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December 22, 2016

What had been rumored to be possible from the moment Oregon State lost their AD to Georgia Tech, to likely from last week to now being official.

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said a national search for “the next great leader of Pitt Athletics” will begin immediately to replace Scott Barnes, who has accepted the athletic director post at Oregon State.

Barnes will work closely with the Chancellor to assure a smooth transition in coming weeks.

“Scott Barnes is an outstanding athletic director and has been wholeheartedly committed to the success of our student-athletes during his time at Pitt,” Gallagher said. “I am very sorry to see him leave, but I know that Scott is doing what is best for his family, and I wish them well as he takes on his new role at Oregon State.”

Barnes is a native of Spokane, Washington and there have been whispers that there are family reasons he would like to be closer to home — which is obliquely referenced.

“Upon accepting the athletic director position at the University of Pittsburgh more than 18 months ago, I mentioned how honored and humbled my family was to join the ‘Pitt Family,’” Barnes said. “During our time here, we’ve learned, more and more, how fitting that description really is. Pitt is an incredibly special place with wonderful people who have become like family for us.

“That’s why leaving the university to accept the athletic director position at Oregon State was such a difficult decision. Ultimately, we felt this was a choice we had to make based on some very important personal family considerations.”

I do wish him well and hope things work out for his family.

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December 15, 2016

I know the premise might piss some off as too flippant, but I can’t disagree that Pitt coaching searches are a bit of a pip. A groundhog day thing full of crazy rumors, angst and a bit of self-loathing.

So, yeah. Matt Canada took the OC position at LSU. More money and a higher profile job. Calling it a “lateral move” is either ignorant or an attempt to cheap shot Pitt. I favor ignorance in this case.

To expand on some of what I said the other day. If Canada had stayed at Pitt and had similar success for just one more season he would be in the mix for head coaching jobs in the MAC, C-USA and Sun Belt. Have success at LSU for a year or two as OC. Especially in light of all their underachieving in the past 7 or 8 years and he is in being interviewed for AAC, low Power 5 conference jobs and OC spots in the NFL.

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May 21, 2016

Here is the Peak’s PantherLair podcast on the Trib’s website – he talks about the uniform roll-out and other things.  But specifically about what a ringing success the whole day was for Pitt athletics – from social media to returning players to the event itself in the evening.  He also talks about how the Pirates don’t give a crap about Pitt at all… as we read in Chas’ piece earlier.

He also addresses the current facilities improvements and what was done by previous FB HCs.  I like the fact that this administration is dedicated to long range upgrades and it’s starting to come to fruition.

(By the way – remember what Peak says here about Narduzzi’s using comparisons to other football programs when asking fans and boosters for $$$ to renovate the facility’s meeting rooms, weight rooms, etc… Pitt football does not exist in a vacuum and we have to play catch up to keep up with programs that have forged ahead of where we are now when you read the last part of this article.)

Chris Logue of Pitt Nation Sports always has interesting articles and is a damn good wordsmith. Here he writes about the QBs, or not, of the future for Pitt.

“Despite the success from a Pittsburgh standout and the myriad of congratulations the star (Phil Jurkovec) received after his commitment, it seemed like a dumpster-fire moment on Twitter from “Pitt-faithful.” Oddly enough, mostly aimed at Pat Narduzzi’s immediate “inability to recruit” after an incredible wrap to his 2016 class and the praises that sealed that envelope. Phil Jurkovec

The story that remains in the middle of the announcement, for myself at least, is everyone seems to have forgotten about Thomas MacVittie, a prized steal for Narduzzi last season.

To state that MacVittie did not produce the same attention through his senior season as Jurkovec had through just his sophomore season is excruciatingly obvious. But, the two may be more similar on the field than you may think.

Its a good read and should bring some of us back from the brink.

