Pitt Hires Tony Wise As OL Coach

Tony Wise and Dave Wannstedt first worked together at Pitt on Jackie Sherrill's coaching staff during the 1977-78 seasons, and their careers came full circle Tuesday when Wise officially was named the Panthers' offensive line coach.

Tony Wise spent the past 18 years coaching offensive lines in the National Football League, including the 2006-07 seasons with the New York Jets. This is Wise's seventh appointment to a position where Dave Wannstedt also coached. His original job with the Panthers was one of his first college coaching positions. He replaces Paul Dunn, who was fired in late December, at Pittsburgh.

Wannstedt coached receivers and special teams under Sherrill, while Wise was the assistant offensive line coach for Pitt. They would go on to serve on the same staffs with Jimmy Johnson at Oklahoma State, the University of Miami, the Dallas Cowboys and during Wannstedt's head coaching tenures with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins.

"Tony Wise brings to Pitt an outstanding record of teaching offensive line play at the highest level,'' Wannstedt said. "We started our coaching careers at Pitt together, and I was always continually impressed by both his coaching style and teaching ability. I know he is going to be an immediate asset for our players on and off the field.''

Prior to his stint with the Jets, Wise spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2001-04). While at Miami, his offensive lines helped produce the two highest individual single-season rushing totals in franchise history. During the 2002 season, the Dolphins rushed for 156.4 yards per game to rank first in the AFC and second in the NFL. From 1999-2000, Wise served with the Carolina Panthers. During the 1999 season, Carolina averaged 4.3 yards per rush attempt to rank fifth in the NFL.

"I am incredibly excited about returning to college football, especially with a program that has had a major impact on my development as a coach,'' Wise said. "Dave Wannstedt has been much more than just a coaching colleague over the years. We've shared many great experiences on and off the field.

"And I am looking forward to helping him continue elevating Pitt to the top of the Big East Conference. ... I'm not a yes man, but I've discovered over the years that it rubs some people the wrong way. But I'll tell Dave what I think, and ... that's our relationship. I think he's been able to count on me that I won't sit there and hang my head. If I think I can help, I'll say something.''

While on Wannstedt's Chicago staff from 1993-98, Wise also teamed with Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, who held the same position with the Bears during the 1997-98 seasons. In four of those six, the Bears ranked in the top 10 of the NFL in fewest sacks allowed, including a league-low 15 in 1995. Wise added the duties of assistant head coach his final four seasons in Chicago.

Wise's NFL career began in 1989 with the Dallas Cowboys, where he coached the offensive line for four seasons (1989-92) under coach Jimmy Johnson. In Wise's final season, his offensive front allowed the second-fewest sacks in the NFL (23) as the Cowboys captured Super Bowl XXVII with a 52-17 victory over Buffalo. Wise also served under Johnson while with the Miami Hurricanes from 1985-88. His UM tenure witnessed the Hurricanes' emergence as a national power. Miami went 34-2 Wise's final three seasons there, including a 12-0 mark in winning the 1987 national championship. So, Wise, like Wannstedt, can sell placement in the NFL if a recruit comes to Pitt.

"I've been thinking about (recruiting) for a long time, and I talked to a lot of guys ... and the only thing I've told the college coaches was that since I've been in the NFL with free agency and everything I've watched tape on guys and have been like a recruiter,'' Wise said.

"Now, I haven't been on a home visit to see a guy with his parents, but I feel very confident that I can sit down to dinner with guys and talk to them about their future in football. We've really been exposed to that a great deal the past 10 years or so.''

A native of Newtonville, N.Y., Wise was an offensive lineman at Ithaca College from 1969-72. He also lettered in lacrosse at Ithaca and played on the school's hockey team. Wise began his coaching career in 1973 at Albany State, where he worked with the outside linebackers. He later coached the offensive lines at Bridgeport (1974), Central Connecticut (1975) and on Jackie Sherrill's staff at Washington State in 1976. Wise's additional collegiate stops include Oklahoma State (under Jimmy Johnson from 1979-83) and Syracuse (1984).

As an Ithaca grad, he became acquainted with Pitt tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, who was coaching there. And he recommended him to Wannstedt.

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