January 11, 2011

Graham Wins the Press Conference

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Graham,Media — Chas @ 10:01 pm

Judging by the Tweets and comments, new Pitt Head Coach Todd Graham made a lot of people feel more than really good about the hire. Excited, thrilled, juiced. His energy was palpable. Apparently it also extended to some of the players as there are reports that Cameron Saddler and Ray Graham both phoned into The Fan to express their own excitement over Todd Graham.

There is no way to avoid the comparisons to the Mike Haywood presser last month. Where Haywood was really brief — the whole press conference clocked in at 25 minutes with AD Steve Pederson speaking for more than five minutes, this one went a bit over 35 minutes with a very short intro by Pederson.

Where Haywood was stoic (stone-faced?) and spoke only of discipline and molding young men; Graham was animated and spoke openly of wanting to win championships.

Graham was glib and ready for nearly any question. About the only time he looked even momentarily flummoxed was when one reporter asked him about his comments the previous week, “You know, my wife informed me that if I go anywhere I’ll be going by myself. So, that’s a little hard for me right now being 46. I don’t really want to do that.”

It took him  a moment there. I don’t know if he was surprised that anyone up in Pittsburgh saw that quote, or if he just expected softball questions in his introductory presser. He did recover, to essentially say that they talked a lot about it and made the decision. Unsaid was that the money helped.

Graham set the bar high for himself. No question. Recruiting rivals loved throwing out the “wall around Western Pennsylvania” quote from Wannstedt’s opening presser every time a decent recruit from the WPIAL didn’t choose Pitt. No doubt plenty of people have filed away some of Graham’s quotes.

Whether it was about winning — the Big East, a BCS bowl, BCS Championship — or about whether he is a short-termer looking for a bigger team/deal, “Just watch and see.” We will and plenty of others will as well.

He also stated that the 2011 recruiting class isn’t salvageable, it will be the finest class (in the Big East? Pennsylvania? Ever? In hindsight? He didn’t say). He and his staff are ready to get out recruiting. He has hired a bunch of guys from DickRod’s Michigan/WVU staff. Something that can only help in recruiting.

In fact, he stated that while there are still a couple coaching spots unfilled, it was vital to get seven spots filled immediately so they can get out on the road recruiting.

I’m calling it now. The Spring Game is going to have its biggest turnout — ever.

God damn it, I told the Panther Club to keep that on the down low. Thats the last ime I open my checkbook that wide.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.12.11 @ 3:09 pm

Comment by BigGuy 01.12.11 @ 3:17 pm

One guy gives 100k (which I think was a made up story) there are at least 10 people like me who give at least 5k a year that are withholding their donations until steve goes.

There are also quite a few who give 75k + who are withholding their donations until steve goes.

Ditka gives big money as does Dorsett, Fralic, May and Marino. All of them have said they are not giving as long as steve is there.

steve should have never been brought back the second time, so it’s time for steve to go.

steve must go and go now.

Comment by WH-Lovin' MEDIOCRITY' 01.12.11 @ 3:33 pm

By the way, let me say that I bleed blue and gold. I have for 44 years. I LOVE my school and always will.

I support my school and will continue to support my school, but I have to in good conscious withhold my money from the athletic department until steve is gone. I do not feel that it is in the best interest of the school for him to remain and I do not feel that he has served this school to the best of his ability. Truth be told, I don’t think he has the ability to take this program into the future.

After his first go round, I was appalled when they brought him back. He was run out of his home state on a rail just short of being tarred and feathered. If he did that to his alma mater, what makes you think he really cares about this program?

I support the new coach and I hope that he will take this team to the level that Dave couldn’t. Because of that, I will keep my six end zone seats, but will drop my club seats.

Until steve is shown the door, I cannot in good faith contribute anymore money to the program.

I still love the school and still bleed blue and gold but will not tolerate steve any more.

Hail to Pitt

Comment by WH-Lovin' MEDIOCRITY' 01.12.11 @ 3:44 pm

[…] As a Pitt alum and decade-long season ticket holder (who now teaches at WVU), I felt a sense of foreboding and familiarity when I read this anecdote.  Pederson’s back in charge at Pitt, and seems to have weathered the disaster of a head coaching search he just completed. […]

TG is saying the right things:

Dear Panthers Fan,

It is an honor and privilege to be your football coach at the University of Pittsburgh!
As I write this, I am not even 24 hours into my new job. But I wanted to reach out to you – the driving spirit behind the Panthers – to introduce myself and express my excitement in joining this outstanding university.

As I entered our practice facility yesterday, I was immediately struck by the awesome tradition that is Pitt football. It is a tradition of commitment and honor — and championships. Before I was a football coach I was a football fan, so it was a powerful moment for me to stand in front of the glass-encased lockers of John Majors and Mike Ditka, two men I’ve long admired for how they played and how they coached.

As Pitt’s new head coach, I am very aware of Pitt’s tremendous legacy. It is my promise that we will honor Pitt’s great tradition and work to build upon it. I believe there isn’t a football program in the country that has more potential for future greatness than the University of Pittsburgh.

I wanted to share with you our goals for Pitt football. They are, in order:

Produce men of character and integrity. If we don’t achieve this goal, then we can never reach our other aspirations.
Graduate every single one of our players. I want every young man who comes under our watch to earn their degree from this prestigious university.
Win the Big East Championship. It is our goal to bring home the Big East title on an annual basis.
Win a BCS Bowl. When competing on college football’s biggest stage we want to shine.
Win the national championship. We know this to be the standard for Pitt and Pittsburgh!
Nothing great is accomplished in this life without teamwork. Our players and coaches need you – the Pitt Family – to help us achieve our lofty goals. I know you share our championship vision and we look forward to working with you to make those championship moments, on and off the field, a reality.

Tuesday’s press conference was an incredibly memorable moment for my family and me. But as soon as it was done, I immediately went to the film room to begin analyzing top recruiting prospects for this class. The quest for greatness begins today.

Again, I’m honored to be your head coach. Thank you for your support and “Hail to Pitt!”


Todd Graham
Head Football Coach
University of Pittsburgh

Comment by BigGuy 01.12.11 @ 5:17 pm

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