Pittman Named Associate Head Coach

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina head coach Butch Davis announced on Friday the promotion of Sam Pittman to associate head coach.

Pittman came to Carolina as part of Davis' original coaching staff in 2007 and has served the last four years as the offensive line coach, a position he will continue to mentor.

"Sam has done a terrific job building our offensive line over the last four seasons," said Davis. "One of Sam's strengths is his ability to build relationships with people and motivate them to perform at the highest level. Sam also has been one of our top recruiters. He is man of great integrity and is a tremendous representative for the University of North Carolina."

Named one of the nation's top 25 recruiters in 2011 by ESPN.com, Pittman has signed the nation's No. 2 rated tackle in each of the last two years - Hurst in 2010 and Kiaro Holts in 2011. He also was instrumental in signing several players in the Tar Heels' recruiting class in 2011, which was ranked as high as 15th nationally.

Carolina has shown steady progress along the offensive line under Pittman and may have its best group in 2011 with significant experience at all five positions. Junior guard Jonathan Cooper, a second-team All-ACC selection last year, and tackle James Hurst, a first-team freshman All-America by several publications, headline a group that has combined for 61 starts. Cooper (22 starts) and Hurst (12) had the best grades of any Tar Heel linemen last season and give the Tar Heels a formidable presence on the left side. A year ago, Carolina was on its way to blocking for a 1,000-yard rusher until tailback Johnny White suffered a season-ending collarbone injury.

Also returning in 2011 are Rimington Award nominee Cam Holland (20 career starts) at center and Travis Bond (5 starts). Bond is slated to take over the vacancy at right guard, while Brennan Williams (1 start) and Carl Gaskins (1 start) will battle for the right tackle position.

Pittman came to Carolina after serving four seasons as Northern Illinois' offensive line coach (2003-06) and three years as its assistant head coach (2004-06). In 2006, the Huskies' offensive line paved the way for the nation's leading rusher, Garrett Wolfe, to run for more than 1,900 yards.

In four years at NIU, Pittman produced nine All-Mid-American Conference linemen, including seven first-team selections. NIU had a tailback top the 1,500-yard rushing mark all four years.

Pittman began his second term at Northern Illinois in 2003. That year, NIU finished 10-2 and beat Maryland and Iowa State and knocked off Alabama, 19-16, in Tuscaloosa. Pittman's line blocked for Michael Turner who finished second in the nation in rushing.

Pittman first coached at Northern Illinois from 1994-95 and produced a trio of All-Big West Conference talent, including All-America center Chris O'Neal. Pittman was the offensive line coach at Oklahoma from 1996-98 where he coached first-round draft pick Stockar McDougle. Pittman has also worked with the offensive lines at Cincinnati (1996), Western Michigan (1999), Missouri (2000) and Kansas (2001).

Before NIU, Pittman produced an 11-9-1 record as head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College from 1992-93. His 1993 team earned the school's first bowl bid in 23 years at the Valley of the Sun Bowl in Phoenix.

Pittman began his career as a student coach at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University in 1984 and 1985. He moved to Beggs (Okla.) High School as an assistant in 1986, Princeton (Mo.) High School as head coach in 1987-88 and Trenton (Mo.) High School as head coach in 1989-90.

At PSU, Pittman won four football letters, finished with 35 straight starts, and played in two postseason games at defensive end (1980-83). As a senior, he won first-team NAIA All-America, first-team All-Central States Intercollegiate Conference, team captain and co-MVP honors. In 1982, Pittman made first-team All-CSIC and team defensive MVP. In 1998, he was inducted into the Pittsburg State Athletics Hall of Fame and in 2004, he was voted to the school's All-Century squad.

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