Todd Graham has bolted Pitt for Arizona State, and he apparently took a high-octane jet out of town.
Those who have been with me for a while might recall I wrote something the day he was hired — I was at the introductory news conference — about how all his me-me-me and reinventing-the-game nonsense reminded me of when the Pirates hired Jim Tracy. Well, the mail and the angry tweets and blog comments came, mostly from Pitt fans. Before long, though, I wasn’t alone on this. The more exposure Graham got, especially once the actual football started, the less people seemed to like him.
And the guy sent a test message to his players during his high-octane escape!
The guy that needs to answer some hard questions now is Steve Pederson. That’s two totally blown hires in less than a calendar year, and it’s only the most important hire any major college AD needs to make. And by answering questions, I’m not talking about questions from people like me. I’m talking about Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg. The chancellor stood by Pederson last winter following the Mike Haywood fiasco, but it’s going to be a heck of a lot tougher now.
All kinds of names already are bouncing around the fan base. Usually, I’m one to laugh off that a coach needs to be homegrown or have some connection to a franchise or institution. Not this time. What Pitt needs is a Pitt or at least a Pittsburgh guy. They need to engender trust, in the community, in their recruiting process and in the student-athletes who right now are venting all over Twitter.
“So this is the Pitt way?” linebacker Brandon Lindsey just tweeted.
You can come up with one whale of a list of eminently qualified candidates. Me, I’ll take Dave Wannstedt for AD, Russ Grimm for coach.