MORGANTOWN - Chris Haering, head football coach at Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) High School for 17 years, wasn't really looking for a new job when the University of Pittsburgh hired him in January.
"It's really a great situation with a good guy and I didn't have to move." The former West Virginia University linebacker said this week.
"It was a really good opportunity for me, and I feel like this was a good place to work. I've coached a lot of good kids in the Pittsburgh area that went on to college, and I enjoyed coaching them in high school."
Paul Chryst, Pitt's new head coach, was a graduate assistant on WVU's football staff in 1989-90.
Chryst hired Haering to coach the Panthers' linebackers.
"It's nice to be a part of a great football program at the University of Pittsburgh now," said Haering, who earned All-America status as a Mountaineer line backing star in 1988.
His rise to collegiate coaching doesn't surprise Don Nehlen, under whom Haering was a starter in 1986-87-88-89. He served as a team captain his senior season.
"From the day I recruited him to the day he left West Virginia, I thought he was as special a young guy who has ever walked through these doors," the Hall of Fame retiree said.
He also told Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "I wanted him on my staff (at WVU) at on point, but things just didn't work out."
Coaching is something Haering always wanted to do. That desire goes all the way back to his senior year in high school at Pueblo, Colo.
He's not only following in the footsteps of his father, Chuck, but also his uncle, Joe. Both grew up in Pittsburgh and still are coaching.
In addition, Chris's younger brother, Mark, is coaching a Pueblo South High.
During his 17 years as head coach at Mt. Lebanon High, Haering had a career record of 111 victories and 71 losses. One of his teams captured the prestigious WPIAL Championship.
Haering, who's now 44, was considered one of the finest and most respected scholastic coaches in the Pittsburgh area.
Haering was a key defensive cog in 1988 when the Mountaineers finished 11-0 and then lost to Notre Dame 34-21 in a Fiesta Bowl battle for the national championship.
He was credited with a four-year total of 416 tackles, including 194 solo stops and 222 assists. He also had five interceptions for 60 yards in losses, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, and four pass break-ups.
Haering's tackle totals still rank among the best in WVU history.
Haering's friends in West Virginia will be wishing him all the best as a college coach.