January 8, 2014

The Unqualified Hire

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 10:00 pm

It is permissible to like Paul Chryst as a coach at Pitt and still hate hiring decisions. That is the state I find myself once again this offseason.

Ross Kolodziej, who played seven years in the National Football League following a distinguished collegiate career at Wisconsin, has been named head football strength and conditioning coach at Pitt, it was announced by Coach Paul Chryst today.

Kolodziej (pronounced ka-la-gee) was promoted to the post after serving the Panthers as an assistant strength and conditioning coach this past season.

I said it on Monday that this would be a bad hire, based purely on his resume.

I stand by that, as even the press release couldn’t do much to buttress his experience or credentials.

Kolodziej still holds Wisconsin weight room records for a defensive player in the squat and clean. He also holds defensive lineman records in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and pro-agility drill.

“The 2014 season starts on Thursday when we begin our offseason training program and I’m excited that Ross will be leading this very important area,” Chryst said. “This is a well-earned opportunity for him and I know he is going to make a significant impact. Our players are equally enthusiastic about getting back to work. We’re looking forward to a highly productive offseason.”

A two-sport athlete in college, Kolodziej was a shot putter at Wisconsin and a member of the Badgers’ 2000 and 2001 indoor and outdoor track and field Big Ten championship teams.

A seventh-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2001, Kolodziej played seven seasons in the NFL and two more in the United Football League (UFL). In addition to the Giants, he spent time with the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. His most productive NFL season came in 2005 when he started 14 games for Arizona’s top-10 defensive unit.
He played with the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives in 2009 and 2010. A team captain, he helped the franchise to two league championships.

During the 2009 offseason, Kolodziej was a full-time strength and conditioning intern at Wisconsin. The following offseason, he worked with the Badgers as a defensive graduate assistant.

He owns a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Wisconsin and also has a certification in USA weightlifting, level 1.

So the “offseason internship” is a new addition. Obviously very important considering his old Wisconsin GA bio didn’t bother mentioning either internship stint.

Here were a couple other S&C Coaches from lower-level D-1 programs I pulled as comparisons. Let’s make this an open challenge. There are 120+ other 1A football programs. Can anyone find a S&C Coach less qualified?

This is why this is even different — and a worse hire than Matt House as DC. At least House had a resume and some experience. He wasn’t hiring for a position that requires more than coaching experience.

Kolodziej has one year as an assistant for a position that usually calls for certifications, education, knowledge and experience. Despite becoming an assistant last year he has added none beyond his weekend course in beginner level weightlifting coaching. He has not gotten CSCS ceritification — which is a basic prerequisite for athletic trainers (because, given how thin that bio is, you know it would have been mentioined). He hasn’t been taking any courses at Pitt related to training or kinesiology. At any other program, he wouldn’t even get an interview because of his lack of qualifications. At Wisconsin, because you know, Wisconsin — even the assistants have more experience and education.

This isn’t an inexperienced hire. This is a thoroughly unqualified hire. I find it reckless and dangerous for the players. They may like him a lot, but his job is much more than motivating and getting players to like him. He has to know what they can do. Know their limits.

Kolodziej may have been fantastic in the weight room as a player at Wisconsin. He may have understood exactly how far he could take his own body. But that doesn’t mean he knows what to do with the limits — mental and physical — of others.

This is not about Pitt being cheap. This is a honking huge neon sign showing one of the biggest flaw in Coach Chryst as head coach. His preference to only hire from within his known circle. To promote a very unified staff, and not wanting to risk anything to disrupt it to the point of absurdity. This is so clearly his hire. His guy.

We know he’s not wild about recruiting in terms of selling. But it is also apparent he has no stomach for networking. Of reaching out and working too far beyond a small circle.

this is 100 percent right and i have pointed this out for days the only thing that he had was he played at wisconsin but blame are AD for giveing the ok for the hire.

Comment by Frankcan 01.08.14 @ 10:06 pm

INFO i have worse news then that football scoop thinks coach franklin flew to penn state to night if he took the job we are toast any way.
and the strength coach wont make a difference who he is.
franklin will recruit any player he wants he will kill chryst in recruiting he is that good.
chryst could hang with golden but not with franklin

if franklin comes get used to liveing on 2 star recruits he will take every thing else.

Comment by Frankcan 01.08.14 @ 10:12 pm

fc, I agree Franklin would be a good hire, but on the other hand, if Roman was hired, it would be just about guaranteed that Engram would be leaving Pitt

Comment by wbb 01.08.14 @ 10:19 pm

Well Chas, it seems like you are right.

Surely there will be much (additional) weeping and gnashing of teeth on this blog.

All we can do is lash out with impotent rage. As Pitt (Football) fans, it seems this is our lot in life.

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

hail to shit.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 01.08.14 @ 10:24 pm

Wbb first the strength coach hire was bad want stay with the post some what.
my point abought franklin is engram wont make a difference if it is franklin he will take the players he wants. and engram can be here or not if he is he will be coaching 2 stars or any player penn state does not want and that is all.

so once agein penn state will be one up on us and i hate the thought hate it.

Comment by Frankcan 01.08.14 @ 10:28 pm

and you know what chryst dumb hires dont help things

Comment by Frankcan 01.08.14 @ 10:30 pm

frankcan, PC may or may not struggle against Franklin but Penn State is still in the middle of nowhere and has always wiped the floor with us recruiting wise. We will continue to get several of the top PA players just like we always have.

On the positive side, if any recruit has a sister or a mother, Franklin will likely have to explain why he is testifying in or recently testified in a rape cover up trial by his staff at Vanderbilt. Not to mention the fact that he will be coaching in the NFL in three years if he has any success.

Step away from the ledge, my friend.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 01.08.14 @ 10:34 pm

Just one man’s opinion, but I actually think Ross Kolodziej is going to be a fantastic coach. He’s one of those “learning from experience” guys as opposed to “learning in the classroom” guys…but seriously who cares if he has a piece of paper…As long as there are respected people in the profession who think this guy is legit (and I assure you there are) They’re just not commenting on blogs and twitter. I trust their opinion. On the surface it looks bad, I get that Chas, but I’m telling you, this is a good hire and Pitt will see the benefits sooner than later.

Comment by Gordo 01.08.14 @ 10:40 pm

You have to love Twitter (sorry GC).

Brand Snedaker just offered James Franklin free golf lessons for life if he stays the Vanderbilt coach.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 01.08.14 @ 10:40 pm

I had seen the same post earlier about the flight into State College. I would have preferred Golden to get the Penn State job. If they do indeed hire Franklin, were probably going to do so anyway. Joyner is no dummy, he probably paid lip service to the faction who wanted a Penn State guy. They didn’t hire a Penn State alumnus the first time around either. O’Brien saved their football program.

Comment by Justinian 01.08.14 @ 10:41 pm

“Can anyone find a S&C Coach less qualified?”

And yet Cornhole signed off on this.

PC seems to do everything to make you question his thought process (or lack thereof) on a lot of different levels.

I’m not much into cronyism. Sorry !

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 10:42 pm

Welp, PSU lost their entire football staff tonight except for three coaches, Johnson, the OL coach and the TE Coach. Everyone else is gone. This will lead to desperation by the PSU Admin to get a deal done now and not worry about consequences of the hire.

Franklin may be good, but he is also a short timer at PSU. The PSU jobis a no brainer. If you win, you are a miracle worker given the sanctions. If you lose, the sanctions hurt too much. This is why O’Brien could be so cocky. He knew he was in a win/win but the window was only going to be open for 4 years. Franklin coming in on the end of that can be problematic for Franklins future.

If he is successful, it will be because of Obriens recruits (Hackensack, TEnder, etc.). If he loses it will be that he is terrible. Franklins nfl window is about 2-3 years. I agree he will lie about the rape and actually cover it up. If the Pittsburgh media was on top of this, they would report that a person that covers up rape would be a pr nightmare at an institution where rape was covered up for 20 years. And for those that say it only happened for ten years, you are wrong. PSU will also get the largest DOJ Clery fine…..ever! It is coming. I have some insight there. PSU will be all over the news in a negative way….again. Probably by summer!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 01.08.14 @ 10:46 pm

CNorwoodAZ if you think penn state kicked are ass in recruiting before it well be nothing compared to what this man can do i just hope football scoop is wrong.
and on paper this strength coach hire is worse then the house hire for DC that is how bad it is on paper any way.

