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Morning Java: Pitt’s perfect marriage

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column looks back at some recent college football results and finally, formally concludes that Pitt made the right call with the ACC.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this, notably on one topic that isn’t covered in there: Can Pitt become an upper-echelon team in that conference?

>> Art Rooney II didn’t exactly blow the lid off the Steelers’ offseason playbook in his annual meeting with beat writers, but he did sound kind of a cryptic note regarding a Ben Roethlisberger extension. Alan Robinson was in the room.

>> The good Kris Letang has strikingly shown up for the Penguins in Western Canada. Josh Yohe reports from Edmonton, Alberta, and Matt Rosenberg does the page design above here in Pittsburgh.

Sidney Crosby as Captain Canada? He hopes so. Also by Yohe.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Oilers news from the Edmonton Journal.

Here are official game highlights from

>> The Dukes, winners of five in a row, take their A-10 opener behind yet another Ovie Soko gem. Chris Harlan reports from Palumbo.

>> Pitching prospect Luis Heredia is really growing up, according to our Rob Biertempfel, the only Pittsburgh reporter in Bradenton covering the Pirates’ minicamp.

Here’s some of what Big Luis had to say …

Also, here’s a bonus talk with Charles A. Morton IV

There’s much more in our full Pirates coverage.

>> Feel like agonizing over a Hall of Fame 99 percent of the nation will never see? Not me …

>> Penn State’s coaching search seems to focus on Vanderbilt’s James Franklin. Chris Adamski reports.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.


  1. With respect to the HOF, would like to see Murtaugh get in someday. With the new voting system when Managers only appear in the ballot whenever they get around to it, and three roids-era Managers getting in this year, who knows when he’ll be on the ballot again.

  2. PennLive reports indicate James Franklin has been offered the Penn State football coaching position by the search group and University President Erickson, who met with him yesterday in Destin, Fla. Franklin is now deciding whether to accept, and will presumably do so today.

    • With good to excellent programs, usually these things are worked out in advance.

      Meaning…”conceptual” offer extended and accepted before the “real” offer follows. (Often the conceptual offer and its rejection are leaked. See also: USC, Texas searches.)

      Meaning…Penn State MAY have extended a real offer WITHOUT a conceptual agreement.

      I am HOPING Franklin accepts.

      I am GUESSING that he will accept a sweet extension from Vandy.

  3. I can’t open the column in the app or web site.

    Must be that jinx crack.

    So anyway. I’m going to comment on just the teaser. Which is, you know, my thing.

    Good decision to join the ACC?

    Certainly. Now that the SEC has dropped to just the land of the very good, and the Pac12 has raised and maybe the Big12 is almost there, there are now a Big 4.

    Then a drop to the Big10.

    Then off the cliff to the American. If it is even next.

    So pitt is in a good-and-getting-better football conference.

    And oh, by the way. A conference can play a little basketball. One COULD make the argument that when combining the Top Two sports (“combining” is a totally arbitrary concept for sports blogs), the ACC is at least equal to the best conference.

    Can pitt be upper-echelon?

    MUCH too early for that Q. First question SHOULD be:

    Can pitt be a reasonably consistent Top 25 team?

    THAT is the next step, because they haven’t been there in YEARS.

    Let pitt get to an 8-4 / 9-3 Outback Bowl team. CONSISTENTLY.

    and THEN discuss the feasibility of taking the FOLLOWING step.

    • “I can’t open the column in the app or web site. ”

      jeez, Drewster, that’s worse than a BOLD REAMING!

      • I guess I can’t rank them since I can’t read the column.

        So from your perspective, you must view the Bold Reaming to be even worse than the column.

        I’m biting my tongue re the next, obvious line. Though maybe I should have done that regarding my last line.

        (Yes. I type with my tongue.)

  4. With all the hullabaloo on the blog yesterday about the HOF voting process, and how “broken” it is, I found this interesting:

    • ‘The most disgusting thing about this years’s vote? Maddux was left off 16 ballots.’