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May 19, 2016

New Unis for All

Filed under: Athletic Department,Marketing — Chas @ 7:11 am

No kidding. In the interest of infodumping, go here if you feel like seeing detailed images of all the new unis. From the football team to the band, to the cheer and dance to gymnastics (sorry, the unis are on mannequins).

Let’s give AD Scott Barnes some credit since it has been a seeming non-stop slam-fest on him since late-March. He put together a nice spectacle. Kept things under wraps. Really well-coordinated campaign. Made the unveiling of the full athletic department rebranding a full-on celebration of Pitt.

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May 15, 2016

We did an article about this last year but here is a follow-up piece by Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette addressing Pitt’s new athletic logo that is to be unveiled on Wednesday (no big surprise that it is the Script PITT from the 1980s) and how it does NOT represent the University as a whole…  a visual reminder here:

Pitt TE coach tweets photoshopped Swimsuit Issue cover

From Werner’s article:

“If the athletic department is the front porch, then the Pitt script logo, set to be re-introduced as the school’s primary athletic mark at a Petersen Events Center unveiling Wednesday, is a sign on the front of the house.

Often times, though, that sign may not represent every room in the house.

Like Pitt, many universities across the country have developed distinct university logos separate from their athletic marks, as they try to strike a balance between the visibility athletics can provide and the academic pursuits of the greater institution.

“Most of the time, the rationale is that, look, we have two different products here,” said Antonio Williams, a sport and fitness brand researcher and assistant professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. “We don’t necessarily want to take away the academic rigor and prestige from the university side by associating with athletics. There may be certain liabilities by associating yourself with athletics.”

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May 10, 2016

ACC meetings started yesterday and the big topic that the media (and fans) wanted addressed: ACC Network. Still as clear as ever, which is not even a little.

But to the surprise of no one tracking this saga, ACC commissioner John Swofford plans no public enlightenment during this week’s league gathering at Amelia Island, Fla.

Swofford told the ACC Digital Network’s Jeff Fischel that he remains “very focused” on a sustainable television path for the conference. This he did without mentioning over-the-top (OTT) outlets such as Netflix and Hulu, and partner ESPN’s bleeding of traditional cable subscribers and subsequent personnel cuts.

“We think we’re in a really good position for the long-term,” Swofford told Fischel. “We’ve just got to make the right decisions and time things appropriately.”

“I don’t know that there will be public clarity,” Swofford said of this week. “I think we will move further down the trail of where we’re headed, without question. … We’re really just not going to have a whole lot more to say until we reach a point of saying something definitive. It takes some patience with that, but we’ll get to a good place, I’m confident.”

That was some well phrased nothing.

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April 29, 2016

No, nothing about Laremy Tunsil’s moment of honesty — before a PR (or assistant agent) hurriedly hustled him out of his press conference. Good times coming to Ole Miss.

The satellite camps are still allowed. This has been one of the sillier controversies of the spring.

The SEC and ACC pushed for a complete ban — and got one — on the camps because of paranoia and wanting to protect their natural recruiting areas. They can dress it up however they want, but it was only about protecting their own self-interests. And yes, Coach Pat Narduzzi was fully in support of such a ban, but  I still don’t get it.

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April 6, 2016

[Editor note: I drafted this before I even knew Reed was writing his own thing on Barnes. So, this isn’t a counterpoint. Just my own thoughts.]

One of the nice things about traveling is that it does give you time to think. Between the driving, the flights and motion there has been a bit of time for that. Can’t break out the laptop and there are only so many times you can bust out a pithy 140 character tweet that neatly encapsulates the rambling thoughts bouncing around the head. It gave me a rare chance to step back and actually think before blathering.

That has led me to think more and more about the hiring of Kevin Stallings. I’m not going to waste my energies venting about Stallings. I want him to prove that it really was Vandy, not him, that was the reasons for the underachieving.

That he is reinvigorated by the move and that it is going to turn out a lot better than it seems. Retaining the recruiting class and the fact that all seems calm with the returning players is encouraging. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’d rather have a little hope for a while longer.

