December 19, 2014

Forget the AD for Now

Filed under: Athletic Department,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:40 am

I’m going to take another run at spelling something out. There is no way Pitt hires an Athletic Director before hiring a football coach. None. Nada. Zip. Hiring an AD is an executive level position that takes time. It isn’t a short list the Chancellor keeps in his drawer for when the time comes.

While the impulse is to think of it as a pro sports analogy as a GM, and you need to have the GM in place before hiring a coach, it doesn’t work in this situation.


December 18, 2014

The Day After

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Hire/Fire,Rumors — Justin @ 10:26 am

As the dust settles on one of the most eventful days Pitt Football has had in a long time, reflection feels unnecessary. The removal of Steve Pederson as Athletic Director was just as much about the future of Pitt as it was the past. While the questionable decisions of his tenure will never be fully vetted, the future suddenly looks a little brighter. Pitt Football looks ready to take a step up. The status quo was no longer acceptable to Chancellor Gallagher. The hope Dave Wannstedt brought when he promised a return to prominence doesn’t seem crazy anymore. While the who, how, when, and if are still up in the air, at least the questions feel like there could be an answer soon. (more…)

December 17, 2014

Wisconsin upstages Pitt’s basketball game with a press conference to announce Paul Chryst as their new head coach? Fine, bring that knife. Pitt brought a gun.

Steve Pederson’s second tenure running the athletic department ended abruptly Wednesday when Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced a “change” in leadership, according to a university news release.

The announcement was made at 7 p.m., precisely when Wisconsin was introducing Paul Chryst as its new football coach, officially ending his three-year run with the Panthers.

Pederson, 57, was let go with four years left on his contract. The buyout will cost Pitt more than $2 million. Pederson made $577,083 in 2013 before signing a five-year extension that June. In 2013, he was Pitt’s fourth-highest paid employee.

Pederson and Gallagher said the decision was “mutual.”

“With major decisions to be made about the future of football, I thought it was in the best interest of the University of Pittsburgh for Chancellor Gallagher to assemble his own team,” Pederson said in a statement.

And I have a bridge to sell you if you think this was mutual.


Open Thread: Manhattan-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:39 pm

Basketball? Anyone? There’s nothing else happening at the same time as far as I’m concerned.

I wish I could tell you more about this game, other than the cursory stuff you can read for yourself in the local media piece from today. Just been a bit preoccupied.

Game tips at 7pm. Curses that it is online only on

Time To Really Look

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:04 am

So Wisconsin has a press conference set for 6pm Central Time (7pm for those of us in the East) this evening.

Bastards. Just happens to be the same time Pitt tips against Manhattan, and I would always rather be focused on an actual game than all the other stuff.

On the bright side, there is no surprise at this point. No abrupt departure or hastily arranged press conferences. This has been the week-long build since Gary Andersen stunned Badgers everywhere by making the move to Oregon State.


December 16, 2014

Just A Matter of Time

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:00 am

That’s what it feels like right now. Just waiting for the Wednesday deadline so the mandated charade can be ended.

Oh, Paul Chryst was down in Fort Worth for a couple hours to plug the Armed Forces Bowl. Ostensibly to promote the game and try and sell tickets. The press conference, however, had no live stream (or recording for later) and no transcript was available. Man, even Birmingham was better prepared than this.

Still in a bowl game that will likely have two interim coaches running the show, perhaps no real record is for the best.


December 14, 2014

Just Say NO

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 11:32 am

As we wait for Wednesday and ultimately whether Paul Chryst returns to Madison, there is no way not to speculate on who could get the job.

That means listing possibilities. Listing pros and cons and all that. That’s boring after a while. And let’s face it, it is done by so many. So, in an effort to shake things up, I’m just going to list some of the names that get tossed out there that should not be allowed anywhere near the Pitt head coaching job.

These are just some of the bad calls that should be met with eye rolls and a dismissive wave.


December 13, 2014

Open Thread: Bonnies-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:11 pm

2 pm ESPNU

St. Bonaventure is off to a strong start. Coming off a NCAA Tournament appearance last year, they are 6-1 with a nice road win over Ohio U. It’s a team with a good deal of confidence. They are run by former Robert Morris head coach Mark Schmidt.

Pitt, meanwhile, gets their first game back at the Pete in a month. Not to mention a healthy Cameron Wright. Coach Jamie Dixon isn’t fooling around on making sure the players know there is some pressure to play well from the start.

In his mind, there might be legitimate reasons the Panthers have struggled to start the season, but they aren’t relevant now — especially since they got their most experienced player, Cameron Wright, back in the mix after he missed 10 weeks with a broken bone in his foot.

“We need to get right into this,” Dixon said. “I mean, we can make all the excuses we want, but we have to get right into it and get going. We have had five practices, we can’t have any more excuses.

“We can’t have any more reasons for coming up short; we have to figure it out. I think we are fine. It can’t be a thing of ‘Well, we aren’t playing good because Cam has only been playing with us for five days.’ That can’t be a thought, a reason — it can’t be an excuse, it has to be seamless.”

A little more public bite from Dixon this year.


Quick Decorum Reminder

Filed under: Admin — Chas @ 10:21 am

Folks, I know that there are a lot of comments flying with the football stuff. Emotions are tending to rise and fall — mostly rising at this point. I also know there are a lot of new people trying to comment.