      I only caught the first few minutes of DK’s opening rant from his show yesterday (I’ll go back and listen to the whole thing..I promise).

      But I think this is the sort of thing he was talking about.

      MLB has to get together with the HOF and develop some guidelines for the voters. Then maybe all the voters will quit complaining….SO MUCH

      • Myself, I am with NMR, it doesn’t really affect me all that much. I just found it interesting after all the comments yesterday, and I thought I’d share :)

        • I was responding to the part in the article that mentioned it was ‘Disgusting’. There are ton of disgusting things in this world. Maddux left off any HoF ballots is not one of them.

      • With 571 voters, Maddux being left off of that few doesn’t surprise me. Gather that many people of any type and you’re bound to have some outliers.

      • This is what I meant yesterday when I was asking why everyone is suddenly so up in arms about Maddux. Yeah, he was a great pitcher. One of a list of great pitchers that never got 100% of the votes. Maddux was very, very good. He didn’t invent pitching.

        Ruth, Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Williams, Musial, etc. – no one close to 100%.

  5. JAL’s All I Have to Do IS Dream Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: When Should Players Change Positions?

    Injury Notes: Jones, Inman, Burnette, Brewer, Mathisen

    Andrew Lambo Looking Better at First Base Today

    6 MLB Draft Insider

    Top 14 in ’14: Pittsburgh Pirates

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pittsburgh writers’ Hall of Fame ballots

    Pirates dropping cartoon Pirate as primary logo

    8 WHY GAVS

    Thoughts on a quiet winter

    9 SB Nation

    Hall of Fame ’14 voting results: Time for the BBWAA to stop faking it

    10 Green Weenie

    1/7: Kitty, Ted Beard, Ducky, Kevin McClatchy…

    11 KDKA

    Andrew McCutchen Reflects on 2013 MVP Season

  6. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Pirates 101

    Who Will Be the Next Pittsburgh Pirate Inducted into Cooperstown?

    13 San Francisco Chronicle

    My Hall of Fame ballot, and why Ken Gurnick was half-right

    14 Amazin’ Avenue

    Lastings Milledge: Where is he now?

    15 Call to the Pen

    New York Mets May Be Forced To Hang Onto Ike Davis For Now

    16 New York Times

    Writer Gives Away Baseball Hall of Fame Vote to Deadspin

    17 Forbes

    Baseball’s Hall Of Fame Voting Is Broken

    18 Baseball Nation

    The dogmatic Lee Smith voters

    19 Fangraphs

    Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas Elected to Hall of Fame

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    A Vote for Transparency How Secret Ballots Skewed the Hall of Fame Election Results

  7. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers president Art Rooney II wants Ben Roethlisberger to remain with the Steelers

    The Yin and Yang of the 2013 Steelers: The No Huddle offense

    22 Steelers Gab

    If LeBeau Is Coming Back, Why Hasn’t It Been Declared Already?


    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Shooting in the Premier League: Suarez, Ramsey & Aguero’s Lead

    24 World Soccer

    Talk of winter World Cup in Qatar shocks FIFA man


    25 Pensburgh

    Will Sidney Crosby ever pass Mario Lemieux in points?

  8. Seems Jeff Zatkjoff is no dummy:
    Helpful advice

    Crosby had a conversation with goalie Jeff Zatkoff moments before Tuesday’s shootout. Crosby asked Zatkoff, who wasn’t playing, if Vancouver goalie Eddie Lack appeared vulnerable to anything in particular.

    Zatkoff suggested a shot between Lack’s legs would work. Crosby went with the advice and beat Lack cleanly with a wrist shot between the goaltender’s legs.

    TSN cameras caught Crosby smiling at Zatkoff as he skated back to the bench after the shootout tally in the Penguins’ 5-4 win.

    Taken from the link above Sidney Crosby as Captain Canada by Josh Yohe.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  9. Bobby Petrino back coaching football. The Hall of Fame is the Hall of Fame…whole bunch of never beens voting on who should be in there. The Pirates have officially retired the Jolly Roger and have gone with the P. What is going to be raised in the event of victories now? The Jolly P? Sounds Silly to me. Just another day in sports.