I think that what most of us are bothered by is not hiring Stallings, but why hire Stallings.

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April 4, 2016

Before I get to the meat of this article I would like to reiterate something I have passed along on here a few times since I started writing for the Blather all those many moons ago. After you read it, then get into the article itself, you’ll see the connection.

I’ve been asked many times on here, on the message boards, in person at tailgates, at special Pitt events and functions and at the games, something on these lines ‘Why do you think you are qualified to write a blog and why should we care about what you have to say’.

My response to that has always been pretty consistent in replying ‘Because I’m a fan like you, I have extensive historical ties to the university and actually there is no concrete reason why you should care about my stuff at all’ – or something to that effect.

Those ‘historical ties’ go back to 1908 when my grandfather on my Dad’s side helped the growing Western University of Pennsylvania Medical school become The University of Pittsburgh’s Medical school and stayed on as a staff instructor and professor.

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September 1, 2015

The Peripherals

Filed under: Athletic Department,Football,Honors — Chas @ 7:00 am

Great. Now all my gear is retro/throwback and my throwbacks are now modern. So, the script is officially going to come back for all Pitt athletics.

The goal is to have a roll-out for new apparel this spring, and have all of Pitt’s athletic teams in new script uniforms for the 2016-17 school year. The school’s colors will remain navy blue and gold.

“When that Pitt script is showing, we want people all over the country to understand that’s the University of Pittsburgh,” Barnes said.

Barnes admitted that this rebranding process was a bit different than the one he undertook as athletic director at Utah State in 2012, which was a 15-month effort that involved countless meetings and focus groups. Because the script logo was added back to the helmets last season, Barnes had to work a bit quicker and more anecdotally here, but he thought the answer was pretty obvious.

“That brand is a no-brainer, I would say, to our alumni base and our constituent base,” Barnes said. “It didn’t take long at all because I heard it every day in emails and on Twitter.”

Former athletic director Steve Pederson returned the beloved Pitt script logo to the football team’s helmets in October, but the roll-out was hurried and poorly executed.

The script logo was on the helmets, but the rest of the signage, apparel and media had the old arching block “Pitt,” the athletic department’s primary logo since 2005. The plan at the time was to keep the script logo for football, but maintain the block logo for all other sports.

“If you could ever be half-pregnant, we were,” Barnes said.

As if Barnes couldn’t endear himself to the Pitt fans early, an extra shot at former AD Peterson to boot.

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August 5, 2015

New Athletic Director Scott Barnes just tweeted out a link to let Pitt fans reserve tickets to the Penn State game next year early. Here are the details:

2015 Pitt Football Season Ticket Holders and Mini Package Holders may now request additional tickets to the highly anticipated matchup in 2016 between Pitt and Penn State at Heinz Field. Additional single game ticket requests can be made by calling the Panthers Ticket Office at 800-643-7488 or by clicking here.

TICKET ALLOCATION
The following order of ticket allocation will be used:

  1. Season Ticket Holders that are Panther Club members that have requested additional tickets by rank
  2. Mini Package Holders that are Panther Club members that have requested additional tickets by rank
  3. Season Ticket Holders that are non-Panther Club members that have requested additional tickets by rank
  4. Mini Package Holders that are non-Panther Club members that have requested additional tickets by rank

Following the Ticket Allocation of requests from Pitt Football Season Ticket and Mini Package Holders we will offer an exclusive opportunity to the following groups based on availability…

  1. Panther Club members that are not Pitt Football Season Ticket or Mini Package holders by rank
  2. Pitt Alumni Association members

After this exclusive period any remaining single game tickets will be made available to the general public.

I can’t stress how important it will be to make sure Heinz is as pro-Pitt as possible. None of us like Penn State, but we can’t deny they have a large fan base that will attend in droves. This is a great way to make the stadium as friendly as possible, so do your part and reserve tickets today!