Comment by Frankcan 01.08.14 @ 10:47 pm

“This isn’t an inexperienced hire. This is a thoroughly unqualified hire. I find it reckless and dangerous for the players. ”

Hey no problem Chas, Pitt players can be used a guinea pigs for this guy to gain some experience for his resume.

We only a Freshman All-American and a stud RB that he can experiment on. Not to mention, the 4, 4 star recruits we have coming in.

So what was it,,,,,,,he came cheap ????

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 10:48 pm

Just one man’s opinion, but I actually think Ross Kolodziej is going to be a fantastic coach. He’s one of those “learning from experience” guys as opposed to “learning in the classroom” guys…but seriously who cares if he has a piece of paper…As long as there are respected people in the profession who think this guy is legit (and I assure you there are) They’re just not commenting on blogs and twitter. I trust their opinion. On the surface it looks bad, I get that Chas, but I’m telling you, this is a good hire and Pitt will see the benefits sooner than later.
Comment by Gordo 01.08.14 @ 10:40 pm

So other than your opinion and the fact we’ve never seen you post before. What leads you to believe this is a ‘good hire’.

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 10:53 pm

Comical just comical.

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 10:54 pm

I am with chas this is a bad hire as as i said on paper this is a worse hire then house.
little or allmost no experience for a head strength coach.
if chryst fails it will be his sick need for his people to have a tie to wisconsin insted of hireing the best coach he can who cares were they are from

Comment by Frankcan 01.08.14 @ 10:55 pm

What Wisconsin has lost 4 straight bowl games.

Even got beat by non-BCS TCU.

You see how TCU is doing in the Big 12 right.

Zilch !

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 11:01 pm

I’m not going to sweat Franklin at PSU too much from the recruiting angle.

As we saw with BOB, Pitt (and other schools) are going to lose recruits to Penn State simply because it’s Penn State and that’s where these kids have wanted to play. To a large number of these kids from PA, particularly those on the eastern side of the state, Penn State will always be a destination program the same way Ohio State is a destination program to a lot of kids from Ohio.

A lot of these kids don’t care about the scandal. They don’t care about the sanctions or the lost postseasons. By the time this 2014 class of commitments is halfway through their collegiate careers, the sanctions and post-season bans will be completely in the rear-view mirror.

Whatever. I want to see Chryst keep local/PA kids here, but he also needs more than PA to win in the ACC. And like CNorwoodAZ said, he’ll still get his share of local and PA kids.

Chryst’s bigger concern should be establishing Pitt as a presence within the ACC footprint. I’d much rather see him continue to ramp up the focus in places like Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. Continue to go after talent-rich Ohio as well.

But keep the majority of the focus on the ACC footprint. He’s not going to be battling Franklin head-to-head for kids in all of those states. There will be some overlap, but not a ton. Keep winning games on the field, establish the program as an ACC presence and build up pipelines with the help of existing commits. It will allow Pitt’s name to resonate even more with future recruits in those ACC areas. That will fuel the development of this program and help sustain success much more than going head-to-head with Franklin for the PA kids.

Comment by Stoosh 01.08.14 @ 11:04 pm

Easy Emel. Just cause you post 40% of all the comments on here sometimes posting 4 or 5 in a row, no need to call a guy out. I’ve seen Gordo post before (not that it matters). Does anyone on here have anything other than their opinion? If we had to back our posts up with facts, there’d be very few posts. Sheesh.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 01.08.14 @ 11:04 pm

#21 Mizzou got beat at home by unranked (7-6) Georgia.

Perhaps the idiot Gorman who has Mizzou at #18 will drop them out. Mizzou struggled to beat NC State as well.

But with him…logic doesn’t compute !

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 11:06 pm

Frankcan, hope you didn’t jump — Franklin wasn’t on that plane after all.

Still might be hired (who knows) but not tonight

Comment by wbb 01.08.14 @ 11:10 pm

What’s the sense of worrying about PSU coach. They have had coaches in the past and we have been able to recruit against them. players will always have preferences and not all want to be in State College. As far as the new coach is concerned, what are the choices. Should I cancel my season tickets because I don’t like the S&C coach. Suck it up and hope for the best. Can’t wait to see who the new Chancellor is.

Comment by cas myzlinski 01.08.14 @ 11:10 pm

Hey if I want to post 4 or 5 posts in a row. What’s it to you. Sometimes I’m the only on here posting.

Oy Vey !

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 11:11 pm

Miami just won at Chapel hill — UNC now 0 and 2 in ACC

Comment by wbb 01.08.14 @ 11:12 pm

Miami beats the Tarholes in Chapel Hill…63-57.

beating UNC won’t mean anything this year !

So line them out for getting us into the rankings.

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 11:13 pm

lol wbb

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 11:14 pm

Some of these kids will go to Ped State if Attila the Hun was coach.

It doesn’t really matter, who they have as a coach.

it matters a lot more who we have as coach. As in can they promote Pitt as more conducive place to play football at. Does Pitt and Pittsburgh have more to offer than Creepy Valley.

If you can’t sell that, i don’t know what to say.

Comment by Emel 01.08.14 @ 11:18 pm

My bad Emel, that was not my point. I enjoy/like the majority of your many many posts ;-). It was calling the guy out for background, sources, facts, “something other than his opinion”.

At least we are not in plane tracking, coach search insanity like they are over at It warms my heart to know so many grown ass men in central PA dragged their asses out to the State College airport to see if James Franklin was on a plane from Florida (spoiler alert, he wasn’t he was at home tucking his daughters into bed). Hey may have signed a contract, but he was not on the plane.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 01.08.14 @ 11:29 pm

“All we can do is lash out with impotent rage.”

Atlanta – that was poetic.

Comment by Joe Lawrence 01.08.14 @ 11:42 pm

No one knows if this guy is a good hire at point so the sky is not falling and there are other issues that are a bigger priority besides S&C (SPECIAL TEAMS)

As for Franklin…

WTF are they thinking at PSU????

why Penn State is even mentioning Coach Franklin of Vanderbilt as a potential head coach???? There has yet to be a trial and there are only rumors that he was involved in COVERING UP a GANG RAPE.

There are no charges at this time but, I have to think there is a qualified coach who absolutely wasn’t involved in a “RAPE or a COVER UP”! SERIOUSLY WTF are they thinking in Happy Valley?

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 01.08.14 @ 11:47 pm

Denies any knowledge…. Sounds like a PSU guy to me

link to

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 01.08.14 @ 11:56 pm

Chryst is a great offensive mind and a brilliant coordinator but he is not a Head Coach. Plain and simple. But this is what the University wants. First Wanny, then Haywood, then Pitt was forced to mix it up with Graham, but immediately back to the mold with Chryst.

Despite the lack of recruiting, this team has some potential on offense. Possible stars at RB and WR, with a QB that has talent and could become something.

However, I promise you, the poor recruiting on the defensive side of the ball and poor coaching will once again be Pitt’s downfall. This team, under Chryst, is destined to be a 6-8 win team season after season. Unfortunately, until Peterson leaves, this will be the norm.

When Wisconsin decided not to interview him for their gig and said that it was the “honorable” thing to do, that was a huge red flag right there. As we’ve seen, there is no honor in college football. Wisconsin did not see him as a future head coach for their program. If they did, they would have taken a shot.

Sorry to rant but this shit is beginning to become ridiculous. And I’m a freakin’ optimist. But Chryst, for all his talent, is not a major program head coach. He’s a nice guy, with good intentions that genuinely cares for his players but he doesn’t know how to run a successful program. 2+ years on the job and he’s still not comfortable going outside his inner circle. Expand your horizons … you may learn something.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 01.09.14 @ 12:00 am

Wbb thanks for the info.

