With great success comes great loss – at least for CSU football. After losing star running back Kapri Bibbs to the NFL last Fall, Tuesday the Rams bid assistant undergraduate coach Joey Porter farewell.
On Tuesday morning, the NFL announced the decision by the Pittsburgh Steelers to hire Porter as a defensive assistant coach. Porter was drafted by the Steeler’s straight out of Fort Collins with the 73rd overall pick in 1999.
History essentially repeated itself 15 years and a stellar NFL career later. Porter spent the last seven months under head coach Jim McElwain, coaching CSU’s linebackers to a bowl game victory and a record (8-6) to be proud of.
“There are two places I wanted to coach, CSU and Pittsburgh, and in two years I’ve been able to accomplish both,” Porter said Tuesday morning. “I’m truly blessed. CSU did everything for me to give me an opportunity to be where I am.”
Earlier in the season, Porter expressed the excitement he felt having the opportunity to coach athletes like Corey James and Shaquil Barrett, who won Mountain West defensive player of the year in his final season as a Ram, boasting 12 sacks.
Though Barrett came with his own set of skills, the influence of the four-time Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl XL champion was instrumental to Barrett’s success as well as anyone who came in contact with Porter. McElwain, big on tradition and bigger on competition, knew what Porter brought to the table, even in just a few short months.
“I can’t say enough about the job he did with our team last season, and the way he poured his knowledge, experience and passion into our players,” McElwain said. “He is a true Ram who proudly carries Colorado State with him wherever he goes. We wish him well in his new job with the Pittsburgh Steelers and thank him for what he brought to our program, that will stay with us as we go forward.”
As for Porter, his brief time back at his Alma Mater this Fall – where he completed his undergraduate degree – will stay with him going forward as well. He left his physical mark in the CSU Hall of Fame this November, he still ranks fifth for overall sacks as a Ram and his 2005 donation of $200,000 lives in the renovated football locker room.
But his biggest legacy and his greatest memories stay on the field, first as a player, and then as a coach.
“That is exactly why I got into coaching, being hands-on with the outside linebackers—Shaq (Barrett), Cory (James), Steve-O (Michel), Danny (Nwosu), Bryan (Ohene) — all the guys I worked with, just having an effect on their lives and helping them get better is why you coach,” Porter says. “In addition to the team success and the bowl game, honestly the moments I had to work with Shaq and watching him play goes a long way for me. I know it was a short time I was there, but I think I got more out of it than they did. What they did for me solidified for me that it was the right choice to get into coaching.”Collegian Reporter Cali Rastrelli can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @c_rasta5.
What the Steelers have to say:
“We are excited about having Joey back with the Steelers’ family,” Steeler’s head coach Mike Tomlin said in a press release issued by the team. “Joey spent a number of years with Pittsburgh as a player, and now he’s back to assist the coaching staff. We look forward to his efforts and contributions.”
Career NFL Stats:
22 Forced Fumbles
4 Pro-Bowl Invites
4 All-Pro Honors
1 Super Bowl Ring (Steelers, 2005 XL)