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November 29, 2017

Seeing Schiano In Everything

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:44 am

I can’t stop thinking about the Tennessee-Schiano stuff. It has been absolutely fascinating in so many ways. Whether seeing the stuff play out like an alternate dimension Pitt-Stallings hire. To the media aspect. To use of a highly questionable narrative to torpedo the hire. So much stuff is there.

When the news of the hire first started leaking, and you could see Tennessee fans on twitter going WTF? And a lot of other people trying to make the case for or against it on a purely coaching level. Well, it had that disturbing feel of when Pitt hired Kevin Stallings.

You can make a reasonable, rational case for or against the hire. But that is all irrelevant if the fans absolutely hate it. Fans were ranting about his record at Rutgers. They railed about his failures at Tampa Bay and how he ran things there — throwing players under the bus, bush league/dangerous stuff like trying to rush a victory formation, Josh Freeman, MRSA.

For Tennessee, it didn’t look good if the fans weren’t even going to give him a chance. But they appeared stuck. Just like Pitt fans had been. Hate the hire, but there’s not a lot to be done if the deal is made and the AD has sold it to the administration and enough key boosters.

Then the Penn State link was found. Specifically Schiano was mentioned in testimony by Mike McQueary in a deposition that was unsealed after the civil litigation by McQueary.

During the deposition, McQueary said he once discussed Sandusky with another Penn State assistant, Tom Bradley, who most recently was an assistant coach at UCLA. He said Bradley was not surprised by what McQueary told him because Bradley had heard similar.

From the deposition:

Q: “Did [Bradley] tell you that he had had information concerning Gerald Sandusky and children?”

A: “He said he knew of some things. … He said another assistant coach had come to him in the early ’90s about a very similar situation to mine, and he said that he had — someone had come to him as far back as early as the ’80s about seeing Jerry Sandusky doing something with a boy.”

Q: “Did he identify who the other coaches were that had given him this information?”

A: “The one in the early ’90s, yes.”

Q: “And who was that?”

A: “Greg Schiano …”

Q: “And did he give you any details about what Coach Schiano had reported to him?”

A: “No, only that he had – I can’t remember if it was one night or one morning, but that Greg had come into his office white as a ghost and said he just saw Jerry doing something to a boy in the shower. And that’s it. That’s all he ever told me.”

That is the extent of allegations involving Schiano, which first surfaced in 2016 during the unsealing of documents in the civil case.

That quickly became the issue. It wasn’t all the other stuff they had been complaining about. No, it was a moral high ground against enabling child rape.

I’m perfectly willing to believe the worst in everything about Penn State. And especially about the football program there.  But recollections of a conversation with another person where the name was mentioned. I’m at least willing to hesitate to be sure of it. And I’m definitely not going to make the case — that Vol fans decided to claim — that Schiano directly covered up child rape.

But with that issue in hand, the fans, other boosters, grandstanding politicians and others were able to kill the hire.

As Wes Rucker at VolQuest put it.

Sunday was a democratic hanging of Greg Schiano. But was it fair?

Look, I think Greg Schiano would’ve been an absolutely terrible fit at Tennessee. His autocratic style and inability to relate to people would’ve been an awful hire on the heels of Butch Jones.

Yet that wasn’t purportedly Tennessee fans’ issues with the hiring. “It has nothing to do with Jon Gruden or his record at Rutgers,” many implored. The entire ordeal became a backlash against Schiano’s time at Penn State and his alleged involvement in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. As Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel outlined, the details of the allegations against Schiano are entirely hearsay, but that didn’t matter on Sunday afternoon.

Perception became reality.

An accusation of “covered up child rape” was painted on Tennessee’s famed rock.

In the court of public opinion, Schiano totally lost whatever reputation he once had on Sunday. Local politicians, businesspeople, former players and partitioners decried Tennessee’s offer and implored Currie to back out of the deal. Fans protested on campus. Perhaps their cries were totally justified, but it all certainly felt convenient.

The same consensus and righteous moral high ground was certainly absent during the school’s Title IX case just two years ago.