Comment by Frankcan 01.09.14 @ 12:12 am

Well I see Chas succeeded getting you guys all worked up over a S&C coach. Truth is the guy is a gym rat who trained under some of the top weight training programs in college and the NFL. I’m sure he get “certified” during the summer and bring his diploma to the opening game.

Comment by pd 01.09.14 @ 12:18 am

So hiring and inexperienced Strength and Conditioning coach means the program is gonna fail? Just a week ago after the bowl win it was nothing but positive posts and how it was looking bright…

Comment by Tsingtao44 01.09.14 @ 12:28 am

Just because he doesn’t have certifications doesn’t mean he won’t be a competent S&C coach.

I know a few of people that are experts in some field or another that don’t have the pieces of paper to go with it. In my office there are some top notch accountants who never went back to grad school (because of children, ill relatives, whatever) and are unable to become CPAs because of the missing credits. They probably couldn’t get hired anywhere else, but I personally know they are excellent at what they do.

But given the DC situation, I’m pretty sure this guy is clueless and very well could be a danger to players. I really hope he knows his stuff. These guys need to be faster, stronger and tougher to punch the top of the ACC in the mouth.

Comment by Chris 01.09.14 @ 12:32 am

Tossing Thabeets, I believe in brevity in my assestment of Chryst. He’s a bum!

(This is what we called our Dodgers growing up in Brooklyn.)

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 01.09.14 @ 12:40 am

He was a shot putter in college?

He’s probably qualified. Shot putters have to train in a very, very scientific fashion.

It isn’t show up and stretch a lot. They live under the bar, and they also tend to have terrific footwork.

I’m not sold on him by any means, I need to find out more still, but that is a very good sign.

Comment by Hurriquake 01.09.14 @ 1:13 am

So other than your opinion and the fact we’ve never seen you post before. What leads you to believe this is a ‘good hire’.

Emel, I’ve been posting here for quite a while, although not as frequently as some. About Kolo, I don’t know him personally, but I know and have talked to coaches/players who do. I’m not going to go out and name names (believe me or not it doesn’t really matter to me). They have told me that this guy is an animal and will get the best out of Pitt players. I listen to these guys. The same coaches who told me Soto would surprise and that Connor was an absolute beast and that Blewitt had the leg and moxie of a special kicker. I don’t care if he has a degree or not because he was busy, you know, playing professional football, and winning championships I might add. That’s all I got on that.

To sum up some of my more recent thoughts, I’ve always known Chryst was a very solid hire. I’ve also been a big believer in the recruiting classes he has put together. I’m willing to go on record on the next candidates to breakout…Class of ’13
Jester Weah
Alexander Officer
Tyrique Jarrett
Ryan Winslow
Zach Challingsworth
If I had to pick a few that will surprise in ’14 I’d say
Avonte Maddox
Qadree Ollison
Adam Bertke
James Folston Jr.
Connor Hayes

Notice I didn’t pick the studs of the class. That’s too easy. It really is a solid class. Time will show it.

People are going to be happy with the results of Pitt in the future. Chryst is going to be the best thing to happen to Pitt football in a long, long time. It will take some time and lots of people will freak out before it happens, but we can come back to these words and enjoy a beer at a game hopefully watching a team with Script on their helmets.

Comment by Gordo 01.09.14 @ 2:11 am

I see once again that the doom and gloomers are out. Living in constant fear of PSU and utterly convinced that if Pitt hires someone who hasnt been the strength coach somewhere else , preferably PSU (because they are after all who “yinz” fear 24/7) then it must be a lousy hire.
Don’t you get tire of being beaten before you get out of bed?
Me. I love the hire, but I won’t tell you why. All I would get in return is what you know he isn’t; not what it is that he is. Oh..and a fair amount of “but now Penn State can do somersaults …”

Comment by Sfpitt 01.09.14 @ 6:19 am

I think this is an example of being a little to hypersensitive of Chryst’s penchant for hiring only within his circle of trust. I couldn’t care less if Kolodziej has a paper degree in kinetic physiology or not. Some of the dumbest most ignorant people I have ever had to deal with professionally or personally have PhDs after their names. This guy has had a great deal of practical experience and apparently is a motivator (a quality this staff could always use more of).

Let’s not turn this into another panic log to throw on the fire.

Comment by ECH 01.09.14 @ 6:51 am

This is a toss up for me. I don’t know if this guy will do a good job, and I don’t care that he doesn’t have certs…but my concern is that at this level, you need someone with more knowledge than just being in the weight room. He can be a beast, but does he know the best exercises / movements to prevent / recover from injuries?

Also, I definitely think HCPC needs to increase his network from just guys who coached / played at Wisci. Thank goodness he hired Engram.

Hopefully this works out, but based on resume alone its hard to say.


Comment by VAYinzer 01.09.14 @ 7:08 am


Doom and gloom. All of those qualified to hire a S & C coach
raise a hand. All others with hold judgement until the test and measures are reported. Concern yourself with the 2014
recruiting class.

Pitt vs WF on Saturday. We need to win all of our home games. ACC championship not out of reach as long as
Patterson can continue to score 20 a game.

Comment by JR 01.09.14 @ 7:11 am


Like the new hire. Former NFL player. His background as
a player in college and the NFL is preferable to an
egghead with all of the degrees and certifications who has never played the game. Key elements here are respect
of the players and intangible leadership skills.

Comment by JR 01.09.14 @ 7:20 am

PC is not a bum but a decent guy with a good offensive mind. He is currently a work-in-progress head coaach running a work-in-progress program.

It is apparent that he has been told that winning 8 or 9 games is not the priority but instead to build a program with solid citiznes that he has faith in — both staff and players.

On one hand, this is a good approach that may result in what Pitt FB has desperately needed — a good, solid long-term coach that will provide long term stability.

On the other hand, he is still not proven as a program leader, nor are many of his hires proven — all hit or miss. There are signs of hope but certainly no gaurantees.

If this approach does happen to fail, it will be still more years wasted and once again, the program will have to start over again.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 7:35 am

This smells of House to me. I never hire people to learn on the job. They have to have proven themselves elsewhere and are qualified.

Who is going to hold this guys hand? Elite programs don’t demonstrate this hiring nepotism. The inexperience route leads to getting lost before you find your way. Chryst can’t afford to waste another two years until his guys get up to speed. Stupid hire. There I said it…STUPID.

I have to question Chryst’s mental capacity, his fear of delegating, his fear of hiring people better than himself, his crazy sense of loyalty and favoritism.

And I don’t know why our AD hasn’t provided job guidelines like experience and accomplishments as a prerequisites for any position. These hiring decisions get made because there aren’t clear qualifications for the job. That is on Smug. Again the destroyer of programs.

Comment by TX Panther 01.09.14 @ 7:37 am

I didn’t think this hire was for real. Not crazy about it but I don’t know the guy. You have to at least give him a chance.

As for Franklin, come on. Do you really think he will be better than Obrien….no freaking way. Pitt fans should be glad he left. The guy is not a good coach, he is a great coach and recruiter. Franklin will not be better than Obrien.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 7:39 am

By the way….the former S&C coach was a by the book Mr Scientific trainer and did not work out because he did not push the players enough. The opposite will be true with this guy. Let’s see what the players say after winter training.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 7:43 am

I could go down to the local gym and find the biggest guy and he’d probably do just as well as this hire. That’s no way to hire. But to me that’s no different than what Chryst did. Every time I want to like this guy, he does something highly questionable.

Comment by TX Panther 01.09.14 @ 7:43 am

notrocketscience, FWIW Franklin has a more proven track record as a HC at this time than O’Brien when he was hired at Ped St. And get this, Franklin is considered a much better HC propect than our beloved HCPC.

There has been a great deal of silly rationalization on this site thru the years — oh, the commit decided to go elsewhere, he wasn’t that good anyway; hey I love the way this new HC talks with his high octane offense, this is what Pitt has needed for years; and now any coach that PSU hires is really not that good.

