Engram lands on Chryst's new staff as receivers coach
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New Pitt receivers coach Bobby Engram is coming home for his first college coaching gig.
Engram, the former star receiver at Penn State who played in NFL for the Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs, has made his home in Murrysville for the past 14 years. Engram and his wife, Deanna, have four children and decided to live in the area because Deanna was born and raised in Penn Hills.
So when new Pitt coach Paul Chryst was putting together his staff and Engram received a strong recommendation from Chryst's brother, an NFL coach, it became a natural fit for both parties.
"To be a part of this staff and to be in the city where my wife was born and raised, it's a very unique opportunity," Engram said. "I didn't target the University of Pittsburgh, but I'm very thankful it turned out like this."
Engram retired after the 2010 season and spent this past season as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers. Chryst's brother, Geep, coaches the quarterbacks for the 49ers under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
"It was a phenomenal experience," Engram said of his one season with the 49ers. "It was like three years rolled into one because of the lockout. I have a wealth of knowledge from that one year."
Engram can also call on his experiences from playing in the NFL from 1996-2009 and three seasons under Joe Paterno at Penn State. Engram was a three-time All-American and a three-time all-Big Ten selection for the Nittany Lions from '93-95. He still ranks as Penn State's all-time leader in receiving yards (3,026), receiving touchdowns (31) and 100-yard receiving games (16).
Engram called Paterno last year to get advice on how to break into coaching.
"He wasn't surprised at all," Engram said. "We had a lengthy conversation. Hopefully, I'll make him proud."
Paterno died from lung cancer Sunday. Funeral services were this week.
Engram, who played in Super Bowl XL against the Steelers as a member of the Seahawks, first discovered he wanted to get into coaching when he had his football camp for young children in Chicago, but he also said he was influenced to make a difference in the lives of young men by Paterno.
"Joe did have some influence," Engram said. "When you listened to the memorial service, the resounding message was: 'Forget the wins, let's talk about the man and the influence he had on our lives.' It was always about how much he cared for his players. That's why he had such a tremendous level of respect. To me, that's his legacy."
Engram said he is looking forward to passing on his 20 years of college and NFL football knowledge to young players.
"I genuinely love people and have a passion for young men," Engram said. "I want to impart some wisdom into their lives. I'm excited to get going."
First Published January 28, 2012 12:00 am