They didn’t want Schiano because he wasn’t worthy of the job. And that’s fair. He wasn’t Gruden, Dan Mullen or even Mike Norvell.

In the end, Tennessee fans made a mistake Sunday turning a convenient narrative into a mob movement, but the true blame lies with others — especially considering GBO Nation has faithfully supported a fizzling program for years. The fact fans had been Scooby Doo’d by misinformation throughout the coaching search simply exaserbated Sunday’s backlash.

And that created a fascinating backlash by sportswriters. Some who thought the hire would have been fine. Some who didn’t. But most were more upset at the use of the Penn State story to further trash Schiano’s image and reputation.

And I can’t totally disagree with them on this. If you watched the insanity unfold on Sunday, you know that the moral claims were total bullshit.

If you are any sort of decent reporter, you really do want the truth (I know for many these days, this apparently is a controversial thing to say). And the writers sat there on Twitter, watching the story change right before their eyes. Where the fans who first started tweet-ranting directly at them about all the reasons Schiano was a bad hire — it all changed. Once the Penn State stuff was found and disseminated, their story changed. Right on their feed.

But, of course, some in the media had to go over their own deep end. With all of Schiano’s other failings with his treatment of players. With his documented history. They went over the top to defend Schiano. Some were even willing to cite Paterno apologists and conspiracy lunatics (who they had very likely dismissed as such in the past) like Anthony Lubrano and John Ziegler when those clowns defended Schiano.

And that was followed by the backlash to the backlash. The stories on how Schiano is hardly worth this much support from sportswriters.

There is a larger point, though. The fans made a difference.

It’s also something Tennessee athletic director John Currie should have considered as he was zeroing in on Schiano. The vetting process is supposed to bring every potential land mine into view before a school gets too far down the road with a candidate. When a candidate is potentially controversial, a school will often leak that it is considering that candidate as a trial balloon. Had Currie floated such a balloon in the past few days, Tennessee’s fan base would have reacted in similar fashion. The difference is the sides wouldn’t already have a Memorandum of Understanding. The Vols could have moved on to another candidate without a full-on revolt that will wind up making the search even more difficult going forward.

Another issue Sunday was what appeared to be an effort by some of the most influential voices in college football’s media corps to tell Tennessee fans to shut up and accept the hire. Whether this was because those people believe Schiano to be a great coach or because they want to stay on the good side of agent Jimmy Sexton is irrelevant. It came off as people in our business talking down to our customers who already had made their decision on the issue. We do that often. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone, and Sunday’s events should make all of us step back and consider listening to our customers a little more.

But here’s the tough part for us and the even tougher part for Currie. Every individual voice isn’t correct. When a consumer bloc rises up the way it did Sunday, it’s fairly easy to determine that the best move for the future of the business is to give the people what they want. (Or, in this case, to take away the thing they don’t want.) But what about next time? At some point in the coming days, Currie and company will settle on another coach. There is a 0% chance that coach will satisfy 100% of the fan base, so what happens then? Currie gets paid a lot of money to determine whether he’s dealing with a few cranks or a full-blown meltdown. He’ll have to figure it out.

And I know, every Pitt fan is thinking about former AD Barnes’ ramming through of Stallings, and how he didn’t listen. Or float a trial balloon out there. Like the Tennessee AD, he favored secrecy and trying to get the deal done first.

For the more conspiracy minded Pitt fans who saw the Stallings hire solely as a crony/backroom move with the search firm that Barnes hired and was recommended previously. Well, I’ll turn it over to the Boston College folks.

Well guess who helped place Currie at Tennessee? Former Boston College AD Gene DeFilippo. Yes, Gene D handpicked Currie, who cited him as a mentor when introduced. Now less than one full football season later, Tennessee fans have neutered Currie and are ready to send him packing. Great pick, Gene!

