SB Nation Pittsburgh
Stay connected for news and updates Follow @sbnpittsburgh
Like us to subscribe
AOL Fanhouse (among many others) reports that Pitt has issued a statement, confirming that Todd Graham has been hired as the new head coach of the Panthers.
"We are thrilled that Todd Graham has agreed to become the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh," said Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson in a statement. "His innovative, creative and energized approach to football makes him an exciting leader for our program. He has a proven track record of success at all levels of football and his wealth of experience on both sides of the ball gives him a unique set of credentials."
There was some concern that Graham may be postponing his decision because of a potential opening at LSU (should Les Miles accept a job at Michigan tomorrow). However, Graham seems excited and ready to begin at Pitt.
"My family and I are honored to join such a prestigious university and rich football tradition like the University of Pittsburgh," Graham said in a statement. "Pittsburgh is a tremendous football city with great fans. We will work diligently every day to earn their respect and build a program that competes for and wins championships. I'm also excited to return to the Big East, a conference that plays tremendous football."
Graham certainly has his hands full; the once full recruiting class has slipped since the resignation of Dave Wannstedt and National Letter of Intent Day is less than a month away. Welcome to Pittsburgh, Todd!
Todd Graham, reportedly having accepted the Pitt head coaching job, will apparently be on his way to Pittsburgh tonight, FOX23 in Tulsa mentions:
The deal is done. Todd Graham has accepted the Pitt coaching job, per sources close to the TU coach.
Graham is at home and expected to head to Pittsburgh later this evening.
A private plane has left Pittsburgh and, according to Flightaware.com, is expected to land at Tulsa International Airport at 4:59 CST.
The long and dusty trail appears to be coming to an end. Many Pitt fans will be disappointed by this hire, but the fact is that Graham was a much hotter candidate and should end up being a better fit than the recently-fired Mike Haywood. Graham has a much longer track record of success as a head coach and strung together multiple ten-win seasons at Tulsa.
If this report is correct, I don’t expect any announcement tonight obviously. But Pitt should be ready to move forward with Graham’s announcement and finally put this coaching search to an end.
Following up on my post earlier, it looks like the Panthers have settled on Todd Graham as their new football coach, as the Post-Gazette’s earlier report that Pitt and Graham were talking today has been updated to show that an agreement has been reached.
Barring any last-minute complication, Graham likely will be introduced as the new Pitt coach tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Graham is supposed to meet with his team in Tulsa at 3:30 p.m. today CST (4:30 EST time), where he is expected to tell them of his decision.
The holdup today was supposed to have been Graham’s and his assistants’ salaries, but it appears those details have been ironed out. Just a month after Graham claimed he loved Tulsa and was staying there, the Panthers have him.
“It’s very flattering to get people to inquire,” said Graham, who didn’t comment if schools have had contacted him. "When you got a system that works (at TU) and love where you live …
“My family loves it here. I have three kids attending the University of Tulsa. That’s a pretty good gig. I think sometimes you can think the grass is greener and you can get humbled in a hurry.”
Here’s hoping he doesn’t end up humbled, or that he doesn’t use Pitt as a stepping stone to somewhere else he can be humbled. He’s taking a tough job at Pitt, with recruiting issues and at least a couple of top players departing for the NFL draft. He has a hard road ahead of him, but at least the Panthers can put the embarrassing Mike Haywood incident behind them for now.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pitt is “close to a deal” to make Tulsa’s Todd Graham the Panthers’ next football coach, and that talks are ongoing. It appears that Graham wasn’t just making a move to get Tulsa to give him a better deal – he really is pretty likely to come to Pitt. However, talks could fall apart if the two sides can’t come together today:
If the two sides agree on money issues, Graham could be named the new coach as early as Tuesday. If a deal is not done today, it is expected that Graham would pull out and the search would continue.
The two sides are currently haggling over salary issues, the P-G reports.
Meanwhile, a report out of Oklahoma suggests Graham has already taken the Pitt job:
In four seasons, Graham’s squads have gone 36-17 and have won all three bowl games they’ve appeared in by a combined score of 170-55. This season, Tulsa finished 10-3 — Graham’s third 10-plus win season at the school.
A team meeting is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.
We’ll see how this turns out.
Paul Zeise of the Post-Gazette reports that Todd Graham and the university are apparently at least discussing finances:
I thought it was going to be a very quiet night on the coaching search and it is for the most part except for this little nugget that I picked up from a good source — Pitt and Tulsa’s Todd Graham are now talking money, as in, how much it would take to bring Graham to Pitt.
That isn’t much of a surprise considering Graham is the only known candidate who has had two talks with Pitt but here is what is different: Pitt is now inching closer to the territory where the source told me the school might have a real shot to get a deal done with Graham.
As Zeise mentions later, this could all just be a ploy for Graham to get more money from Tulsa … something he mentions that Graham may have done in the past.
Even if Pitt is able to reach a deal with Graham, the school needs to think longer term. Graham doesn’t have any strong ties to the school and if he has even a modicum of success at Pitt, he’d likely want significantly more money to stay after a few years. And without local ties, chances of Graham sticking around are minimal.
More names continue to float into the Pitt football coaching discussion and now the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise is reporting that former Pitt player Teryl Austin has emerged in the race to take over the Panthers' job. Austin worked with Florida this past season as defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. Zeise says Pitt's interest in him is growing.
Austin is a tremendous recruiter - remember when Michigan was kicking Pitt's butt in Western Pennsylvania for guys like Steve Breaston? Well, that was Austin, who is from Sharon, Pennsylvania -- and is considered one of the bright, young coaches from the assistant coaching ranks. His name has been linked to several other jobs and because of his Pitt ties his name has been thrown about in the rumor mill but this is what I've learned in the past few hours:
I've confirmed he is now a legitimate candidate and not just a guy on a wish list because he is a Pitt guy.