Go ahead Kool-Aiders, if that is the way you want look at the FB program, fine … you’re only fooling yourselves.

PC MAY work out in the long run but that is exactly what it will be – a long run.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 7:52 am

I trust Coach Chryst. If he thinks Ross Kolodziej is qualified to get Pitt in good playing shape, I back him up. Some of my best people were the ones short on the degree chain. Let’s not get too negative on Ross even before he starts his job.

Comment by MariettaMike 01.09.14 @ 7:53 am

Off topic for our lawyer friends.

Jameis Winston’s accuser plans to sue in cival court. If he makes no money currently, can she be rewarded future earnings? Assuming that she wins a cival case.

Comment by Winedogs 01.09.14 @ 7:57 am

I think she should also have her name inscribed on the Heisman

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 7:58 am

As surprising S it am seem, I don’t think the sky is falling. I like the freshmen in this years class and I am optimistic about the future! Yes, I would have prefered Golden, but truth be told, they were probably going to hire Franklin all along. Pitt is in the ACC now they need to sell ACC football & ACC basketball. They need to do better in western PA in recruiting and some of that we be a by-product of winning. By the way, in conference play North Carina lost to Miamiast night.

Comment by Justinian 01.09.14 @ 8:02 am

Going off gut is not necessarily good. Don’t you want to know if he is the right guy instead of thinking. You know when your decision is backed by facts or accomplishments. Why should this guys resume begin at Pitt. Pitt should not be a proving ground for coaches. Always hire experience and people with high ceilings. Even if this guy is talented, he won’t master his craft or reach his ceiling for several years. Chryst can’t afford that. Does he realize that.

Comment by TX Panther 01.09.14 @ 8:14 am

I am not saying Franklin is a bad hire. I actually think he is a good hire but he will not be better than O’Brien.
I think O’Brien was a better hire than Chryst also. Lets face it, the PSU job is a better job and no matter the coach they will get their fair share of top recruits like they always have. It is not a new dynamic. It does not mean Pitt is doomed.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 8:20 am

I don’t know if this makes me cynical or optimistic, but I don’t actually see Franklin taking the PSU job, All things considered, how much better right now is the job than what he has at Vandy? He could parlay this into an incredible extension (which based on SEC $ could be very nice), and then still leave for the NFL in two years.
Either way, don’t really care.

Comment by JW 01.09.14 @ 8:20 am

A bit disappointed to see the meltdown over this hire. Why are people so reluctant to trust Chryst’s judgement? He’s made some rookie in-game coaching decisions, and the House hire was certainly eyebrow raising — but on balance what has he done to the detriment of the program? House isn’t the second coming of Dick Lebeau, but he’s settled in and been about on par with Huxtable I’d say. And I doubt there’d be much complaining if that guy was still here.

I know the S&C coach plays an important role, and I’m betting Chryst does too. He is the one person I KNOW has seen Kolodziej work and interact with his players, and knows first hand what he knows. No one here does. Yet we know better??

I agree with the others who have stated that a degree means little in terms of professional knowledge. The classroom provides a jumping off point, but the most valuable knowledge is gained thru practical experience. Which Kolodziej does have. Every S&C coach gets his first gig somewhere. Kolodziej’s is at Pitt. Let’s welcome him and wish him luck.

Comment by JCE 01.09.14 @ 8:27 am


Well said!

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 8:31 am

Back to M Young’s first tweet for a sec (“Never been told not to shoot the ball til I got here”)

An extremely observant Pitt fan related this incident during the MD game to me:

With about five minutes left, before Pitt blew out the lead, Maryland had just hit a 3-pointer to cut the margin from 13 back to 10. Early in the shot clock, Young took a three and missed. He was open but it was not the right situation to shoot; I’m not even sure Johnson would have jacked it up under the circumstances. Anyway, Zanna happened to get the rebound, put it back in and was fouled. As Zanna was getting to the foul line, I noticed Robinson went right over to Young and said something to him. Robinson said what he said with a smile on his face, but Young nodded very seriously.

Maybe that is what Young was tweeting about, or maybe not.

Comment by steve1 01.09.14 @ 8:33 am

From the AP Wire:

Pitt Football Head Coach Paul Chryst has announced that Zeke ‘Duck Dynasty’ Shinemaker has been promoted to the position of Chief Shoe-polisher. Zeke is currently the Assistant Shoe-polisher at Bobtown HS in Greene County, PA where he is repeating his junior year for the third time. Coach Chryst met Zeke at Wisconsin when Mr. Shinemaker’s Eighth-grade class visited a nearby cheese farm. They have kept in touch and the coach has made occasional trips to Greene county when his favorite shoes became scuffed. ‘You should see him snap that polishing rag. It’s really neat to watch.’ Zeke will be pursuing his certification in Spit Shining prior to the start of spring drills.

Comment by pghFred 01.09.14 @ 8:35 am

So exactly what is the resume that justifies a great S&C coach? The last guy had an impressive resume and so? This is the issue for many resume justifiers. Either he can do the job or he can’t. What was Iron works guy background? HCPC hired the guy he wants. Players will either respond or not. But to suggest that credential inflation is not an issue here is to suggest way to many egg heads on this board who call AAA on a flat tire. Nit pick BSers who have never out there butts on the line for wins and losses. HCPC butt is and he thinks this guy can benefit the program so be it.

Comment by chethejet 01.09.14 @ 8:37 am

Chryst is the head coach. He gets to pick his staff however he wants. Any halfway decent head coach will have his say over the staff. That being said, strength and conditioning is a science not some learn by experience type deal. A lot of you guys are displaying ignorance by saying oh he lifted a lot he will be good. Seriously, so what that he played in the NFL. Being a gym rat means he knows how to make his own body strong. It doesn’t mean he knows what to tell an incoming RB to do to really increase his strength and speed and agility at the same time. Different positions require different philosophies. I’d rather have someone who is well versed and well educated in the subject. And you can definitely be well versed and motivator at the same time. Those aren’t even close to being mutually exclusive.
If this hire was one hire then no one would care. But it just continues the pattern of Chryst hiring his people over seeking out more qualified candidates from outside. Group think is going to become a huge problem with this staff. Who is ever going to question any of Chryst’s decisions when the staff is going to feel beholden to him for their job. Take the DC, if Chryst tells House to do something House is going to do it no matter what. But say you had an experienced DC not really close to Chryst, if he thinks Chryst is wrong he is much more likely to tell Chryst and have an open debate about the decision. Never want to be surrounded by yes men. Heck, Chryst’s arguably best hire as a coach was Engram a guy he had little ties with.

Franklin is definitely a better HC than PC. Franklin won at Vandy in the SEC, which is nearly impossible. Pitt would have never been able to get him. Franklin will only be at PSU for a few years. That guy is going to end up in the NFL. But it’s not like Franklin is an all-powerful football coach who Pitt needs to be afraid of. Pitt’s success has little to do with who is coaching at PSU and much to do with Chryst and his staff. If Chryst gets better as a head coach, the team will get better. It’s that simple.

Winedogs, I’d imagine they will settle the Winston case before it goes to trial. Even if it goes to trial, probably talking at least a year before that happens. So by that time Winston is making money off of endorsements and whatnot. Besides, even a poor person can be sued and lose much more than they could make, it’s just that the person would never end up paying.

Comment by Wardapalooza 01.09.14 @ 8:45 am

notrocketscience, James Franklin took over the bottom feeder of the SEC just a few yars ago, and now they have been on back-to-back bowl games for the first time in their history. AND GET THIS, Vandy won 8 games this year while playing in the SEC, same as PSU playing in the B10, for Christ’s sake.

What Franklin did at Vandy is just about the same as if a coach took over at DePaul BB a few years ago, and took them to the NCAAs 2 years staright.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 8:46 am

Pitt is a BCS school in the ACC. It shouldn’t be some learing on the job place. That’s what MAC schools are for. It’s not nitpicking to say oh hey maybe every once in a while we should hire a coach that actually has experience doing the job he was hired for.

