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Pitt Should Hire Tom Bradley As Its Next Football Coach

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Time to put an end to the foolishness.

Time to put an end to the games.

I have a simple message to Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg and athletic director Steve Pederson: hire Tom Bradley.

Pederson tried to do what he thought was right in hiring Mike Haywood. At the end of the season, he cut ties with Dave Wannstedt, who had led Pitt to steady, but unspectacular, results. Pederson believed he was getting a dynamic disciplinarian who turned around the Miami of Ohio program, at least for one year.

It was a risky hire, but one that Pederson thought would reap huge rewards. Thanks to domestic violence charges, we'll never know what Haywood could have accomplished. Now, the program lies in disarray and its once highly-ranked recruiting class has been completely destroyed. Pitt has no coach, and no direction right now.

But there's still hope. Pederson can do what he should have done in the first place in hiring Bradley.

Unlike Haywood, Bradley has a long history of success. He's served as a top assistant/coordinator at a big-time program for not just years, but decades. And not only has he served in that role, he has done it successfully. Penn State regularly churns out some of the best defensive players year after year.

Bradley would also be a strong recruiter. He has brought top-level players to Penn State for many years and not only has a history of that, but he's done it in this area. He's familiar with the high school coaches in Pennsylvania, so there would be no learning curve with him. Further, in losing recruiter and secondary coach Jeff Hafley to Rutgers this year, Pitt lost a coach who had strong ties to the New Jersey/DC/Eastern Pennsylvania area. Hiring Bradley would help reestablish Pitt's communications with recruits in that area.

Despite the many reasons to hire Bradley, though, the choice may not be so black and white. Though he has ties to the area (his father played basketball at Pitt and his brother is a surgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers), he's still perceived by many as a Penn State guy. Pederson even said as much in recent comments to the Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise stating that he would consider Bradley. Even though Pederson says that didn't hamper Bradley's chances at landing the job the first time around, it's been reported that it could have been a factor.

One possibility is that Bradley could simply leave Pitt the minute the Penn State job finally opens up. But that ship appears to have sailed, and Penn State's interest for him could be waning. And the fact that Joe Paterno is endorsing Bradley for the Pitt job makes me think that Penn State really doesn't want him to be their next coach. Bradley also couldn't land the Temple job in which he reportedly had an interest. For some reason, folks seem to be down on Bradley.

Still, at this point, he would be a safe choice for Pitt. He's an area guy with strong recruiting roots and proven success at a Division I program. Time for Pitt to do the right thing and hire Tom Bradley.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.