  10. “At some point we will do a contract, whether it’s this season, or after next season or the season after that,” Rooney said Wednesday. “I think Ben will be playing here beyond the current contract.”

    If Ben’s contract ends after the 2015 season the have to sign him before that. Why would you even take the risk of him getting to be a free agent?

    And I’m glad that Rooney publicly stated that the team will appeal if GODell tries to take a draft pick from them.

  11. Anyone see hawks/rangers game last night? Hope Disco & Co. did cuz i caught part of it and Saad looks like a monster out there…no pun intended :) They’re flat missing the boat if they don’t take him to sochi. Matter a fact i’m comfortable proclaiming that he’s the best hockey player we’ve produced…ever.

  12. Pitt absolutely made the right move in going to the ACC. While the overall quality top to bottom in football is a long way from the SEC I think the bowl results and FSU national championship show the ACC is a legit football conference. The Big East was disintegrating before our eyes and where would Pitt be now if they hadn’t made the move? AAC? 1,000+ mile road trips week after week like their former rival 70 miles to the south? I will say they are a long way from being an upper-echelon team in the conference but I do think they can be a consistent 8 – 9 game winner with the potential to contend. Let’s see what Chryst can do in the next year or two. While ACC basketball appears to be down this year, I think Pitt has already shown they will be an upper echelon team as they were in the Big East.

  13. I believe, whether intentional or not, it is a 2-pronged question as to whether Pitt can be an upper echelon team in the ACC. Football and basketball are separate. Pitt is already an upper echelon basketball program in the conference. In fact, the former BE Teams are the perfect infusion of energy at exactly the right time to boost the basketball fortunes of this conference. From a football standpoint, the conference, outside of FSU and Clemson, has a long way to go to develop programs and fan bases that rival the SEC. The commitment just isn’t there from the other schools yet, although several of them have a fertile recruiting area from which to build their programs if they choose to do that. Pitt can certainly compete in football in the ACC with any schools not named FSU and Clemson if they also choose to make a greater commitment than they have made thus far.

  14. Nice read in JAL’s links about Lastings Milledge.

    Something deep in the soul appreciates a story of redemption.

    Always thought Milledge was overrated by the prospectariat. And I thought the Mets and their veterans handled his first major league homer badly by publicly hanging him out to dry. He was one player who was definitely drafted by the wrong organization. Additionally, he did himself no favors by his adolescent behavior.

    That being said I hope he has turned his game, and more importantly, his life around in Japan. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life dealing with young people squandering their gifts and derailing their lifes. Some end up with tragic endings. Some turn it around. Here’s hoping Lastings is among the latter.

  15. And, as to the question of whether this was a good move in conferences for Pitt? Of course it was a no brainer. They are now with schools that compete in multiple sports, who all play big-time football, and who share similar academic pursuits in a footprint of the US that is mostly in a growth mode. There was a little bit of consternation at first, with rumors swirling that the SEC, B1G and Big 12 were going to carve up and divide the ACC in some fashion. But, I think that was mostly heresay and rumors begun by people who selfishly wanted that to happen, rather than there being any actual validity to it.

    The conference desperately needed to keep FSU and Clemson, for football reasons. They have definitely made that a priority, but it also helps that Florida and South Carolina would have vehemently fought any entry into the SEC by those schools. I also believe those schools came to the conclusion that while they may not make quite as much money as the top SEC schools in football from the ACC vs. what they would have received from the SEC, they also don’t have to fight their way to the BCS championship through a landmine of Alabama, Auburn, LSU, etc., etc. every year.

    This conference has a bright football future should it choose to pursue it. It is definitely poised to battle any conference for basketball supremacy going forward.

  16. There’s nothing more entertaining than bad NFL franchises hiring new coaches. The Redskins have settled on Jay Gruden. Guess if you couldn’t convince the brother he’ll do just fine. Hilarious. People in Cincinnati were hoping he’d go so they could get someone in there to develop Andy Dalton. And wait until he gets a load of R G Me. This guy (ha ha, get it ?) gets a job & Mike Zimmer still waits for a chance. And they’re keeping Jim Haslett who has completely butchered that defense. Unbelievable.