With that in mind…

1. Don’t be an ass. You are not speaking truth to power. You are not the only one who sees things clearly and the rest are idiots and blind sheep. I have to be honest. It’s been a long season, and I’ve tried to let things go, but several people are coming up to the line where I have had enough of it and will start banning people to bring things under control.

2. If you are new and you don’t see your comments showing up in discussion it is because I missed them or haven’t approved them. New comments are held for review to make sure that they aren’t spam, from previously banned commenters trying to slip in under a different email, and just for appropriate content. Drop me an e-mail if you are concerned: pitblather-at-gmail-dot-com

3. In that vein, insulting me or any of the other writers, slash complaining in the comments that you are being banned or censored won’t help you in getting the comments approved. I’m more than happy to let you believe you are a victim.

4. Sock-puppetry will almost certainly result in being called out and immediately banned.

Hopefully that will cover it.

Justin had the run down/recap of where things stand. It’s… weird. And a bit uncomfortable.

We were all certain Chryst was gone yesterday morning. Now we are mostly certain. Thanks to the job posting laws for what is ostensibly a state job in Wisconsin, the hiring of Chryst can’t happen until at least Wednesday, December 17 — Happy Hanukkah everyone. (Yes, I know it starts the evening before but it is the first full day so roll with it.)

That means Chryst and Pitt is in a weird place. Pitt can’t fire him, because then they lose whatever buyout remains on his originial five-year deal. Not to mention, they can’t take the chance that somehow the Wisconsin thing falls through and suddenly they have to keep paying Chryst.

Conversely, Chryst can’t really resign because he doesn’t really have a job yet. He may have assurances and belief that the Wisconsin job is his, but there is nothing smart about giving up the present job until is a reality. So both sides have to pretend that the status quo is as it was a week prior. Even if everyone just wants a quick resolution so things can move forward.


December 12, 2014

It has been a crazy day. I woke up to text messages, Facebook posts, and tweets that all say Chryst is gone. While this is still the likely scenario, there’s a tinge of hope. Let’s go over some facts of what we know:

  1. Chryst is a candidate for the Wisconsin job and at worst the leader for the job. Most reports indicate the job is his if he accepts if he hasn’t already.
  2. Wisconsin cannot formally announce a hire until Wednesday due to some legal job posting rule, so no formal announcement can occur until then.
  3. Chryst met with Chancellor Gallagher and only Gallagher today. Pederson was not a party in this meeting.
  4. Chryst attended practice today with the team and a meeting was held before. At this meeting he did not tell the team he was leaving.
  5. Jordan Whitehead said he’s still committed to Pitt. This isn’t relevant to any of the above other than THANK YOU BABY JESUS!!!

Take all of that in. What could it all mean? (more…)

And so it seems the era of Chryst ends with the balance and even keel he preached. A 19-19 record after three years. Perfect balance.

I can’t be particularly angry at Chryst for choosing to go back to his alma mater. His state. Where all his ties are. I can be pissed at everything else around it, but not the decision.

It’s just hard to believe that with such “meh” results, Pitt is staring at yet another coaching search. I had hoped that if the program had to start looking this soon it would be because of success. Not Wisconsin giving Pitt a run for its dysfunction.

Technically it is not official. Yet, it seems to be all but. Paul Chryst will leave Pitt and return to Wisconsin.


December 10, 2014

The Wisconsin Thing

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire,Rumors — Chas @ 9:03 pm

Last week Nebraska surprised everyone with the hire of Mike Riley from Oregon State to replace Bo Pelini. That was a stunner no one saw coming. That is until late this afternoon when Oregon State hired Dave Andersen from Wisconsin.

Now, Wisconsin has to hire a new coach and Paul Chryst sits right smack dab in the middle of the speculation.

Just as it made sense for speculating on him when Bielema left for Arkansas two years, ago it still holds true today. A native of Wisconsin. Lots of ties to the AD and the school itself. And in much the same way Ohio State fans held Walt Harris in higher esteem than many Pitt fans did after a time, Wisconsin fans still hold Paul Chryst in a semi-revered status for his work as an OC.


Pressure For All In 2015, Part 1

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 8:41 am

That Pitt rallied enough to finish 6-6 and gets to play in a minor bowl is a bit of a positive. At the same time, it can’t be said that this was a good season. It wasn’t a debacle — though, it sure came close — but it was a definite step back. How much of a step back is really one that won’t be settled until next year.

When Pitt was sitting at 4-6, it was looking with a high degree of certainty that Pitt would finish the year having taken a big step backwards. With an easier schedule, Pitt was performing worse and it showed in the wins and losses.

The season felt over before Thanksgiving. Pitt would probably beat Syracuse, but going down to Miami seemed like a waste at that point. Pitt football was remaining in the doldrums.

A bit from USA Today writer Dan Wolken from his weekly Misery Index on Pitt at that point probably summed up the fears/feelings growing in a lot of fans.


December 9, 2014

Pitt Basketball Breaks for Finals

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:47 am

This is not what has been a “typical” Pitt basketball season just 8 games in. Only two games at the Pete through the second week of December. Three quality opponents faced in the non-con. Three losses in the non-con. So, while finals are happening and the team is off until Saturday, there is a chance to look at a few things regarding this team.

What the hell, I’ll steal borrow from Reed’s three positives and three negatives football thing for this one.


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