In theory Gene should understand Tennessee given his past their and numerous ties. I am sure Gene and Turnkey [Editor note, Turnkey Sports & Entertainment is another search firm in the college athletics world. DeFilippo is now employed there.] would explain that the Schiano mess could have been avoided if they had been directly involved with that search. My guess is that they were conflicted out since Gene was already running the Ole Miss search. And who did Ole Miss hire after all was said and done? Their interim head coach. Gene really worked that one hard. It was like hiring Spaz all over again.

If you go back to last season, you start to notice a pattern. Gene ran LSU’s coaching search last year. Who did they end up hiring? Their interim coach. Once again, money well spent on Turnkey!

It doesn’t surprise me that Gene keeps getting these plum assignments. He was at his best when he was networking, mentoring and working the gossip. That’s a major reason why BC got invited back into the ACC. However, the aspect of the job where Gene was least successful was hiring coaches.

Finally, it’s good to see that Scott Barnes appears to still be out of his depth at a Power 5 school. Oregon State still hasn’t hired a new head coach and some how Dennis Erickson’s name is being raised as a possibility.  Can’t wait until they hire Mack Brown.





42 comments

Two big differences, Pitt has a tiny ineffective fan base and Stallings didn’t ignore pedophilia.

It will be interesting to see how long Pitt Admin will put up with an empty Pete

Comment by gc 11.29.17 @ 8:58 am

No gc …. the main difference is that “national columnists”, with no relationship to Pitt, initially called out the Stallings’ hiring as a fraud … not the Pitt fanbase. They made the connection of the search firm to Barnes and Stallings, and made everyone aware of it.

Further, Pitt BB is a member of the ACC with an attractive venue and a very recent history of success … yet, only one candidate was interviewed.

While Stallings has decent credentials, there had to be a large handful of other attractive candidates that should have been considered also.

Comment by wbb 11.29.17 @ 9:16 am

Looking at this current Pitt BB team, I think that Stallings did an incredible job of putting it together. Think how difficult it must have been to get 10 commitments from players who could play at this level. They are going to lose a lot of games this year, no doubt. But the minutes played will be something to build on in future years. This team should be pretty good in a couple of years if Stallings just brings in 2-3 good players each year.

Comment by VoiceofReason 11.29.17 @ 9:45 am

Will the same happen to Tom Bradley when he surfaces as a DC for another school? Doubt it.

Comment by notrocketscience 11.29.17 @ 10:13 am

VoR, hope you’re right … but we have been fooled before by what looked to be good recruits, so I would hold off on the “10 commitments from players who could play at this level.” Samuels, Wilson-Frame and Carr certainly look like the real deal but we will have to wait a while to pass judgment on the others.

Comment by wbb 11.29.17 @ 10:13 am

I, to, am impressed with how Stallings put together this team. It was probably one of the hardest situations to walk into in Div. 1 college basketball. He has to create a brand new program. On the topic of Barnes: I don’t think Barnes had the awareness to even consider how any hire might look at Pitt. That’s because I believe he never truly intended to stick at Pitt. He said his family was the reason he took his current job, but he’s not kidding anyone. He would have left no matter what. And that’s the single biggest problem with Pitt athletics at the moment. There’s very little stability. We’re working on that (talk of even getting rid of another coach or AD would set us back yet again). But Barnes never would have stayed here. Perception among the Pitt base never entered his mind.

Comment by Pitt of Glory 11.29.17 @ 10:16 am

Wonder if Pitt cares about empty Pete as it is shown on TV. It certainly reflects on the public’s perception of our school.

Comment by frank md 11.29.17 @ 10:22 am

Pitt is going to get destroyed in ACC play this year and Stallings is making it worse by not playing Terrell Brown to let him develop.

Essentially, Stallings is going with Luther and Chukwuka, both at 6’9″ as his big men for the year. Idiotic. This team is terrible rebounding.

Carr, Stevenson and Wilson-Frame are good players and will be really good. Some of the others have potential to develop over the years like Dixon’s players did.