  17. Looks like I should’ve been here yesterday — but I’ll throw this out anyway.

    I think the hall of fame is getting watered down a bit just by the fact that there’s over 150 years of players to pick from. Lots of great ones.

    My standards would be simple:

    1. Will the casual fan view the player as a great one four or five generations down the road?

    2. Did he play the game with integrity? (It’s not a hall of infamy)

    The rest, of course, is highly subjective.

    I’d also like to see a hall within the hall — limited to a specific number of players — say a hundred or so and make them eligible a long time (30 years, 50 years?) after their elected. And if one gets voted in, then you have to a vote to remove one.

    Just a thought.


  19. How weird is life sometimes? Our kids had school off Monday and Tuesday due to snow and cold. My daughter arrived in her Media class yesterday (she’s a senior in HS), and her teacher asked if she would like to interview Cameron Diaz today. Apparently, she wrote a book about women’s health and their bodies (or something along those lines), and she is on a book tour where she frequents high schools to speak.

    I wish I had known early enough to get your suggestions for possible questions. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I think it is only going to be 5-10 minutes.

    • I want to know what gel she used in Something About Mary.

    • Seriously?
      That’s wild.

      • Yeah, isn’t that bizarre. It has been sort of a weird year in that way for both of my daughters.

        In December, the younger one (Sophomore) was able to go on stage in a concert at the local college in our town to sing back-up with her chorus group with Foreigner on “I want to know what love is.” Foreigner does some sort of promotion with the Grammys where they give out grants to schools. The high school where my kids attend won some award from the Grammys for having the top music program in the country. Anyway, they entered a contest and were selected by the band to take part on stage.

        That’s two pretty bizarre opportunities in a row. I’m half expecting my 12 year old son to come home today and tell me that Frank Thomas invited him to do his HOF induction speech in Cooperstown next summer.

        • That’s awesome, Jim!

          • It is, Jandy. Things like this just tend to spring up for my daughter. She’s just one of those kids who have neat opportunities presented to her.

            Once, when David Beckham first came to the US to play for the LA Galaxy, he played his first game in Chicago and it was a huge deal. Her coach at the time had a good friend who was the local Gatorade Rep. She got to be the Gatorade sideline kid, and sit on the bench with the players for the 2nd half. After the game, Beckham took off his jersey and threw it to her. It was funny, because some player on the Chicago Fire had just scored the winning goal in OT, and he was quoted in the Chicago Trib the next day saying, “I was so happy to score the winning goal against my idol, David Beckham’s team. I was hoping to get his jersey, but he gave it to some little girl.”

            That was a crazy scene getting out of there with that jersey. There were a lot of crazed soccer moms looking to get their hands on that jersey.

            I could tell you other things. She has lived a pretty charmed existence so far.

    • Don’t you wish it was “Take Your Dad to School Day” today.

    • Could I go with her and hold her clipboard?

      Maybe I could hold Cameron’s gum?

      • I see if I can get her “ABC” gum and send it to you, Groat.

        • Has Cameron put on a little weight? If she hasn’t, she might have a hard time with the interview……. she might get blown away. Her and Twiggy are 2 of the skinniest women I know…..

          • I don’t know about that, plan. But, I’ll see if I can get that info for you.

            I’ve never really been a fan of Cameron’s. As a dad, I have never really thought she was much of a positive role model for young girls. I’m pretty sure there is not much about raising kids where she and I are likely to agree. I’m just going by things I’ve heard her say in the past. I don’t know anything about this book, though.

  20. So the Pirates have “retired” the Jolly Roger. Hmmmm.

    So now after a win, Greg Brown can scream “Let’s Go Take a P” ??

    At least NOW we have found out what Frank does at the PBC.

    • LOL! Good one, Hipposter!

    • Wikipedia:
      The Jolly Roger is any of various flags flown to identify a ship’s crew as pirates that were about to attack.

