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Rhoads credits McCarney for helping him hire Burnham

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

New Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads turned to a familiar friend for counsel when he was hiring his first defensive coordinator.

Rhoads said that his former boss, ex-Iowa State coach and current Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney, helped convince him that Wally Burnham was the best choice for the vacancy on his staff.

McCarney worked under Burnham during one season on Burnham's staff at South Florida. And Rhoads was very familiar with Burnham's defensive philosophies when he coached at Pittsburgh, a Big East Conference foe of the Bulls.

"We had both been competitors and with me and him both being in the Big East, that was our background," Rhoads said. "And knowing how hard his kids played and the things he did schematically and then Dan giving me some insight into what kind of coach and recruiter that Wally is."

Burnham, 67, is a very well-respected coordinator. USF has been ranked in the top 30 in total defense in six of the past seven seasons -- including a No. 10 ranking in 2008 -- with Burnham in charge.

Rhoads is especially excited to tap into Burnham's 40 years of coaching experience, which also includes a nine-season stint on Bobby Bowden's staff at Florida State, including the 1993 national championship season.

"I think his experience is invaluable," Rhoads said. "The veteran leadership and command that he immediately brings to the program -- I don't think you can measure what that is worth.

"The knowledge he has in not only coaching players, but also coaching coaches is also very important. And he may be as respected as anybody in the state of Florida when it comes to recruiting. I think it's invaluable to us as we start our program when you look at all he brings to the table."