Comment by Wardapalooza 01.09.14 @ 8:53 am

Your first gig shouldn’t be at Pitt. What are we a MAC school? Pitt’s academic side doesn’t hire like this. And yes some track record would have been nice. Some job qualifications and standards set by our AD would be helpful. I see this hire as nepotism.

Comment by TX Panther 01.09.14 @ 8:54 am

I don’t understand the major outcry on thsi site about the S&C coach. Where was the outcry on the most unqualified defensive coordinator in the BCS last year (after a 2 month search)?

There were a few of us that raised major concerns but I don’t recall the paasion raised for that decision as opposed to what I’m seeing now.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 9:11 am

I will play devil’s advocate with you guys who are up in arms.

Yes, strength and conditioning is a “science”. But, aren’t there multiple disciplines within that science? Is it possible that numerous highly qualified S&C “experts” become blind to their specific discipline either out of ego or myopic practical experience and are less effective regardless of their technical resumes? Could it be beneficial to an organization to have a “generalist” who has been exposed and influenced by multiple disciplines?

Comment by ECH 01.09.14 @ 9:13 am

The guy can’t recruit…but –

Adonis Jennings was always high on Pitt, but a key visit from Paul Chryst pushed the four-star recruit to become a Panther.

PC is building a program and a staff they way he wants to build it – we can criticize all you/we want – but at the end of the year – it’s his team.

And as AD said – ‘He’s building something special!’ – we’ll just have to wait 2 years to see.

Comment by markp 01.09.14 @ 9:18 am

It is not his team, it is our team. I have been a season ticket holder for several years now (as as many as 5 sideline tickets for 3 years ina row). While I don’t expect to be part of the decision making process, I reserve the right to raise concerns as to how the leadership is handling things.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 9:23 am

but I do believe the jury is still out ..

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 9:24 am

I am agreeing with you that Franklin is a good coach. I just think O’Brien is better.

As far as House, his learning year is over. The D has to get better this year.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 9:38 am

Damn you and your calm and rational approach JCE!

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 01.09.14 @ 9:42 am

Bottom line…

I don’t really care who PSU hires. All I care about is wins. PC needs to give us more than 7 next year. I want a regualr 9 win team with better years sprinkled in.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 9:45 am

wbb, as a fan you can critique his actions and raise concerns, but it’s his team. His longevity as coach should be determined by the results he produces.

Here’s hoping for better records, better bowl games, and better fan support both at home and at a bowl game (regardless of the location);-)

Comment by markp 01.09.14 @ 10:03 am

We are critical of Chryst’ Strength & Conditioning coach hire. But what we don’t know is what budget Chryst has to work under. Perhaps this is the best hire Paul can afford given his budget constraints. Either way we’ll soon see just how Pitt performs on the field this fall.

As an aside the Steelers have a good S&C coach and look at what happened to their season. Just sayin..,

Comment by MariettaMike 01.09.14 @ 10:22 am

Didn’t the last guy have all kinds of experience and certificates and seminar awards?

No one liked him, including people at NC ST., because he was a flexibility guy instead of a strength guy.

Seemed he knew the “science”.

Comment by Dan 01.09.14 @ 10:37 am

ECH, reread what Chas wrote. It’s not that he is inexperienced it’s that he is grossly underqualified.

MariettaMike, budget has nothing to do with Chryst’s hires. His hires are his hires. Period. End of story.

Comment by Wardapalooza 01.09.14 @ 10:38 am

I’m sure the Florida Gators (4-8) have a rocket scientist for their S&C coach.

Comment by Dan 01.09.14 @ 10:45 am

Good morning, good emotional read this morning, I’m just not feeling it.

Because this seems to be the first time I remember that Chas has taken a strong opinion and I respect his opinion, I am somewhat swayed. Personally I just can’t get all jazzed over this. I’m in more of a wait and see kind of mood.

This is another example of Chryst’s method of “I did it my way” and I don’t think he cares what any of us think about it. It is his ass that is on the line. There are a lot of micromanagers among us.

Usually you get the best results when you hire the right people and let them do their thing. This is the feeling I have about Chryst. Only time will tell. Unfortunately results will be very hard to evaluate on this one. Unless our tongues are hanging out and our linemen are bowled over in September, how will we really know. I guess wins and losses, but when has the weight room got credit for a win or a loss?

While many are down on House, and I am not overwhelmed with recruiting so far, the defensive results were not bad considering what he had to work with.

As far as PSU goes, I don’t really give a Rat’s a#$ or flying f#$% take your pick. If you worry that much about the competition Frankie, you will never win. When we were at our best, PSU was at it’s best. Anyway, they are not even in our conference. We need to outrecruit FSU, Clemson, and Miami if we are to be relevant in our new conference.

It does piss me off that PSU gets a big article in today’s Post about a VA linemen that still wants to go to PSU. I don’t get how that is newsworthy.

Anyway, I am enjoying the debate/rant this morning, good job.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 10:46 am

Four Panthers did make the all ACC Bowl Team…VA lineman gets bigger headlines than Boyd making All American Frshman team.

Comment by markp 01.09.14 @ 10:57 am

@ ward….excellent points at 8:45

@Gordo… bad buddy. Used some poor choice of words. Appreciate your comments.

My beef with this hire and it’s just another in a long string of wisconsin friends, family and known associates. The Group think of this group has got to minimal and since a lot of them are getting their first chance at running/directing their respective duties, as ppl have said, it’s all ‘yes’ men. This staff looks/acts very confused and we’ve heard of some of the terrible coordination on the recruiting side.

Add another ‘learner’ to the staff. Makes sense to me :-)

Comment by Emel 01.09.14 @ 11:02 am

@Wardapalooza Yes, Chryst’s hires are his hires period. I agree. But Chryst does not have an unlimited budget. No way can Pitt compete with Georgia or Alabama or Penn State on $$ matters in its athletic departments budget. We just have to give Coach Chryst some space here before flying off the handle so to speak. For the most part, Pitt’s losses last season were, in part, due to execution not conditioning. I suspect the same will be true in 2014.

Comment by MariettaMike 01.09.14 @ 11:20 am

When you look at the great staffs of Majors and Sherrill, that included Jimmy Johnson, Foge Fazio, the beloved Buddy Morris and plenty of others, did they all have credentials or connections.

In life it is more important who you know than what you know most times, at least when you start out.

You seldom make it without great mentors.

Will Chryst beat the odds? Well isn’t that what he has been asked to do?

Win at Pitt LOL

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 11:22 am

you all were on gorman from the trib he went to penn state i know that.
what we should do is call or text him and ask why penn state is hireing a coach who will be asked if he covered up a gang rape that some of of his team did does penn state need franklin with that trail comeing up after what his school has been thru all ready what would his ansewer be to that

Comment by Frankcan 01.09.14 @ 11:28 am

Added another risk into our program. But to be frank, there were questions about our previous S&C guy from the beginning. To the point where he was my #1 worry with the new incoming coaching class. I don’t think it would really take much for a ‘step up’, which I actually think this may be.

I know the kids didn’t like the previous S&C C, and why would you work hard for someone you don’t like. I don’t know if this is the situation, but in terms of S&C, the best guys I know aren’t the ones with the fancy degrees. Those degrees and certs come later, they’re the best because their health, their strength, is their life.

This hire bothers me much less than the House hire, which I felt was completely off the mark for a team who’s best asset had been their Defense only a season ago.

Only worry I have is from the science/health side seeing potential issues / injuries crop up in the athletes.

Comment by Benzene 01.09.14 @ 11:29 am

Over time coaches develop networks and learn who the up-and-coming assistants are. Coaches keep people in mind for when openings occur in their staff. For PC, his network is very small and tied to Wisconsin. As PC gets around more in the coaching world, attends meetings, gold outings, his network will grow and he will hire more worldly.