      Greg Brown can still scream it after wins.

      There was talk during last season regarding changes to the logo.

      • I don’t think they’ll change the intro video. They’re still the Pirates and pirates have Jolly Rogers. Lets get back to the HOF wars.

      • 1) If you have to use Wikipedia as a source, I truly cannot help you.

        2) “The Jolly Roger is any of various flags flown to identify a ship’s crew as pirates that were about to attack.” So if the Jolly Roger is retired, does that mean the Pirates aren’t attacking any more? Or did they now become prisoners maybe?

        3) I know you don’t like me poking fun at your hero, but it was a joke, and it was funny. Lighten up, Francis !

        LET’S GO TAKE A “P” !!!

  21. I am a little slow about giving praise to Steve P. for the ACC move. I feel any AD in his shoes would have found Pitt a better conference to land in, given the eminent collapse of the Big East. The tea leaves were obvious as to the Big East’s collapse, so while Steve DID find a better home for Pitt, anyone in his shoes could have done so.

    Thank goodness he didn’t choose conferences the way he did football coaches…… I don’t think it would have been good to be in 4 conferences in 2 years…………….. ;)

    • I also believe the ACC sought out Cuse and Pitt. So, Stevie may have just been smart enough not to turn them down.

      They also had their eye on UCONN, but supposedly BC vetoed that.

      Remember how snubbed little Ricky Pitino was? He called Pitt and Cuse traitors, etc. Meanwhile, Louisville would have been thrilled to have been asked by the ACC originally. They tried to get into the SEC and probably others.

      I guess that is all forgotten now. Pitino is one of those guys who gets to say whatever he wants, throw grenades, etc. Or, do really terrible things. And, pretty quickly, it all gets forgotten and he is lavished with praise again.

      • Good points, Jim.

        I just think Steve P. was in the right place at the right time.

        • A definite possibility. If so, I’m glad he (or his assistant) picked up his phone the day that call came in.

          I don’t know one way or another how it came about, though. Maybe he did orchestrate the move.

  22. Have you seen the Luis Heredia video above?

    The way Neal Huntingdon wears that high necked t-shirt under his open-button polo shirt,
    I’ll bet he was beat up a lot as a little kid.

    At least given wedgies!

  23. Article from AJ Mass on ESPN’s site:

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are still waiting to hear back from A.J. Burnett as to his plans for the 2014 season, hoping that the veteran pitcher, who posted a 3.30 ERA over 30 starts last season will agree to return to the team.

    However, pitching coach Ray Searage told a Pittsburgh morning radio show that he believes that A.J. Burnett will choose retirement over coming back to the Pirates rotation for one last hurrah. “Right now I’m leaning that way, where he’s going to retire,” he said.

    Pirates team president Frank Coonelly recently told reporters that “we’d love to have A.J. back, have made it clear to him that he’s been a big part of what we were about over the last two years, and we’d love him to be part of the 2014 Pirates.” However, the Pirates may not be the only option for Burnett to consider.

    Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun says “the sense is that this is the guy the Baltimore Orioles want, but he’s their own personal Tanaka. They are waiting for the 37-year-old right-hander to decide whether he wants to pitch again.”

    Jerry Micco of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says he’s heard little on the Burnett front, “but that doesn’t mean there have not been talks between his people and the Pirates… If Burnett isn’t signed, they may need to go out and get more pitching. I’m not sure Edinson Volquez is going to pan out like Liriano did last year.”

    • “It’s the Pirates or retirement. Well, unless Baltimore meets my asking price.”

    • I heard the Searage interview on the Fan.

      He did NOT say Burnett will choose retirement.

      He did say at this date Searage needed to proceed as if AJ was retiring and set up his pitching accordingly.

      I still think Burnett wants more money from BMTIB and is not satisfied with what they have offered. Unless of course AJ’s agent flew into the Winter General Manager’s Meetings because he likes the shrimp cocktail served.

  24. So no one wants to counter column about tanger today?

    • Tanger is Jandy’s specialty, so I concede the floor to her.
      ( And the napkins) ………..

