Friday, January 18, 2008

Hello again, and Rhoads is official

I'm back from vacation and ready to get a coordinator search over with. This from Auburn athletics media relations just a few minutes ago:


AUBURN—Paul Rhoads, who served as defensive coordinator forthe past eight seasons at Pittsburgh, has been named defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Auburn, announced head coach TommyTuberville Friday.
In his eight seasons as defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, Rhoads also oversaw the secondary from 2000-06 and linebackers in 2007.
“We’re excited to have Paul join our staff,” Tuberville said. “He fit everything that we were looking for in a defensive coordinator. Paul brings great experience and enthusiasm, he’s agreat recruiter and I really like his philosophy on teaching techniques and fundamentals.”
Rhoads’ defenses’ at Pitt regularly were among the nation’s leaders in various categories, finishing fifth nationally in total defense in 2007 allowing just 297.7 yards per game.
This past season, Rhoads’ Pittsburgh defense, held a high-powered West Virginia offense to a season-low nine points.
The Panthers were third nationally in pass defense allowing just 167.3 yards per game in 2007.
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.
“I’m happy and very excited to be an Auburn Tiger,” Rhoads said. “My family and I are thrilled about being a part of the Auburn Family and the Auburn community. I truly appreciate the opportunity that Coach Tuberville and Auburn have given me and can’t wait to get started. I look forward to the challenge of competing in theSoutheastern Conference, which is the best conference in the country,and helping Auburn compete for a national title.”
With an aggressive philosophy, Rhoads’ Pitt defenses scored 10 defensive touchdowns during three seasons from 2004-06, including four in 2006, one shy of the school record. In 2004, Pitt ranked ninth nationally with 17 interceptions en route to the Big East title and Fiesta Bowl berth.
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 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 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 quarterbacksacks, its highest sack total since the 1987 season.
As secondary coach, Rhoads had five players taken in the last six NFL drafts, including 2006 Thorpe Award Finalist Darrelle Revis, who was the first secondary player selected.
Prior to his arrival at Pittsburgh, Rhoads coached 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.
Rhoads, 40, spent three years at Pacific, from 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.
Rhoads was a three-year letterman at Missouri Western from 1986-88, where he was a defensive back. A 1989 graduate of Missouri Western with a bachelor's degree in economics, Rhoads was the recipient of the Chris Faros Scholarship, honoring the program's top senior student-athlete. Rhoads earned a 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. He and his wife, Vickie, have two sons, Jacob (13) and Wyatt (11).

We're expecting to have a media conference call with Rhoads this afternoon. More later and in Saturday's Star.

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