Pitt's Tony Wise Assistant Coach Of Year

Pitt offensive line coach Tony Wise was named Assistant Coach of the Year by FootballScoop.com, the Web site announced Friday.

Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti and director of football operations Chris LaSala also were among the finalists in their respective categories. Each Panthers coach was nominated by their professional peers.

"Coaching is teaching, and there is no better teacher than Tony,'' Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt said. "The way he communicates with the players, they understand him. He is very effective. On the field and off the field, he cares about his players. The players know it and appreciate it.''

Wise, an accomplished 36-year coaching veteran of collegiate and professional football, is in his second season as Pitt's offensive line coach.

"It's an honor to be selected the FootballScoop Offensive Line Coach of the Year,'' Wise said. "As we know, line coaches are not used to this type of recognition. I was lucky to play for a former offensive line coach at Ithaca College in Jim Butterfield.

"And as a young coach I learned most of what I know from legendary line coaches Joe Moore and Dan Radakovich. But it's all meaningless unless you have tough, athletic and smart guys to coach and we have a great group of guys here at Pitt who love to hit people, down after down.''

The offensive line was instrumental in helping the Panthers average 33.2 points per game during the regular season, the fourth highest scoring average in school history. Pitt's offensive front gave up only 1.08 sacks per game, while helping produce a 1,600-yard rusher in freshman Dion Lewis and 1,000-yard receiver in sophomore Jonathan Baldwin.

Under Wise's guidance, senior offensive guard John Malecki and redshirt junior tackle Jason Pinkston were first-team All-Big East honorees.

A panel of current and former coaches, along with past recipients of the awards, evaluated the finalists and selected the winners. Internet voting also factored into the selection of the winners, but the panel had the final decision on the awards.

For more information, visit www.footballscoop.com.

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