. 2 national ranking. Robinson would go on to coaching posts at Notre Dame, West Virginia, Syracuse, Tulane, Dartmouth and Connecticut. He also coached on the professional level with NFL Europe.
His standout pupils at running back include West Virginia’s Amos Zereoue, a 1,000-yard rusher and the Big East’s Rookie of the Year in 1996; Notre Dame’s Autry Denson, who became the Irish’s all-time leading rusher with 4,318 yards; and Syracuse’s Damien Rhodes, one of the Orange’s top 10 all-time rushers.
Robinson and Chryst previously worked together during the 1989 and ’90 seasons as assistants under Don Nehlen at West Virginia.
“Desmond’s Pitt ties and extensive coaching experience are going to be invaluable to our program on and off the field,” said Chryst. “He is an excellent teacher of the game and our running backs will greatly benefit from his guidance.”
Bollinger, a former standout quarterback at Wisconsin, comes to Pittsburgh following an eight-year career in professional football, including six in the NFL and two in the UFL. He was a four-year starter for Barry Alvarez’s Badgers from 1999-2002, compiling an impressive 30-12 record under center. Bollinger was 3-0 in bowl games, including a 17-9 victory over Stanford in the 2000 Rose Bowl.
Bollinger was selected in the 2003 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He would play three seasons in New York before also spending time with the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. Bollinger concluded his pro career playing two seasons for the Florida Tuskers in the UFL, earning the league’s 2009 MVP honor after leading his team to the championship game.
As the first-year head coach at Minnesota’s Hill Murray High School last fall, he led the team to a 9-3 record and its first state playoff berth in 24 years.
“Brooks knows firsthand the mental and physical preparation needed for successful quarterback play,” Chryst said. “He was a consummate leader for us at Wisconsin before going on to pro football, and those experiences are going to be assets for our players and staff.”
Kabala, a Pittsburgh native and graduate of Fox Chapel High School, spent the past four years at the University of Arkansas, serving the Razorbacks’ football program in the areas of on-campus recruiting, eligibility coordination and academic support. His efforts helped Arkansas lure three consecutive top 25 recruiting classes from 2010-12.
Kabala previously worked with Pitt football as a graduate assistant from 2005-07. His additional experience includes time as an operations assistant with his alma mater Indiana University (Bloomington) and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Dann returns to Pitt with outstanding administrative experience that will strengthen our program in so many important areas,” Chryst said. “His ties to Pitt and Western Pennsylvania will definitely help him hit the ground running as we get ready to start spring drills.”
The Panthers open spring practice on March 15.
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