Comment by Caw Miller 01.09.14 @ 11:39 am

POINT is this why hire house and this strength coach yes they may both work out and be great hires
but why take that chance he could have hired a really good and proven DC at that time and one of then was from the Burgh.
he could have hired a proven strength coach who worked with a pro team one of there asst just like the MAC team did that i posted abought before.

it is not that they wont work out they might but why take that chance when he did not need to.

is it just becuse he is stuck on wisconsin men

Comment by Frankcan 01.09.14 @ 11:50 am

Truth be told, if Pitt can play at Wisconsin’s level, I’ll be more than happy. Right now we are just stabilizing from our coaching carousal. H2P!

Comment by MariettaMike 01.09.14 @ 11:51 am

Andrew Taglianetti ?@Andrew_Tags

“never met him. Current players say good things however!”

1:10 PM – 8 Jan 14

Former Pitt Safety Andrew Taglianetti responding on Twitter to news that Ross Kolodziej is officially hired as Pitt’s Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Remember it was Taglianetti who went public calling fired S&C Coach Todd Rice “incompetent.”

Comment by PittofDreams 01.09.14 @ 12:09 pm

Well, the players lobbied for Dixon and that worked out pretty well.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 12:18 pm

INFO for you franklin to tell penn state he will or will not take the job on thur.
i dont care what you say if he takes it that is bad news for pitt.
maybe not the end of the world but still bad news for us. read some of the posts on dokish.

Comment by Frankcan 01.09.14 @ 12:21 pm

I get a kick out of all the comments/opinions in this forum but one on this thread made me laugh out loud….

Steve Pederson is a “program destroyer”.

I’m sorry, how many years was it since we made it to a bowl before he brought Walt in? Eight?

How many years had it been since we won a NCAA Tournament game before he brought Ben in? Nine?

Before calling someone a “program destroyer” you need to look at the facts and ask yourselves… Were we better the 10 years before SP arrived, or the 10 years after?

He may not be the Tom Jurich, win at all cost, savior you’re looking for… But to say he’s destroyed our programs is just not true. Even through all the turmoil, we’re still better all around than we were before he got here… Sans the Pitt Script and boring uniform colors. 😉

I also don’t understand the notion of any year/season as being a “waste” or “wasted”.

Whether it’s a big win or disappointing loss, I never think I “wasted” my time with Pitt… I’m always thankful to have the opportunity to watch and be entertained by my favorite team. Win or lose. It’s entertainment. Nothing to cry about.

Comment by Pitt2Cali 01.09.14 @ 12:45 pm

You are making too much sense for this board Cali.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 12:50 pm

We are the micromanaging nitpickers, forget that big picture stuff, LOL

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 12:52 pm

Pitt2Cali, Johnny Majors’ first stint at Pitt was great; second stint at Pitt was pretty bad.

Same can be said for Steve Pedersen.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 1:04 pm

By bad, GC. That’s why I rarely post… I’m too rational! Lol!

That being said, I really do honestly appreciate all the irrational thoughts and comments by the great community of Pitt fans here on this site… I am always entertained and sometimes even learn a thing or two!!!

Comment by Pitt2Cali 01.09.14 @ 1:04 pm


While I don’t think SP’s second stint has been a smashing success… He has help solidify our future by leading us into the ACC… Would the ACC have wanted us 15 -20 years ago?

Comment by Pitt2Cali 01.09.14 @ 1:14 pm

UConn was the initial choice for the ACC instead of Pitt but the BC AD stopped it — this is well documented. Also well documented is the fact that in addition to UConn, at least both Louisville and West Virginia had applied for ACC admission .. and probably Cincy and Rutgers also.

Pitt was picked because of the TV market, successful BB program and academics.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 1:34 pm

pitt2cali, I agree that his efforts in his first stint are partly responsible for us being in the ACC right now.

However, what is unforgiveable is what he had turned the FB program into …. by making 2 horrific hires within a one month period.

Even more exasperating, is the fact that he repeated history. He fired a coach who was winnning (but maybe justified in both cases) and replaced that coach with a worse candidate.

I don’t know why people have a problem with this but when you take the action to fire a somewhat successful coach, you better ave a plan already in place to replace him. In both instances (at Neb and Pitt) he was clueless.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 1:41 pm

So if basketball had something to do with it, SP deserves at least a little credit, right? After all, he had the vision and oversaw the revitalization of BB. He certainly did not “destroy” anything. (Pitt Stadium doesn’t count!) lol

Comment by Pitt2Cali 01.09.14 @ 1:41 pm

“Horrific hires”? a bit dramatic, don’t you think?

We’ll never know if Haywood would have been a good coach or not, and obviously there’s no way anyone could have known he would fly off the handles and force us to let him go… How was that man’s stupidity in anyway Pederson’s fault?

And who would have know that complete jackass Fraud would leave after one year?… Again that’s on Fraud, not Pederson. In my opinion.

Anyway, that’s yesterday’s news…. Let’s move on :)

Comment by Pitt2Cali 01.09.14 @ 1:53 pm


I am with you on this one. I respect Chas and I realize that he has more insight to what happens on the practice field and in the locker/weight room. But, I like the fact that Chryst is loyal to the guys who are loyal to him. At the same time, I don’t think that he is stupid and that he would hire someone who did not truly believe could do the job. So, I am very willing to let him make his choice for a S&C coach.

If anyone has any thoughts about where we stand with some of the recruits who we still want to get to commit, let’s hear about that.

H2P and H2S&C

Comment by pmdH2P 01.09.14 @ 1:53 pm


Glad to have you commenting today. Welcome to our little den of panic.


Comment by pmdH2P 01.09.14 @ 1:55 pm

While I am in no way a fan of Steve, you have to take the good with the bad. Putting money into our Olympic sporting sites and Baseball helped get us in to the ACC as well. Wbb while you are right that UConn was first pick, at least we were second, there is no reason to discount Pedersen’s contributions.

While most here long for Pitt Stadium, at the time Pete’s decision made sound business sense. It got us the Pete, which saved basketball as much as Howland and Dixon.

Most don’t remember or conveniently forget the public outrage over building Heinz and PNC.

It took a smooth political operator to accomplish what happened.

While the hiring of Heywood was a travesty most thought at the time Graham was a good thing. He obviously can recruit and coach.

Other than the most Pitt-centric, few in this town give a tinker’s damn about an on-campus stadium or Pitt Script, or long for the days of Dave Wannstedt.

Don’t sell Heinz Field and the City short, visiting fans have told me how great it is to have all the amenities and will come back.

None have mentioned missing walking around the Cathedral lawn. Oakland congestion is a nightmare,the Pete is bad enough, I can’t imagine the traffic with 60,000 these days.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 2:02 pm

“It is not his team, it is our team. I have been a season ticket holder for several years now (as as many as 5 sideline tickets for 3 years ina row). While I don’t expect to be part of the decision making process, I reserve the right to raise concerns as to how the leadership is handling things”

wbb, the above quote is yours. You Sir are quite confused. Until Coach Chryst receives his pink slip from the Pitt Athletic Department, the football team is HIS! It also belongs in part to each and every paid employee on the staff that has direct ties to the program from Chryst all the way down to the equipment manager. But most of all, it belongs to the players currently on the team, because it is their sweat, blood, and overall commitment of their time and effort that creates the essence of what a team is in the first place.

Because you have a vested financial stake in multiple season tickets to attend Pitt football games, that makes you a FAN of that team. For the time period it takes to play the game, you are the temporary owner of the seats that you’ve paid for, that’s it.

So HCPC can, and probably will, continue (based on his track record so far) to do exactly what he wants to do regarding his coaching, management and recruiting of HIS team without much regard to what outsiders like all of us think about it.

We don’t necessarily have to like what he’s doing with HIS team and we have the right to bitch about those issues that we take umbrage with, but HCPC is THE GUY responsible for the program, he owns it. He owns the praise when things go right, he owns the criticism when things go wrong. The buck stops with him, as will this S&C coach hire that he has decided on.

I hope that he knows what he is doing in this case because it will definitely impact the outcomes of future games as well as having an impact on the health of the palyers on this team.