Comment by notrocketscience 11.29.17 @ 10:26 am

I agree with you, wbb, that we need to wait on the others, and some will surely transfer due to lack of playing time. That is why Stallings must follow up with a couple of good players each year to get some balance among the age groups, so everyone doesn’t leave at the same time. As for Barnes, PoG, he may have planned to jump to another school at some point, but I think he needed a good 4-5 years at Pitt to avoid questions and controversy. I’m convinced that something happened we don’t know about..

Comment by VoiceofReason 11.29.17 @ 10:28 am

Stallings is a decent coach at best. For the 10 players he did recruit, another 10-12 of higher value turned him down.

If he was hired at the end of a lengthy fair search, he would be much more accepted. What we are witnessing at Pitt is the aftermath of Tennessee actually hiring Shiano and the fans revolting by voting with their feet!

Maybe at another school it would be different but at Pitt …for so long…no one in the administration has actually heard the fans or cared to hear the fans and alums. It’s always “we and the BOT knows what’s best for Pitt Athletics!” and we’re making the decision that WE think is best!

Sad but true. SOP in all its glory!

Comment by Dan 72 11.29.17 @ 10:52 am

It should be noted that nobody knew that Stallings was being interviewed. All of a sudden, there was a press conference to announce his hiring, and it was later discovered that he was the only one interviewed.

Pitt fans had no opportunity to voice any displeasure until after the fact

Comment by wbb 11.29.17 @ 11:14 am

The media is lazy for the most part. If you think about it, why hasn’t any reporter gone to Ohio State and asked their AD why they have Schiano in the fold? Why haven’t the OSU fans taken to social media. The reason is simple. It has been addressed, yet noone reports it. They don’t report on it because the answer is too simple. MOU’s can address these things quickly. Mr. Schianno denies allegations of knowing anything about Sandusky. If it is further revealed that Schianno was not forthcoming, his contract becomes immediately null and void and said university owes no compensation to said coach. Boom, done.

The scarier part of this is that the allegations suggest this happened in the 1990’s. What? Noone should be shocked by this. A person does not start becoming a pedophile at the age of 45. Reporters should really dig further and interview McQueary some more.

Bradley – there is something really odd there. Reporters should dig and dig some more. The dots will start to connect if the right questions are asked.

Social Media acts as judge and juror in todays world. Most campuses don’t know how to handle it, including ours. Our Administration doesn’t have their hand on the pulse. That is why rankings are falling and sports programs are suffering.

Glad to see some familiar names around here….

Comment by Huff 11.29.17 @ 11:29 am

Dan 72 I don’t think this is true for every instance at Pitt. The fans pleaded for Wanny- he was hired. Barnes was not involved in hiring Duzzi. His hiring that was headed by a group of Pitt guys and he was very much accepted. When Howland left, the players and many around the basketball program lobbied hard for Dixon. He was hired, and even if there was some skepticism, that was erased quickly. Barnes did one thing well. He managed to sway a men’s soccer coach who was consider overqualified for Pitt. He is praised throughout the soccer community and was a very good hire. Those are just recent examples.

It seems to me there are a number of Pitt fans that won’t get over how one former AD handled a hiring, and will never truly look forward and give the basketball coach a real chance (which will require several years). We simply can’t make real judgements at this moment in time how Pitt will compete once his kids fully develop. We just can’t.

And as with any program, there are always kids turning down Pitt. Every year, every program. That’s how it goes. Who are the 10-12 kids and why are they different from the tens of thousands of other kids that didn’t get to Pitt?

Comment by Pitt of Glory 11.29.17 @ 11:37 am

wbb, no doubt more should have got interviews and the process was a joke. The Vol fans made themselves heard, Pitt Fans did not, even after Barnes spit in the eye of the fans at the press conference. Pitt Fans have always been too apathetic to get any attention.

What other Fan Base would have allowed their stadium to be torn down and moved off campus?

Comment by gc 11.29.17 @ 11:40 am

Does anyone have any recent news on football recruiting since the Miami win? Will Raines change his mind?

Comment by VoiceofReason 11.29.17 @ 11:50 am

Barnes at press conference basically called fans idiots when in actuality he is the idiot.

