The 51-year-old Gattuso becomes the second football coach in the program's 41 varsity seasons, taking over for Bob Ford, who retired.
Gattuso played at Penn State in the early 1980s. He was an assistant at Maryland the past three years.
Gattuso was the head coach at Duquesne from 1993-2004, going 97-32 and winning eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles. He was an assistant at Pittsburgh from 2005-10.