I have to believe that Chryst thinks that this is the right guy for the job or else he wouldn’t have hired him. Coach Chryst is neither STUPID or uncaring about this Pitt team. Conversely, I believe that he cares very much about this team and its players.

Does that mean that this hire couldn’t possibly be proven down the road to be a disaster, ABSOLUTELY NOT! But can anyone of us determine at this point that it’s already a disaster as of today, once again,absolutely not!

We are all going to have to wait and see, PERIOD. Myself, I don’t like the look of the hire from the outside for many of the reasons that have previously been eluded to already, but I hope that HCPC proves us all to be a bunch of worried blowhards a year or two down the road.

In the meantime bitch if you prefer, but the guy whose team it is, will continue to follow his own plan without giving much regard to the oppressive chatter that constantly surrounds him and the program from all those other outsiders that supposedly know better than him, and that includes the likes of all of us.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.09.14 @ 2:21 pm

Dr. Tom, I don’t think anyone thinks Chryst is stupid or uncaring. I think some of us think he promotes his buddies over seeking out more qualified staff. It’s his team so he has the right to do that. But as fans we have the right to bitch. By the way in the case, the oppressive cahtter was caused directly by Chryst. Chryst could have hired a S&C coach from any small school and no one would have said anything. It’s only an issue because he hired such an unqualified candidate. I just think that Chryst could really help himself out by hiring more qualified assistants instead of constantly hiring his buddies.

Comment by Wardapalooza 01.09.14 @ 2:38 pm

Maybe Chryst thinks he is an up and comer and didn’t want to lose him.

We always reserve and protect our god given right to bitch. For many of us it is all we got.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 2:43 pm

Maybe Chryst has put in a system and does not want to change it. If it is what they use at Wisconsin it might be good and it is what he knows.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 2:45 pm

pitt2cali, there is no excuse for Pedersen not to know that Haywood had a child out of wedlock, especially since he was pushing the disciplinary/ethical issue so hard. This information was out there.

Any HR rep will tell you that if you hire a guy, pay him handsomely and he leaves within a year, it is a horrifc hire … unless he leaves the place much better than he found it, which he did not. Anytime you hire someone (FB coach or otherwise) from across country, one the first things you need to do is get a good understanding just how committed the guy is to moving to this area … of course, in this case, you had to look thru all of the BS.

I guess I’m a bit biased in this case … I am proud to say that I was the first to term this guy as a snake oil salesmen on this site the very day of his hiring press conference. I heard it on the radio and wondered just how you could throw so much money to this windbag .. he just seemed so insincere to me.

Of course , the other warning sign is how quick he left his first HC job (1 year) to go to Tulsa and how anxious he was to leave there after justa few years.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 3:10 pm

Dr Tom, I don’t necessarily disagree with what you wrote but remember … we were committed to Pitt long before we ever heard of Paul Chryst, and most likely, long after he leaves.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 3:15 pm

Emel, no worries my man. No offense taken. Appreciate your comments as well. I hear you with the concerns over groupthink and not expanding our horizons. I think it was Wardapalooza on this thread who said that Engram was really the only coach he hired without Wisconsin connections. (Who is also one of the best coaches/recruiters on the staff if not the best) I agree with that completely.

I am generally supporting PC and his plan, but I agree that this is of concern. Was completely disappointed with the hiring of House which I think many of us were, and for good reason.

I have a question that I don’t know the answer to. How do we know that all these coaches connected to PC are ‘yes’ men? Isn’t it possible that he hired them because their familiarity, trust level, and communication is such that he can/does expect them to call him out when they think he is wrong. Usually it’s the people closest to me that tell it to me straight so to say. I don’t know. It is an important question to ask though. Is there group think on this staff and is learning on the job staff seriously hindering the plan PC has in place. I’m a bit wary in some sense and trusting of PC in others. In other words confused and just wishing it was Spring.

Comment by Gordo 01.09.14 @ 3:36 pm

I think the S&C coach was hired to get the program closer to what Chryst knew at Wisconsin. The guy did grad assistant coach a full winter program at Wisconsin. Maybe this guy butted heads with the former S&C coach also.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 4:05 pm

That being said, there still needs to be some changes made with the D staff. I doubt House is leaving but the coaching assignments are bizarre with the sharing of duties.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.09.14 @ 4:07 pm

Cali – Everyone and their mother who looked at Todd Graham’s resume knew he was a 1-2 year max coach. If Pederson did more homework and knew what a Southern Texan / Southern Baptist and his family would feel long term about the Burg. I think he should of slowed down and looked bigger picture. I don’t like Pederson, he presented to our teams a few times. He wasn’t genuine in my opinion. Lastly, Athletics has had some success mostly in basketball but I wonder where we would be worse, better, etc we would be with a better overall AD. No one will know more sure but to just compare him to the previous AD isn’t fair. Didn’t Jeff Long hire Jaime? I’m not positive but thought so. Take care.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.09.14 @ 4:40 pm

wbb, Kudos again for your early call on Fraud, but as it turns out he has made it through two years at Arizona and seems to be doing ok. Obviously Pedersen was under considerable duress when he made the call after the first fiasco.

He had a very bad month all his decisions three of them bit him hard in the ass but if you look at each individually they weren’t that bad. When you put them all together it was a disaster.

Firing Wanny only looks bad in retrospect because of what happened afterward. You can blame Pedersen for poor planning and should have had his ducks in a row as they say.

I don’t know that having a non-traditional relationship in today’s world is a deal breaker.
No one could have predicted Heywood’s poor behavior, just ask Ken Melani.

Graham was an up an comer, it is hindsight that tells you he was not worth the risk, otherwise why did ASU hire him.

All of this seems to have made us a critical paranoid bunch.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 4:59 pm

you know i did not like graham i said so not long after Wbb did but i still think are AD did something
lied to graham or would not let him hire who he wanted i think there was some noise in the paper abought a hire that he said no to.
as much as graham is a ass hole i think he graham said he would not work for are AD one more day
becuse he was a pain in the ass

Comment by Frankcan 01.09.14 @ 6:03 pm

gc, not knowing about the SI article, I thought Wanny’s firing was premature considering he had the best 3 year run in 30 years of the program. I thought he was providing stability, something this program sorely needed. Even after the SI article, I thought a coach who was an alum and was even giving a salary discount to the school should have been given time to clean tings up. I still feel that way.

But to expound on my claim that Pedersen was clueless, the same thing happened here that had happened at Nebraska. He had to settle on the 4th or 5th choice. I believe he originally targeted Golden and then Holgerson, only to find they were all but hired by others. He then approached both Graham and Sumlin only to find he couldn’t afford them. He may have even approached someone else before Haywood — can’t recall. And of course, he had no idea what the market bore and what a discount he was getting from Wanny.

Again, if you’re going to fire someone, you better have a plan in mind on whom you can get for replacement.

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 6:07 pm

Just in case anyone disputed the fact that he gave an alma mater discount … and more evidence how dedicated he was here

link to

Comment by wbb 01.09.14 @ 6:10 pm

I don’t disagree with any of that wbb.

I do think that in addition to the SI article the fact that Wanny lost most of the big games especially the Cinci game got Pedersen thinking we could do better. Easier said than done.

No doubt he was a Pitt guy and gave the University a huge discount. In hind sight, I bet Pedersen wishes he gave him that additional year, I think we all do.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 6:22 pm

That should be a lesson to anyone that wants to fire a coach at the drop of a hat. How many times do you get a better one, just look at the NFL.

Comment by gc 01.09.14 @ 6:25 pm

Right on, gc.

Comment by Pitt2Cali 01.09.14 @ 6:46 pm

I get a kick out of all the comments/opinions in this forum but one on this thread made me laugh out loud….
Steve Pederson is a “program destroyer”.

I’m sorry, how many years was it since we made it to a bowl before he brought Walt in? Eight?

How many years had it been since we won a NCAA Tournament game before he brought Ben in? Nine?