Comment by Steve 11.29.17 @ 12:24 pm

VoR, the staff are all on the road visiting both committed and potential recruits. They seem to be going hard after a JUCO OT (certainly a position of need) who is from East Coast but is playing in Cal. They also are pursuing a 4-star WR who decommitted from Tennessee .. and apparently has Pitt in final 2 or 3.

Note that they already have a JUCO OT committed .. hopefully can be of immediate use.

Comment by wbb 11.29.17 @ 12:40 pm

Pitt’s “compelling argument” was the Jeter transfer situation. TN’s was covering up child rape. TN’s compelling argument trumps Pitt’s compelling argument.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.29.17 @ 2:28 pm

@Steve 11.29.17

Barnes called fans idiots then was paid a few added months after resigning, so add Pitt admin who make THAT decision to the list of idiots….and then of course no journalism to uncover all that was done in that process.

Comment by tvax1 11.29.17 @ 4:17 pm

Thanks for the update, wbb. The OL upgrade is essential for next year. I think that would mean at least 4 OL recruits for next year. That WR would certainly help as well.

Comment by VoiceofReason 11.29.17 @ 4:58 pm

what can Pitt sell kids?
playing time
development
a chance to win
playing on national TV
a chance to go pro
a good education
a fun environment

Kind of what every school says
the smart kids cut through the BS and do their research…or at least their parents do

Comment by TX Panther 11.29.17 @ 5:47 pm

Pitt is at a disadvantage because we dont pay for cars, tats, whores, give out Benjamins, glorify athletes, etc

Comment by TX Panther 11.29.17 @ 5:49 pm

I would tell Tennessee to reach out to Steve Pederson to help with their search. For a second opinion, give Herman a call; he can reach his favorite consultation firm in the blink of an eye..
Does one need to fail a test to become an AD?

Comment by Gasman 11.29.17 @ 9:59 pm

@Tx – not sure I would go that far with your statement regarding Pitt being at a disadvantage. Just sayin.

Comment by Huff 11.29.17 @ 11:43 pm

On ESPNU Radio, the mid-day host Chris Childers mentioned that Tennessee deserves 2 years of Kevin Stallings as their B.B. coach as punishment for the Schiano debacle.

He went on to say that any school that allows bonehead displays Lyke this should automatically be saddled with Stallings for 2 years.

By the way, KS is in Childers “Hall of Stinkage” – anointed last year during his 1st season at Pitt. I believe just after the Louisville loss or the game he failed to sub players in the 2nd half of a loss.

The dislyke for KS the B.B. coach is not just a Pitt fan thing –

Comment by Erie Express 11.30.17 @ 5:52 am

EE, anybody who thinks that the anti-KS sentiment rests only with the Pitt fanbase is only fooling himself. XM84 has been poking fun at Pitt and KS since the hiring, and it has gotten progressively worse. And you may also want to query the Vandy fanbase to see their feelings.

Comment by wbb 11.30.17 @ 6:33 am

Anyone who was paying close attention knew Stallings was being interviewed two days before the press conference. If anyone at Pitt was listening to twitter, facebook, a or anywhere on the internet they would have seen that most of the fans, past players, and alums were not at all happy with the thought of the hire. Barnes referred to this outcry as “noise” during his press conference.

Barnes was brought here to show Jamie Dixon the door. That was accomplished. The school saved some $$ on salaries and they felt there were enough fans that had grown tired of JD & that sentiment would soon affect ticket sales. They didn’t realize how much revenue they would loose on tickets sales by hiring Stallings and I imagine they felt that fans would want to support the school and the team regardless of who they hired (for some of you that’s the case god bless you).

Perhaps now it’s hitting home as low attendance records are being broken with each new game. As for ACC play they will sell tickets to Duke and whatever other PA turncoat fans are out there for the visiting team but very few Pitt fans will show up for this coach and his team unless they do something on the court.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 11.30.17 @ 8:32 am

Yes tony they have lost far more money in ticket sales and donations than anything saved on Dixon’s pay.

