This one was ugly; like Wannstedt’s mustache full of fish sammich ugly. I don’t know if I have the stomach to watch the defense and give you guys a review. If you really, really want it (post in comments what your opinion is) I’ll do it, but only because you guys are the best. I say that earnestly, not sarcastically. Here are a few quick thoughts. (more…)
The rumors of Barry Rohrssen’s return have been swirling for a couple of weeks. To be honest, it has been hard to separate fact from wishful thinking that has been put out there. But it seems that Jamie Dixon is indeed bringing back Slice.
Sources confirmed Thursday night that Barry “Slice” Rohrssen will rejoin Dixon’s staff as an assistant coach, replacing Pat Sandle, an original member of Dixon’s staff who spent the past decade with the program.
That detail is surprising. Sandle first started with Pitt in 1999 under Ben Howland. The LA native left for a couple years to be an assistant at UCLA under Lavin. Of course, Lavin was fired by UCLA who hired Howland and Sandle was not retained. And when Dixon became the Pitt head coach, he hired Sandle.
In the recruiting game, sometimes it doesn’t pay to wait for late offers and sometimes it does. For Jon Severe, it worked out well. The shooting guard from Christ the King didn’t have a lot of offers at first. A 3-star recruit, had offers initially from middling A-10 programs like Rhode Island, GW and Fordham. He didn’t commit and saw his stock rise, including being named New York’s Mr. Basketball. He now has offers from Pitt, WVU, K-State, Creighton. No surprise Pitt and WVU are now after him considering both struggled with being able to score consistently this past year. He is a shooter and willing to drive.
He gets to the rim north to south as well as east to west with a quick first step and good economy of motion. He runs hard in transition, has dexterity putting the ball on the floor and finishing, and actually prefers to drive left. Severe is also a capable shot maker off the catch or the dribble with terrific shot preparation for a youngster.
As you would expect defense and consistency are the issues for him. He’s a bit on the small side for a shooting or wing guard at 6-2 — which was the primary reason he didn’t attract a lot of high-major interest. It’s not clear when he will make a decision. The number of offers swelled, so he appears to be re-evaluating everything.
Sorry. I have been trying to get healthy and pull double shifts the last week or so. Somehow the two don’t work well together. I was working on a post-mortem post on the Wichita State game yesterday when the news of Dixon’s extension started seeping.
That kind of changed things a bit.
So let’s work from this point. Jamie Dixon is not going anywhere.
Stating that he intends to “finish his career at the University of Pittsburgh,” Pitt men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon reinforced that commitment today when he signed a 10-year contractual agreement that runs through the 2022-23 season.
Dixon owns the highest winning percentage in school history (.753) with a 262-86 record from 2003-13. He has led the Panthers to nine NCAA Tournaments in 10 seasons, the most NCAA appearances by a Pitt coach.
“Pitt and Pittsburgh are home,” Dixon said. “My family and I feel blessed to be part of such a great institution and wonderful city. It is the people who truly make a place special. I could not be surrounded by better players, staff and administration. These aren’t just people I work for and with every day. They’re friends and I’m very thankful for that. I would like to express special appreciation to our leadership team of Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Athletic Director Steve Pederson and Executive Vice Chancellor Jerry Cochran. Their guidance and friendship have been invaluable. I greatly appreciate the faith and support they have always shown me since my arrival at Pitt.”
I know there is a vocal minority that feels like Dixon should be gone; along with a very frustrated group after the Wichita State flop ready to say good-bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out to USC.
I’ve tried to ignore it since midseason, because it is rather silly. Still, the storyline is getting a little more play so I guess it’s time to write a bit about the idea that Coach Jamie Dixon would take the USC job.
Is it possible?
Well, sure, most things are possible. But it isn’t very probable.
Last week. Last week — mind you — Jeff Goodman at CBS Sports wrote about USC talking to Syracuse’s coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins. In writing up the potential of Hopkins, Goodman noted who the guy USC AD Pat Haden had at the top of his list.
