Getting to Know Chris Haering

A long time high school coach in Pennsylvania, Chris Haering joins the Wisconsin staff after spending three seasons coaching defensive and special teams at Pittsburgh. What is he bringing to the table in terms of position coaching and recruiting? BadgerNation breaks it down.

Chris Haering made the jump from high school head coach to position coach, in coming to Pitt. He served as a GA alongside Chryst at West Virginia back in 1989. Chryst then went the college route, while Haering became head coach at Mt. Lebanon High School, where he coached Wisconsin's Arthur Goldberg, among others.

Seems like a guy who would have 19 years of head coaching experience at the high school level should be able to make a transition to coaching just one position - seems like the natural transition (i.e. Terry Smith, who left a successful Gateway program, and is now wide receivers coach at Penn State).

What's concerning is the number of different starting linebacking combinations that occurred at Pitt in three seasons, under Haering's tutelage - four this season alone in 13 games.

Haering also added the title of special teams coach this past season. For those of you who missed it on January 2, Pitt's defense allowed 29 fourth quarter points to Houston, as the Cougars had a thrilling 36-35 win. While most special teams coaches have a concept called a hands team, Haering's plan was to put two of his starting linebackers and a hybrid defensive end/linebacker on as that hands team. As a result, Houston recovered back-to-back onside kicks, aiding in that 29-point comeback. To put it mildly, the two coaches responsible for defense and special teams (Haering and Matt House - both share duties in both areas) were largely responsible for Pitt's collapse in the bowl game.

Haering had the luxury this past season of having the two most experienced players on the defense as a whole back for a senior season, Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez. While both finished as top two tacklers this past season, neither appeared to do anything to boost their NFL stock. That doesn't look good on Haering's resume, perhaps why he’ll only handle special teams at UW.


Haering had a positive relationship with the coaches in western PA, building on a lot of the relationships he built as a high school head coach. He's not the closer that Joe Rudolph is. The two did team up in landing several local prospects, most notable four-star offensive tackle Dorian Johnson in 2013, who's already a two-year starter.

Haering is a likeable guy and another one loyal to Chryst and vice-versa. The geographic move to Wisconsin is the biggest of his career. For him to make such a move shows his enthusiasm for the Wisconsin job, and Chryst's loyalty to him. Let's just hope to see some receivers or maybe a couple of the tight ends on Wisconsin's roster play a part on the hands team.

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