June 20, 2015

With the commitment we just received from Safety Bricen Garner of local Central Catholic High School ( Garner is listed as a 3* on two sites and unranked on the other two) we now have a total of four recruits with most being 3* kids.

Looking at that verbal and thinking about the recruiting game in general made me recall that I’ve always thought of the makeup of a school’s successful football program, and its recruiting, as much like a human body.

The skeleton, the frame on which the whole thing depends to stay upright, is the university’s administration and the support system those it gives to the rest of the football body. That support is both financial and administrative and if the program is getting a strong frame from the University, one that is healthy with no cracks or injuries to it, then building on those bones is made that much easier.

I see the internal organs of the program to be the athletic department’s administrative and support systems for the program and the players. There are a lot of separate parts which have to work together as a whole to make and keeps the program’s body functioning. For instance our last AD Steve Pederson was the Urinary Bladder because each time he came to PITT he tried to piss all over the program. Think Torch-Cut and DinoCat for starters.

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June 11, 2015

PITTSBURGH —The University of Pittsburgh’s football promotional days have been unveiled for the 2015 season. New this season for any Youth Football team that reserves a group of 15 or more to any one of Pitt’s six home games is a FREE script Pitt football hat for all attendees. Youth Football website.

Sept. 5, Youngstown State, “Hail to Heroes” – Pitt will pay tribute to our heroes in the armed services as all active, reserve and retired military personnel and first responders are invited to attend. Hail to Heroes website

Oct. 10, Virginia, “Homecoming” – Always one of the most festive weekends on the Pitt calendar, details for Homecoming 2015 can be found at the Pitt Alumni Association’s official Homecoming website.

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May 19, 2015

You have to say one thing about our new Head Coach; he knows how to work a room.

PITT hosted a Pat Narduzzi Alumni Meet and Greet evening in Washington DC last night and approximately 220 PITT Alumni and fans showed up for the festivities.

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(Note: here is a late addition of all the photos taken by the PITT media department of the event – pretty interesting and try to play “Where’s Reed”  Hint: I’m taller than everyone else.  Look at photos #26, 46, 55 and 56.

It was a nice evening and was intended as an avenue for PITT to re-awaken the alumni – athletic department connections. There is really no telling how well that went over, I’m sure PITT will contact the attendees later to further the money side of the equation. It was very well produced, people were happy to be there, and Narduzzi used his oversized image and personality to get a good and excited feeling going with everyone to take home when they left at 8:00.

The plan was set up like this.  Schedule the evening in late May when DC is starting to really heat up so that in addition to the high temperatures you also get the springtime mugginess that permeates DC.  Then, arrange to have most of the event outdoors; the check-in line (with a five minute wait),  two  tables with PITT advertisements and information publications, a table of PITT shirts and hats for sale and two other tables with the ‘light appetizers’ which were actually substantial and well presented.

The only thing missing was the Red Cross station where one could get intravenously re-hydrated due to sweating every drop of water out of your body. A lot of the attendees parked outside of DC and took the Metro in and that four block walk on hot concrete was a killer.  It was nice later in the evening though and no matter how talented Narduzzi is he really can’t control the weather.

But honestly, the place was well arranged and attractive and because PITT rented out a smaller conference room at the most famous and expensive hotel in DC, The Willard, space was at a premium so they adapted well to the size allotted.

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May 14, 2015

Admin in Amelia Island

Filed under: Academics,Admin,Athletic Department — Chas @ 11:41 am

The ACC Spring meetings are wrapping up. Nothing accomplished of real note. Lots of talk. Lots of coaches expressing opinions on rule changes. The administrative and conference stuff isn’t what fans and media want anyways. On that front, this is simply a chance to talk to masses of coaches and ADs.

Nothing concrete. Just opinions. The conferences and coaches may state their preferences for certain changes, but they will not actually do anything right now. They will have the NCAA enact the rules and changes. That gives them cover over unpopular things and items that have unintended consequences later.

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