If Austin has been or will be interviewed, he'll join the group of Alabama's Sal Sunseri, Penn State's Tom Bradley and Wisconsin's Paul Chryst rumor that has interviewed for the Pitt job.
While much of the attention in the Pitt football coaching search has been directed toward Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley lately, it appears another candidate may be emerging in the race to take over the job as the Panthers' head man.
Kirk Graham of the Austin American-Statesman tweets that Tulsa coach Todd Graham could be coming on strong for the Pitt vacancy.
The Golden Hurricanes went 10-3 this season under Graham and defeated No. 24 Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24. Tulsa's explosive offense went for more than 40 points seven times in 2010 and went for over 50 points on four occasions.
Graham was also a candidate for the Pitt job following the firing of Dave Wannstedt and was interviewed but was believed to have been passed over due to a compensation dispute.
Much of the discussion surrounding Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley's possible defection from Penn State in recent days has been centered on the Pittsburg job. However, it looks like speculation that Bradley could leave State College for Connecticut is starting to pick up steam as Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets.
The UConn job opened up recently when coach Randy Edsall took the open position at Maryland following the Huskies' loss to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day. Edsall had been UConn's only coach in its Football Bowl Subdivision era, but later called Maryland his "dream job" in his introductory news conference in College Park. Other names that have been rumored for the Connecticut job according to the Hartford Courant include Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and former Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini.
As the smoke continues to build around Tom Bradley's candidacy for the Pitt job, more than a few people are now running in the opposite direction of the hot rumor. Fight On State's Mark Brennan quotes a source today who says reports last night that Bradley had been offered and accepted the position at Pittsburgh
"Those reports are erroneous, false and absolutely deplorable," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "They are entirely false. This is what happens when people don't do their homework."
The source refuted a report by WTAE last evening around 7:00 P.M. that Bradley had been hired by Pitt. Brennan's story also notes that Nathan Stupar, a Penn State linebacker who last night congratulated Bradley on being hired at Pitt in fact had no inside knowledge of the situation and was merely reacting to the media reports out at that time.
As of right now, things still look quiet on the Bradley-Pitt front.
It's been a crazy past 24 hours in the Pitt coaching search and things are only getting more wild by the minute. Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this morning cites sources who have indicated to him that a prospective Tom Bradley staff at Pitt is already coming together and includes a big name.
Already people are excited about the staff he'll bring with him and I have on good authority his defensive coordinator will be Teryl Austin, a highly regarded coach who started at cornerback for Pitt in the 1980s. Austin was defensive coordinator at Florida last year. He has an excellent resume, both in college and the NFL, and is an outstanding recruiter. He has long wanted to get back to Pitt and was hoping for a job on Dave Wannstedt's original staff.
Smizik also says he hears from sources that Bradley could take as many as four coaches with him from Joe Paterno's staff to Pittsburgh. This would certainly be an interesting development, as Smizik points out, because Paterno has rarely seen turnover that exaggerated in his entire tenure in Happy Valley. It would be very interesting from a Penn State perspective to see who Paterno would fill four vacancies with.
Coaches who some rumor could leave Penn State include linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike McQuerey, defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. and quarterbacks coach (yeah ok) Jay Paterno.
Tom Bradley to Pitt still remains unconfirmed … and the story gets crazier and crazier. David Jones of the Penn Live Blog reported that Penn State players were apparently starting to receive texts from him (special thanks to ryebr3ad over at Cardiac Hill)
Two Penn State players said Wednesday night they have been text-messaged by Tom Bradley that he has been offered the Pittsburgh Panthers head coaching job and that he intends to accept it once details are worked out, according to a PSU team source.
To one player, Bradley texted: “Love you kids. Going to miss you. Wish I could take you with me. Anything I can do for you, let me know.”
Bradley did not answer calls to his cellphone Wednesday night and his mailbox was full.
However, Jones was back shortly claiming that story was untrue:
A previous report I made that Tom Bradley texted players that he had been offered the Pitt job is erroneous. PSU sources indicating as much proved to be unfounded. I am responsible and I profoundly regret this error.
Jones, to his credit, took full responsibilty for the error, but how does something like that happen – especially when there was a direct quote involved?
At any rate, WTAE is still the only source confirming the story. It still sounds as it if’s a matter of ‘when’ to me, but if reports like this keep getting out, who knows.
Pitt’s long and winding road could be coming to an end. ABC-Affiliate WTAE is reporting that Tom Bradley will become Pitt’s next head coach:
Penn State defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Tom Bradley will be named the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh, WTAE Channel 4 Action Sports’ John Meyer has confirmed.
There was no indication of when the move will become official, but Meyer reported on Wednesday night that it was a done deal.
This isn’t yet to the point where it’s being confirmed by lots of sources, but if correct, Pitt fans should be happy. I outlined earlier this week the many reasons why Pitt should hire Tom Bradley, and this could turn out to be a much better hire than Mike Haywood was.
Bradley is well-known in the area, well respected by area high school coaches, and has a long track record of success at a major college football program. He’ll bring much-needed stability to the program and could be just what Pitt needs to move forward. As SB Nation Pittsburgh mentioned earlier, Bradley interviewed with Pitt possibly as late as today. If that’s the case, it didn’t take Pitt long to decide who they wanted as their next head coach.
It’s probably still late for Pitt to have much of a recruiting class this season, but Bradley’s hire should help Pitt avoid a complete disaster that lasts several years.
This should be a happy day if you’re a Panther fan.
Who will be Pitt's next head coach? We're not sure, but there are a few names that appear to be out of the running.
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is staying with the Bengals, recently fired Rich Rodriguez is not being considered, and former Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti is leaving to head to Rutgers.