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Thursday April 24 2014
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Sideline View: Oakland

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Paul Chryst is Pitt's new head football coach, but his assistant coaches will shape the course of Chryst's Pitt program nearly as much as the man in charge. Some of the new coaches in Oakland are familiar faces, but many are not. Here's a peek at the sidelines.

Joe Rudolph, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends: A native of Belle Vernon, Rudolph returns home to oversee the Panthers and coach the tight ends. He spent the past four seasons at his alma mater Wisconsin as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Prior to his stint with the Badgers, Rudolph was tight ends coach at Nebraska in 2007 and spent three years at Ohio State (2004-06).


As a player at Wisconsin, Rudolph twice earned All-Big Ten honors as a hardnosed offensive lineman and served as team captain in 1994. He and his wife, Dawn, have two sons, Alex and Andrew.


Dave Huxtable, Defensive Coordinator: The 55-year-old Huxtable possesses over 30 years of coaching experience and begins his fourth stint as a Division 1 defensive coordinator. Huxtable spent the 2011 season coaching linebackers at Wisconsin, but before that spent seven seasons at Central Florida, including the final three as defensive coordinator. In his final year at UCF, Huxtable's defense ranked 8th nationally and helped the Knights to the finest season in school history with an 11-3 record, the C-USA championship and a 10-6 victory over Georgia in the 2010 Liberty Bowl.


Huxtable served as the defensive coordinator at North Carolina (2003-03) and Georgia Tech (1996-97), and also made coaching stops at East Carolina and Oklahoma State. An Ilinois native, Huxtable and his wife Vicki have a son, Jake, and a daughter, Shea.


Brooks Bollinger, Quarterbacks: Bollinger was a four-year starter at Wisconsin from 1999-2002 and posted a 30-12 record as a starter. Now 32, he played eight seasons in professional football before getting into coaching last fall as the head coach at Minnesota's Hill Murray High School, where he led the Pioneers to a 9-3 record and their first state playoff berth in 24 years, advancing to the Class 4A semifinals. A native of Grand Forks, ND, Bollinger and his wife Natalie have three children: Miles, Beau and Liviana.


Inoke Breckterfield, Defensive Line: A two-time All-Pac-10 defensive end as a collegian at Oregon State, Breckterfield comes to Pitt after coaching the defensive line at UCLA in 2011. He's also coached the D-line at Montana, Weber State and Oregon State. The 35-yeaR-old Breckterfield, a Hawaii native, has a son Kalevi with his wife, Carol.


Bobby Engram, Wide Receivers: Engram played 14 successful seasons in the NFL after a decorated career at Penn State. Between 1996 and 2009, he compiled 650 receptions for 7,751 yards and 35 touchdowns while plying for the Chicago Bears (1996-2000), Seattle Seahawks (2001-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009). The 39-year old was the inaugural recipient of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver in 1994 and still ranks as the Nittany Lions' all-time leader in receiving yards (3,026), receiving touchdowns (31) and 100-yard receiving games (16). He was an offensice assistant with the San Francisco 49ers last year. Born in South Carolina, he and his wife Deanna have two daughters, Bobbi and Phoebe, and two sons, Dean and Trey.


Chris Haering, Linebackers: Haering joins the Panthers following an impressive tenure at nearby Mt. Lebanon High School, where he served as head football coach the past 17 years and compiled a 111-71 record. Prior to Mt. Lebanon, Haering, 44, was the head coach at Hampton High School in 1994. He was a standout linebacker at West Virginia from 1986-89. Haering and his wife Melissa have two children: daughter Madison and son Mark.


Matt House, Defensive Backs: House spent the past four seasons in the NFL as an assistant with the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers. A Michigan native, the 34-year-old House has also coached at Buffalo, Gardner-Webb, North Carolina and Michigan State.  House and his wife Jessi have two sons, Jackson and Jacob.


Jim Hueber, Offensive Line: The 63-year-old Hueber most recently spent five seasons coaching the Minnesota Vikings offensive line. Prior to working in the NFL, Hueber spent 33 years in the collegiate ranks, including long tenures at Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Philadelphia-born Hueber Hueber and his wife Nancy have four children: sons Jeffrey, Jonathan and Joseph, and daughter Kristine.


Desmond Robinson, Running Backs: A linebacker and defensive end at Pitt from 1974-78, Robinson was a member of the Panthers' 1976 National Championship team. Originally from Atlanta, Robinson has more than 30 years of coaching experience, inlcuding stints at UConn, West Virginia, Tulane, Notre Dame and Syracuse, among others. Robinson and his wife Pearlena have two children, Jason and Ashley.


Todd Rice, Strength and Conditioning: Rice, 48, has been a head S&C coach since 1994, with stops at Yale, Cal, Boston College and NC State.


Other Staff Members: Chris LaSala was retained as Chryst's Director of Football Operations; Bob Junko is back as Director of Football Relations and Program Enhancement; Rob Blanc returns for his 25th season as Head Athletic Trainer; and Dann Kabala, a former GA at Pitt from 2005-07, enters his first season as player personnel director.

It’s all starting to make sense. The Steelers have not made the playoffs the past two seasons. Those two years have seen the team part ways with players who were integral to a sustained run of success that resulted in a pair of Super Bowl championships.
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A champion won't be crowned in the NHL for nearly two months, but the quest for hockey's holy grail begins now. Sixteen teams are lacing up their skates and preparing for the upcoming hunt for the Stanley Cup. Here are the four favorites.
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Donation was made possible through sale of the “Remembering Rocco” shirt and by the overwhelming generosity of the Pittsburgh community and beyond.
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