      • Wow.
        Pretty thorough for Bleacher Report……………. the Wikipedia of sports reporting………….

        • Hope this is not a double post!

          I’m no big fan of BR….but they do get to the main point, RS keeping the option to trade.

          I won’t go broken record again, but to say we have Letang at the expense of elite Ws for Crosby and Malkin.

          ANd that I do not believe his positives outwiegh his negatives, especially in playoffs.

          My perspective as a Goalie has much to do with how I see him.

        • Also they are FOS when they say he has value on the PP. He does not. As a QB he compares poorly to Paul Martin, and does not move the puck quickly or decisively enough. His SA/IQ is poor.

      • Sounds like they’re aptly named as it seems they have more experience in bleachers than on ice.

        What’s the goal and PP differential with our other top 4 dmen out? That column is more of a ink stain on the interwebs than an actually assessment of letang or his value.

        So we should trade letang cuz our GAA is 2.60 with him playing versus 2.42 with him out? Please…

    • What’s to counter? Kris Letang will make his own fate. He has the skill, now he needs to find the smarts to use it wisely. He HA improved, without a doubt. Will her continue that road? Will the regress to the “old” Tanger? You know what? I’m gonna be watching to find out :)
      (And no Hipposter, I don’t need a napkin) :P
      I’ve made several posts lately blasting him for bone-headed play.
      Let him prove himself.

      • Jandster, remember this stretch. Cuz a few weeks from now people are gonna feel silly for even suggesting we should consider trading him…

        • Oh I have an open mind, Monster mash. Remember, I’m the one who drools over him lol.
          As long as Tanger focuses on what he SHOULD do, and not on what he WANTS to do, he’ll be ok. Just like Depres did.
          Someone should have stepped in sooner and started the transformation.

          • Forwards used to be further up ice so he had room to rush the puck up to them. Now the forwards are closer and he needs to move puck quick up to them and THEN join the rush. He’s finally figured out the MM system and will light it up from here on out…

            Get your napkins ready :)

      • Oh man, my typing is atrocious. I gotta either work, or post…

  25. Just heard on Trib Radio Guy Junker noted in 1916 the NY Giants wore plaid uniforms…had to go look it up. Here is the link….

  26. Luis Heredia says in the video interview above that he has lost 40 pounds since last season. I think he said he went from a 42″ waist to a 36. He was not as good last season, and it might appear that appetite and/or food was the culprit. Excellent find and coaching to get him this committed.

    I need to say——I have been critical of 24/7 in the past, for his perceived commitment and work ethic.
    However, his videos have been TERRIFIC these last few days, and I like the increase of his articles in the Trib.

    I feel like his writing has even improved——longer articles, more digging, even more usage of adjectives and adverbs.

    Thank you, 24/7, for what you have already done and are continuing to do in informing us about this Pirate mini-camp. You are digging and hitting all the right notes.

  27. James Franklin to Penn State is done deal. Great hire.

    • Good luck to the man, he’ll need it.

    • I believe I called that last week. ;)

      I wish him well at PSU.

    • They landed arguably the most sought after coach in college football. Incredible hire for Penn State.

    • Very pleased, as I was with O’Brien. Hope I stay pleased for a longer time, along with the Lions faithful.

      • O’Brien left him a decent situation IMO, under the circumstances.

        • I’m not very knowledgeable about staff, but I heard about 6 or 7 other positions were vacated when O’Brien left, as they went with him. Will this happen with Franklin? Will he have people follow him to fill those vacancies?
          I’m really not that up on this stuff, but was curious.

          • I saw something yesterday that indicated Franklin’s assistants were already preparing for the move. No worries.

          • Count on it. Staff generally follow the HC – unless one or two of them get promoted at Vandy. If Vandy intends to promote one of the guys to HC, that guy and the AD will have to work with Franklin to allow a couple of guys to stay behind. Most coaches agree to that. That’s how it happened with Paul Chryst coming to Pitt.

