PITTSBURGH (AP) -Paul Rhoads, the defensive coordinator at Pitt for eight seasons and a finalist for the head coaching job in 2004, is leaving to take the same job at Auburn.
Rhoads informed Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt of his decision Wednesday night. The Panthers will immediately begin seeking his replacement, with defensive line coach Greg Gattuso a possible candidate. Gattuso is the former Duquesne coach.
Rhoads replaces Will Muschamp, who was hired as the defensive coordinator at Texas.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville first offered the 40-year-old Rhoads the defensive coordinator's job in 2002, but Pitt kept him by giving him a large raise and a longer contract. Rhoads was retained in 2004 by coach Dave Wannstedt after former coach Walt Harris, who knew he wouldn't get a new contract at Pitt, left for Stanford.
In addition to being the defensive coordinator, Rhoads coached Pitt's defensive backs for seven years, coaching players such as cornerback Darrelle Revis, a New York Jets first-round draft pick last year.
Last season, Rhoads switched to coaching the linebackers, where Scott McKillop was the nation's leading tackler and a third-team All-America pick.
Rhoads is leaving Pitt after one of the best games ever played by a Panthers defense, the 13-9 upset of then-No. 2 West Virginia on Dec. 1. The Panthers held West Virginia to 183 yards, or nearly 292 yards below their average.

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