Comment by Steve 11.30.17 @ 9:03 am

FWIW, I’m rooting for Wisconsin to beat OSU because PC is a good guy and I just love it when the Buckeyes lose. UW is the perfect job for PC, no doubt.

Note that Wisc is ranked 42nd in Total Offense but 1st in Total defense. Part of it is due its schedule and UW’s ball control offense, and the other part is that PC is not hiring his defensive coach these days. (see link below). And it also helps to have 8 or 9 4th and 5th year players starting on defense.

Good luck Paulie

link to aseaofblue.com

Comment by wbb 11.30.17 @ 10:39 am

Apparently ASU AD wanted to outdo Tennessee’s AD in incompetency. Herm “you play to win the game” Edwards????? Are you kidding me?

Comment by Pap76 11.30.17 @ 11:26 am

Somewhere Steve Pederson is saying “Holy shit, even I wouldn’t make that hire”

Comment by Pap76 11.30.17 @ 11:35 am

My dislike for Chryst is strong. Lol. Go buckeyes!

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.30.17 @ 11:39 am

Steve Pederson started that trend with haywood…..wow, i just puked a little in my mouth after typing that, it sickens me so much.

Comment by Huff 11.30.17 @ 11:45 am

Best line from PG article on 13-9, Wanny saying “only bad thing about that day was that it was Steve Pederson’s first day on the job as AD.” Amen Wanny, amen.

Comment by John 11.30.17 @ 11:59 am

Guess I didn’t realize that Joe Moorhead, who was hired as Miss St HC, began his coaching career as a GA at Pitt in 98-99. I knew he was a Pgh native and Central Catholic alum. He mentioned Walt Harris in his intro presser today.

It’s amazing how quick he turned around PSU’s offense. Yes, having Barkley, McSorley and those WRs certainly helped but he did a really good job.

Comment by wbb 11.30.17 @ 12:31 pm

FWIW, Green Bay Coach Mike McCarthy was also a GA a Pitt (Greenfield native) … as was Wanny and Kirk Ferentz.

Comment by wbb 11.30.17 @ 12:36 pm

Guys, with regard to Stallings, of course he got off to a rough start due to the AD handling of the entire hiring process, and Stallings was obviously put in a tough position due to the roster he inherited at the tail end of Jamie’s recruiting implosion. But if you put all that stuff aside- the roster and the hiring debacle- you are still left with a mediocre coach at best, and this is demonstrated by his long history at Vandy. Not too long ago, the Pete was one of the top places to play in the country, with a great city campus venue for bb athletes, and in the top conference in the country. Nobody is suggesting restoring Pitt’s stature will be easy, but the answer is as simple as finding the right coach, it’s nothing more or less. And there is no way that Stallings, with a proven track record, could possibly be that guy. There are tons young candidates across the country that this job would attract, and I would’ve much rather given an opportunity to a promising young coach than a guy who has proven to be mediocre at best. I can’t say I’ll root against my team, but truthfully I think the best thing for the program right now is tons of losses in order to force KS’ departure sooner rather than later.

Comment by 1618mt 11.30.17 @ 12:52 pm

Rick Pitino has sued the University of Louisville Athletic Association for $38.7 million

https://sports.yahoo.com/pitino-sues-university-louisville-athletic-association-213711779–ncaab.html

Comment by Jackagain 11.30.17 @ 8:17 pm

Not much of a lather being worked up for the city game.

Comment by Alcofan 11.30.17 @ 9:31 pm

Alco, Robert Morris and Duquesne already played last week.

Comment by wbb 12.01.17 @ 6:52 am

Happy 10th Anniversary 13-9!

Comment by John 12.01.17 @ 7:37 am

apparently Chris Peak has a KIndle book out about that game

link to amazon.com

(If Miami beats Clemson and then goes on to win it all, then his 2nd book will be hw Pitt was the only school to beat the national champs 2 years in a row)

Comment by wbb 12.01.17 @ 8:12 am

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