        • When everything went down in 2011, I figured the next coach would be a sacrificial lamb of sorts. Take his lumps, run a clean program, and hand over the reigns to someone else who can rebuild.

          O’Brien blew that out of the water, huh?

          • As a Pitt alum, I am actually a little jealous of the reulst of Joyner’s search process. He kept it short, fairly simple, and in the end got a good coach.

            Compare this to Steve P., who only the good Lord knows what methods he used in hiring multiple coaches after firing Wannstedt.

            And, Steve P……… how is that firing of Wannstedt working out for you? Fire a Pitt guy, who got you 9-10 wins a year for the dreck of the past 3 years? Brilliant.

            • He averaged 7 wins per year. And according to Sports Illustrated, in 2010 Pitt was Numero Uno in player arrests.

              • I didn’t like the arrests part, for sure. And, I was never big on Wanny as a coach in the pros. But, I thought toward the end he was actually making some progress in the W column, 21. Maybe I’m mis-remembering. Recruiting seemed to also be on the uptick.

              • He was making some progress then won 7 in the year he was fired. Seemed like a real nice guy and I always felt that’s why people said he was a great recruiter, but I thought the results showed differently.

                22 arrests his last year there. Sometimes I think it’s just time to make a change instead of staying with the status quo. I felt that way about him, Walt Harris, Cowher. I’ll probably get that way with Tomlin but I’m not there yet.

            • I think Steve P used a search firm to hire Heywood.

        • O’Brien owes PSU nothing. What he did and left with PSU was and is, incredible.

  28. If the Pirates are getting rid of the Pirate guy logo, rather than going to just the P, I’d love to see a Pirate ship as a alternate/additional logo like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have. Or just the jolly roger flag. Something other than just P’s. I know that is the more traditional baseball look, but something more than just a P.

  29. Great story about Greg Maddux’s pitching philosophy. I think he used the “K.I.S.S.” method. Late movement, change speeds, locate well. Maddux makes it sound so simple. But, it really isn’t.

    • What always amazed me about Maddux was that he could make the same pitch in the same spot 80 times in a game, game after game, season after season. Location was incredible.

      • He was something special, Damon. Personally, I always thought the thing he had going for himself the most was that extremely late movement. Everyone would kill to have that, but very few can do it. Just when the righty batter would give up on that outside pitch, it would tail right back into the outside corner – which, for Maddux was often still about 4″ off the actual outside corner.

        I bet if he actually threw harder, he might have lost the late movement.

        But, he was definitely a master craftsman.

  30. The latest reports have indicated that James Franklin is expected to become the next Penn State Coach although it’s not final as of yet.

  31. I didn’t get to read all of the posts today in regarding to the Pirates logo change, but my quick thoughts: I am ok with dropping the “Pirate/Jolly Roger” and just going with the “P” for the primary graphic. The “P” to me has been been a part of this organization for as long as I can recall. It’s plain and simple. I understand that this is partially about marketing and selling jerseys and other merchandise. And, even more so, if this team plays ball like they did in 2013…people will buy anything Pirates related. Hope everyone is doing well today!

  32. Just for a change of pace, this is the first time I have ever heard of being killed by a wedgie!

  33. I’m confused. The Pirates tweeted that they plan to keep the Jolly Roger art as a patch on their uniforms.

    They have changed the Primary logo to the P.

    I’m good. Didn’t understand the first time.

    • What I don’t get is the writer thinks Tom Jurich, Louisville AD, is somehow above hiring coaches based solely on wins and losses. He kept Pitino around after his scandal, and I don’t think it was because Rick keeps his kids on the straight and narrow. He has now hired Petrino twice, and the first time it ended with Petrino denying he was interviewing with Arkansas before taking that job. I hope Louisville gets exactly what it deserves again.

      Jamie Dixon may not have gotten Pitt to any Final Fours yet, and Paul Chryst may never get Pitt to the BCS Final Four. But, I can’t see either of them needing to show up at a press conference in a neck brace and lying about their motorcycle accident and who else was involved.