The hip pick is Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon returning to the West Coast (that’s where he’s from). The 47-year-old Dixon is set to go to his ninth NCAA tournament in 10 seasons since taking over for Howland. It could happen, but Dixon has had other opportunities to leave — including one before Kevin O’Neill took the USC job three years ago — and has spurned them all. The USC program is in a better place now, and Pittsburgh is headed into a stacked ACC, so it makes more sense for him to head west now than it did a few years back. However, the question becomes his buyout and whether he’d actually pull the trigger when the time comes to make a decision.
Dixon, from what I’m told, sits atop Haden’s list.
The themes are all hit. Heading to a new conference. The ACC is stacked. He’s from the west coast. USC isn’t quite the dumpster fire it was three years ago. The one thing it doesn’t try to claim: that Dixon wants to take the USC job.
You’re doing it wrong, Pitt. You release bad news — or at least controversial news — on a Friday sometime around 5pm Eastern. Especially on a holiday weekend. You don’t do it on that Monday. And certainly not when there is a big basketball game slated for national TV and rather than have the Pitt fans fired up for the game, they are debating the long-awaited hire of a new defensive coordinator.
By now, almost everyone is aware, Pitt has promoted Matt House from secondary coach to the defensive coordinator position.
House, who will narrow his positional focus to the safeties this season, joined Chryst’s staff last year after working with the NFL’s St. Louis Rams (2009-11) and Carolina Panthers (2008). He previously held collegiate coaching posts at Michigan State, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb and Buffalo.
“I was very impressed by Matt’s work last year in the secondary,” Chryst said. “He has been a great fit for our program as a coach, recruiter and teacher of the game. His experiences and work ethic have more than prepared him for this opportunity to be a coordinator.”
It was a move that had been rumored for the past month in some form or another. House is not yet 35 and what makes this move subject to many questions is his paucity of experience. He started out at his alma mater, Michigan St., as a grad assistant for two years. Then it was two years as a “defensive assistant” at UNC. A year at Gardner-Webb. Then two years at Buffalo. Never beyond a position coach.
Fine, I’ll indulge in this. If for no other reason than to provide a post that is actually on the topic. Damn, the fact that Pitt basketball is off until Saturday!
No puffs of smoke from the South Side indicating that any hirings have been made for the DC position.
There are names drifting about, but it is also clear that no one is really sure how serious either side is in the gig. Pitt and Coach Chryst really have a handle on leaks. Government agencies could learn a few things from this.
Keep in mind, these are just rumored names. Don’t treat them as facts. Try not to freak out on the speculation too much. Please?
Here are the names:
I have to be honest. I haven’t thought or worried too much about the vacant defensive coordinator position. It isn’t that I don’t want to get it resolved. And obviously I want Coach Chryst to hire someone who is very good at his job (not to mention above average as a recruiter).
It is just that I really didn’t expect a new DC to be hired until after signing day. Most rumors and reports suggested/hinted/implied that Coach Chryst was going to be waiting until after this week to really move on the hire. So it seemed silly to wonder, angst and provide calorie-free updates when there really was no information or expectations.
Well, now we are reaching the point where a hire is going to be made and must be made. Coach Chryst has acknowledged as much during his signing day presser.
I’ll keep this short. No really. Last year in the search for the next Pitt football coach it appeared to come down to Mario Cristobal or Paul Chryst. I was leaning more towards Cristobal because of how far he had brought FIU in just a few years plus his recruiting ties to Miami and actual head coach experience.
The big negative against him were the suggestions that he really wanted to stay in the Miami area. That at the least he was just using the interest as a way to improve his money from FIU. The fact that he would likely bolt at the first chance if the Miami job (his alma mater) came open. It seemed to me that too many were using that as primarily in light of the nature and brevity of the Fraud Graham tenure. Especially in relation to Cristobal’s wife.
