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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Chancellor can’t just duck, delegate

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …


>> Screen grab up there says it all, huh?

Congratulations, Arizona State, on an inspired hire.

>> It’s not one of my column days — those are Monday, Wednesday and Friday — and colleague Joe Starkey takes on the Steve Pederson issue this morning. But I feel compelled to reiterate here, as I wrote yesterday, my own view that Pitt needs a new athletic director.

Being an AD at a major university is a complex job, but evaluating that AD is simple as can be: He either hires good football coaches, or he doesn’t.

Pederson is terrible at it. In fact, he’s become embarrassing at it.

Trust has evaporated for Pederson to make a good coaching hire, and trust is the essential ingredient of any relationship. That relationship has been frayed between Pitt, its students, its alumni, its donor and casual fans in our city. It’s time for chancellor Mark Nordenberg to take the action he should have taken in January after the Mike Haywood fiasco: Fire Pederson.

And do it soon. The program deserves better than to lose a potential top-20 recruiting class, and the new AD deserves a chance to do a far better job of finding the right coach.

>> I could go on and on about Todd Graham. Suffice it to say, after listening to his Arizona State news conference last night, he turns my stomach even more than he did at his introductory news conference for Pitt. And that’s saying something.

Some people are all about themselves. He smelled of that from Day 1 here, and he’ll stink of it forever now.

>> Where was Nordenberg, anyway?

He issued a statement supporting Pederson — a mistake, I’m betting, by the time this plays out — then sent Pederson out to face the media and had vice chancellor Jerry Cochran quoted in the press release.

This isn’t the time for delegating or ducking. It’s time for leadership.

>> I suggested two  names here yesterday, Dave Wannstedt for AD and Russ Grimm for coach. Most seemed to like those, but some complained that Wannstedt has no AD experience and that Grimm doesn’t have his degree from Pitt.

Neither should be a factor. If you can run an NFL franchise, as Wannstedt did in the major markets of Chicago and Miami, you can handle working out the swimming and softball schedules. ADs have tons of people working for them, handling administrator stuff. And Grimm could offer to take a course or two in his side time at the university. Wild idea, I know, but imagine the example he’d be setting on a lot of levels. Either that, or the university could dismiss that as totally irrelevant, which it is.

>> If you haven’t seen this yet, you’re welcome …


>> Our weekly chat is today at noon. Everyone except Penni Graham is welcome to participate. Entries can be submitted as early as 6 a.m.

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