      • Well, maybe they don’t ride motorcycles? ;)

        I agree with you to a point on the Petrino hire, but why would the AD re-hire him after what he did to Louisville the first time? Just makes no sense to this member of the peanut gallery……………

  34. As for the Pirates, well, I’m of the feeling that if they’d really expected AJ Burnett to come back, they would never have signed on Edison Volquez in the first place.

  35. My daughter’s interview with Cameron Diaz apparently went swimmingly. She says it was a blast, and she was very nice. Maybe another mega star will pop into town for her next assignment. You know, like Sam Ryan, or Kathryn Tappen. Someone sports related this time.

  36. Vandy making one last push to keep Franklin ? Probably.

  37. Dejan,

    Didn’t get to read your column until now. I enjoyed the thought process very much.

    Whether it was John Swofford, ACC Commissioner (dang crap Carolina grad), Steve Pederson, or Chancelor Nordenberg who made the initial contact——my guess is the latter——it was a move of foresight. The ACC is the pre-eminent conference for football and basketball on the East Coast, and Pitt was wise to run, not walk, to get involved.

    Right now Pitt could be UConn, like a man without a country; or Rutgers, who will get their paydays but the vast majority of their games will be 900 miles away.

    Pitt and the ACC . . . . perfect match . . . . especially on Monday, January 27 at the Pete. I already have my ticket!

    • 6-4-3

      Agree 100%. Don’t care whose idea or who gets credit. The ACC and Pitt are a great match on both the athletic and academic fronts.

  38. Le Batard permanently stripped of his HoF vote by the BBWA.


  39. Good lord, the sanctimonious air about anything to do with the baseball HOF is tiresome (not referring to any comments here). Glad it’s over for another year and I won’t have to think about it again until early January 2015.

    It’s not Paradise and the BBWAA is not St. Peter.

    DK: You’re wrong. It’s the most important thing in the world. Offenders must be punished. Those who fill out ballots we don’t like must be hunted down. We need a ‘national discussion’ on this, as Tim Kurkjian warned a weary nation Wednesday. Yes. A national discussion.

    • How about them Bucks and Sixers???? ;)

      • Since 1984, the ACC has sent 23 teams to the Final Four. Take away Duke (11) and North Carolina (8), and the league has sent 4 teams.

        The Big East has sent 17 teams to the Final Four since 1984.

        The Big East has had 7 National Champions with 5 different teams.

        The ACC has had 8 National Champions with only 3 different teams. (That third team is on its way to the Big).

        Had the Big East remained in tact, I think it is a push between the 2 conferences in basketball with an edge to the Big East based on the diversity of teams involved in its success.

        I would have preferred Pitt had joined the Big. I no longer get to see them play at Marquette.

      • Sorry, Plan, that wasn’t supposed to be a reply. The Bucks ? Stink. Hope Parker is playing for them next year. Watched KU and OSU last night. A lot of people have compared Wiggins to Durant.

        Uh no……

  40. Not sure if I believe that Hines Ward is a Hall of Famer. Great clutch receiver, and his blocking was legendary. But in dynamic plays like the big, big play, Ward was never outstanding! And defenses, while having to respect Ward, never had to exactly game-plan for him.

    DK: Welcome, Howie!

  41. Some good reporting on what’s going on in the PSU / Franklin matter.

  42. Boy, for all that money they put into re-doing Pauley Pavillion, making it look really really nice, there are sure a lot of empty seats there to see the Broonz play #1 Arizona.

    Just sayin’.

    • I follow UCLA closely despite them hiring Alford. Would like to see them beat the Cats.

      Big fan of the Bruins cheerleading squad. All aspiring actresses and sideline reporters.

      Did not know Bill Walton still got work.

  43. I think Walton is high ! He’s all over the place. Hilarious.

    • He might be high, with all the meds he still takes thanks to his 100 surgeries for those legs and feet.

      Shame is, he used to be a very good analyst back when he did NBA games.
      Now, not so much.

  44. Norm Nixon reference !

  45. Boy, Arizona is a solid club. First time I’ve seen them this year. Like their coach.

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