Well, fast forward a year and FIU inexplicably fired Cristobal after one down season (that included a lot of injuries). And the FIU firing makes less sense when you realize they replaced Cristobal with Ron Turner. About the only thing that explains the stupidity, is that FIU AD Pete Garcia is the same guy who thought hiring Isiah Thomas to be a college basketball coach was a good idea.
Well, my son is running a fever today. Which means I’m taking a sick day as well. (Hence the slew of posts.)
Today, Wisconsin officially hires Gary Andersen from Utah State. Wisconsin fans like the fact that Andersen was a candidate, and they seem very pleased with the hire. By most accounts, the hire was considered to be an excellent move.
A coach that won in a place that has been mostly a rent-a-win since its return to 1-A. He’s from the Urban Meyer coaching tree. He was the DC at Utah. It also seems to be a fiscally prudent hire, as Andersen’s salary is in the $1.8 – 2 million range.
Obviously for Pitt fans, the relief is that Wisconsin may have found a coach that can win. If Wisconsin wins, then they aren’t looking to replace him a few years down the road. Which means if Chryst succeeds like we hope and believe, he won’t be faced with the choice of going home.
There is one nagging fear.
The defensive coordinator position is open. Dave Huxtable has moved on to take the DC spot at NC State.
How do I feel about that? Eh. I can’t say it is a huge loss. It would have been nice to have full coaching staff continuity for two seasons, but it beats changing head coaches once more.
Some of the obvious names being bandied about are Charlie Partridge (serving presently as DC at Wisconsin, but also spent a few years as a Pitt assistant), Todd Orlando (former UConn and FIU DC), along with the usual Pitt guys names like Teryl Austin and Sal Sunseri. Tom Bradley’s name has been mentioned — with tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek.
(Seriously. Tom Bradley will not be the next DC. He remains unhireable as a college coach. His supporters and agent tried to float his name out there for the open Temple job and that sank quickly and quietly. No program is willing to take that chance. Please do not even try to make the case.)
Only a two or three regular season games left on the schedule for many teams. The coaching carousel is getting warmed up for the latest whirl.
In Tennessee where, um, clearer heads are mostly aware that they won’t get Kevin Sumlin, Urban Meyer, and of course Jon Gruden; that leaves speculating on who they can get. And to what lengths they are willing to stoop (they are also not getting Bob Stoops).
Arizona State coach Todd Graham doesn’t need a dream to change jobs after a year. He already has Kiffined two programs, first Rice in 2006 and then Pittsburgh in 2011.
After last season, he told Panthers players goodbye via email and rushed off to Arizona State. All he left behind was a nickname: “Mr. All Talk Then Walk.”
Actually, he’s not all talk. He was 7-6 at Rice, 36-17 at Tulsa, and is now 5-5 at Arizona State, which returned only eight starters and has had four consecutive losing seasons.
If the Vols’ coaching search turns desperate — and they’re not above Kiffining somebody — Graham could be their guy.
This is just too good not to post.
Those dementedly brilliant Taiwanese animations of news events now includes the Arkansas-Bobby Petrino scandal and firing.
An interesting move by TCU to get Trent Johnson from LSU. Johnson had built a solid resume/reputation going from Nevada to Stanford and having success. He’s had mixed results at LSU at best. It was initially believed Johnson would make roughly what he made at LSU, though, his salary pool for assistants would be smaller.
The reports came out that Johnson was going to be earning close to $2 million. What? That seemed crazy. Turned out that the $2 million number was bogus. More likely that the number was the total package for Johnson with incentives and his pool for assistants.
The move as whole has brought shrugs from both sides. It is also interesting in that Q&A between TCU and LSU about Trent Johnson that the LSU side views it as a Penn State-Ed DeChellis-Navy situation. Where the coach sees what could be happening after next year (and only one year left on the contract) and goes for another job before being fired. That actually seems more like what Jim Christian did at TCU. He saw the situation at TCU — in terms of the team, talent, time left on his contract, and step-up in conference difficulty — and made a move downward to the MAC.