Before calling someone a “program destroyer” you need to look at the facts and ask yourselves… Were we better the 10 years before SP arrived, or the 10 years after?

I don’t think most of us had a problem with Cornhole the first time around, other than taking away Pitt script, asking the Networks to refer to PITT as PITTSBURGH and of course blowing up our on Campus Stadium.

Hey wait a minute,,,let me xxxxxx out “I don’t think most of us had a problem with Cornhole the first time……


Comment by Emel 01.09.14 @ 7:56 pm

@ gordo.

Concur with your assessments. My experience with ppl that were on my payroll is; they always went along with whatever my agenda was. I can’t remember many times or any times, someone said anything different.

And I went along 99.5% of the time of what the National Marketing Director wanted to do.
The .5% was when I moved everyone to a different company. lol

Comment by Emel 01.09.14 @ 8:06 pm

I have had an opportunity to speak with three athletic directors about Pederson. Two are at institutions with consensus top 20 programs in football and basketball. One is at a program on par with Pitt. All three believe he should not be leading an Athletic Department. This is telling. One used the term paranoid and unwilling to change when something isn’t working. Not my words!

I look at how our womens bball team had to go winless in the conference for nearly two years because he couldn’t pull the trigger on Agnes. Nice lady, wrong person for Pitt. He tries to shove square pegs into round holes. He has been trying to cover for himself in mens bball and baseball by having some of the easiest schedules in the entire country. Noone respects his work. Pitt bball is perhaps rightly or wrongly feeling the heat because of scheduling.

The ACC move was not his doing. He was here. Pitt was going to be left out because other AD’s don’t like him or trust.

The Peterson Events Center was not his doing. Pitt had a wealthy donor that predicated that building. Pederson was in charge when that building came to being. This is done in spite of him, not because of him.

College AD’s think he completely missed the boat when he took the football team off campus. That is part of the higher education experience that we can never provide a young athlete. There will never be traditions at your stadium when it is shared with the most successful football franchises in the US.

Sorry about the rant, but any mention of that man, gets my blood boiling to the point that I need to vent.

One last note, Gateways Armstead Williams just transferred back from Purdue to …..Duquesne! The grass ain’t always greener away from home. The grass is greener where you take care of it. It is easier to take care of it when you have the support of friends and family on a local level. Perhaps that is another reason I don’t care for Pedersons work. He just ain’t one of us and never will be.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 01.09.14 @ 10:10 pm

this will happen if penn state hires franklin some tv station or news paper will do a story true or not they wont care.
it will read like this penn state hires coach franklin who is involved with a rape cover up at old school vandy etc etc
then it will say something like this penn state did not do there do delgence after there own rape scandel etc etc
this is a prediction they will do it for the rateings

Comment by Frankcan 01.09.14 @ 10:28 pm

4 pitt players make all ACC bowl team

Comment by Frankcan 01.09.14 @ 10:52 pm

Glad the comments have finally moved on from the sky is falling panic. So far I like the way Paul Chryst’s program is proceeding, from what I can observe in terms of player commitment, the team coming together, player quality both in terms of character off the field and individual ability/progress on it as well as overall team progress on the field. The CEO has to make his own judgements about his hires. Based on the progress so far I anticipate good results over time. Call me a goofy optimist but I am willing to wait and see and expect some satisfying results in the years to come. I also refuse to be worried about Penn State regardless of who they manage to hire as their coach. I’m old enough to remember when Pitt would beat PSU 3 of 5 times on a regular basis. We may not get back to exactly that but 6 of 11 isn’t bad. When we get there and win 7 to 10 games almost every year I’m sure some of us will still find somethings to worry and bitch about. Hey, that’s why its called Blather. Enjoy the ride! HTP!

Comment by OPFIM 01.10.14 @ 12:00 am

Still don’t know why everyone is shocked. HCPC is quiet and I really think he doesn’t have much…..confidence. I have no idea how this guy will turn out but what this hire does show without a doubt is PC will not bring in experienced assistant coaches who are not yes men. I know some on here will say I’m crazy but the guy lacks confidence and dare I say experience and he can’t be bringing guys who will show him up or not agree with him.

Comment by Shawn 01.10.14 @ 6:18 am

if franklin is hired penn state coach larry johnson said he will leave pitt should make him asst head coach and co DC TO GET HIM TO COME TO PITT HE IS THE ACE RECRUITER THERE

Comment by Frankcan 01.10.14 @ 10:05 am

Everyone calm down. I heard from a reliable source that Ross K once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

Comment by maguro 01.10.14 @ 10:10 am

I johnson wants respect and he thinks penn state has disrespected him bye hireing franklin just saying give him some titles and he might come great recruiter

Comment by Frankcan 01.10.14 @ 10:14 am

I’m happy with Pitt’s football coaching staff. We’ve come to some stabilization in staffing, now it’s time to get better as a football team. Paul will get Pitt to be more competitive but it takes time. Let’s be thankful that our program it turning in the right direction. Pitt easily could have won three more games but didn’t because of poor execution or mistakes in judgment. In the off-season, Paul has the opportunity to work on the intangibles that may help Pitt win without too much “surgery.” Hail to Pitt and Paul Chryst!

Comment by MariettaMike 01.10.14 @ 10:50 am

Your sources don’t sound very credible. Not just speaking negatively about a colleague but speaking negatively to a person that will post the information on the internet. Nice.
To say Pederson had nothing to do with anything good that has happened at Pitt while he was employed is a joke. He is responsible for the good and the bad.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.10.14 @ 11:01 am

They aren’t friends of athletic directors. They are the athletic director’s. I have known them all for years so the conversations aren’t generalities. I trust what they say because they have no reason not to speak what they feel.

I wouldn’t put their name to what they say as that would be violative of a trust. I don’t tell them to give me info so I can go add to a blog. Most of the time we talk about litigation between university and athletes. I go over protocols with administrations and the respective medical staffs. Conversations cover a myriad of topics.

Each worries often about disposable income of patrons at the gate as well as donors and endowments. They worry about the gameday experience at 100k stadiums and how to keep selling tickets when many would prefer to stay home and watch the game on the 60 inch tv. Think what you want, I respect that rocket.

They do not consider themselves colleagues with Steve P. Acquaintances yes and collegial, yes. I never said he didn’t have anything to do with anything good that has occurred at Pitt. I do struggle with creating a long list of good. At the end of the day, it is his legacy at Pitt. If it was your legacy, how would you feel about what has been accomplished? What did he do so good for instance.

Now remove yourself from the Pitt program. What did he do good at Nebraska? So has it been more bad than good? Most people get fired when they do their respective jobs poorly. Poor would be my grade for him, not fail. I would give him a 6 out of 10. What is your score?

Comment by dhuffdaddy 01.10.14 @ 11:04 pm

I would give him a 7 out of ten.

The Pete
Olympic facilities
Great basketball program
Heinz Field and South Side facilities
Sorry. I was not a Pitt Stadium fan. It was an embarrassment.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.11.14 @ 10:13 am

Not too different. I can respect a 7.

I was not a great fan of Pitt Stadium either, but I do think an on campus stadium trumps what we have now. The game experience is used against Pitt in recruiting. They should be strategic in their thinking and real estate deals to make room for an on campus facility. At that point, they can bring some lasting traditions to the ball yard.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 01.11.14 @ 3:08 pm

I went to the University of Pittsburgh between 1971 and 1975. Came back many times during my freshman dental school days to watch Pitt win their national championship. I cherish my memories of Pitt stadium & being on campus. The place was a dump.

Petersen Events Center is a fabulous facility that stands on its footprint. Heinz Field is a modern facility as well. It is easy to get to, lots of parking and things to do around it on the north shore (including the casino which is a favorite of mine), and it’s a venue that has a beautiful view of the city. Heinz Field may not be the perfect venue for Pitt football but it sure is a much better stadium then Pitt stadium ever was.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.12.14 @ 7:54 am

Off topic. Dr. Tom where did you go to Dental school?

Comment by Oklahomeboy 01.12.14 @ 9:28 am

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