February 11, 2015

Say this for Chancellor Gallagher. He knows football still drives everything. Pitt announced its search committee for a new Athletic Director. There are 14 members and a search firm to boot.

Members of the search committee are:

Randy Juhl: Search Committee Chairperson; Vice Chancellor; Acting Athletic Director; Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacy

Dave DeJong:   Vice Provost, Academic Planning and Resources Management; Senate Athletics Committee; Chair, Student Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee; Professor of Economics

Al Novak: Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Jay Irrgang: Co-Chair, Senate Athletics Committee; Professor of Orthopedic Surgery

Susan Albrecht: Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR); Student-Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee member; Associate Professor of Nursing

Wendy Meyers: Executive Associate Athletic Director and Athletics Chief Financial Officer

Justin Acierno: Assistant Athletic Director, Ticket Sales and Operations; former Pitt football student-athlete

Jen Tuscano: Assistant Director of Academic Support Services, Academic Counselor

Artie Rowell: President, Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); Pitt football student-athlete

Lindsay Offutt: Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Officer; Pitt gymnastics student-athlete

Alonzo Webb: Pitt Track and Field/Cross Country Head Coach

Suzie McConnell-Serio: Pitt Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Bryant Salter:   Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

James Covert:  Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

There are three former and one present member of the football team.

The search firm that will help the committee is DHR International. Specifically, Glenn Sugiyama, Global Head of Sports, and Pat Richter, Executive Vice President, Education and Sports Practice.

Artie Rowell is just building one hell of a resume even before he leaves Pitt.

Neither Jamie Dixon or Pat Narduzzi are on the search committee. I’m sure they will have input and their opinions will be solicited, but not direct influence on the search.

Reports are that Pitt has had as slew of applicants with the majority being sitting ADs.

I really don’t expect them to have a new AD in place until at least June.

January 14, 2015

Before the trying to pretend he didn’t know anything about his players exchanging gear for tattoos and other services, Jim Tressel was consistently getting outstanding recruiting classes to Columbus. His recruiting coordinator for much of that time was John Peterson.

A former Ohio State offensive lineman. He had been climbing the coaching ranks as a OL Coach. First at Akron (1995-98), then at Miami (Ohio) under Terry Hoeppner until 2003. Then he was  hired to be the O-line coach at Arizona. That changed quickly when his alma mater came calling in the spring. Tressel hired him to be the recruiting coordinator and TE Coach at OSU.


January 12, 2015

Strong Move on OC

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:07 am

I’ll be throwing up an open thread for the college football playoff championship game tonight. If for no other reason, everyone can wax rhapsodic over the analysis, insight and way Pat Narduzzi sells Pitt in the ESPN Film Room on ESPN2.

In the mean time, I guess we can pour over the news of Pitt’s new offensive coordinator. His name is Jim Chaney and he has been the Arkansas OC for the past two years.

Chaney spent the past two years with the Razorbacks, calling plays in their pro-style offense. This year, Arkansas ranked 26th in Division I-A with 218 rushing yards per game. He had two running backs surpass 1,000 yards in Jonathan Williams (1,190 yards) and Alex Collins (1,100 yards).

By the end of the season, Arkansas’ offense put up more than 30 points on top-30 defenses Texas and Mississippi. The Razorbacks scored 30 on the Rebels, who ended the season with Division I-A’s best scoring defense.

Arkansas finished the season 42nd in scoring offense, averaging 31.9 points per game.

Narduzzi said Saturday he prefers an offensive coordinator with play-calling experience, and Chaney fills that requirement. The move should also ensure a relatively smooth transition, as Chaney’s offense appears to be relatively similar to the one the Panthers ran under former coach Paul Chryst.

There were reportedly issues by the end of the year with Arkansas Head Coach Brett Bielema and Chaney. Chaney wanted a more balanced offensive attack, while Bielema wants to just run the football. So, from that standpoint the move for Chaney makes sense as HCPN has stated he does not want to meddle with the OC and play calling.


January 9, 2015

The names have been floating out there for a couple days. I’m sure many have been getting antsy about Head Coach Pat Narduzzi naming a staff. Especially since during the Armed Forces Bowl, he indicated he hoped to name the assistants and coordinators by about today.

Instead, it was very quiet and no real concrete — or even vaguely sure — info on who would be on the staff. Something that P-G beat writer, Sam Werner addressed in his weekly chat.

Comment From KatPanther13: Has local media lost all of their connections in the Athletic Department/Football team? None of you have any scoops PG, Trib, Local Broadcast News, what’s up man?

Sam Werner: Believe me, I wish I had more information to give you regarding the coaching staff. Not as an excuse, but Pitt’s leadership is in a great state of flux right now. A new chancellor came in August, and they’re in the midst of a transition at athletic director. That means that a lot of people who used to be in the loop aren’t necessarily anymore, and people might be less willing to talk because the future of the athletic department is a little more unsettled.

Pitt has always been very hard to crack when it comes to leaks and movement. (more…)

December 29, 2014

A little more than a week ago, the anticipation on the head coach hire was strongly leaning towards the idea that Pitt was going to get an experienced head coach. That turned out not to be the case, but for my own amusement I find it worth reviewing some of the names that may or may not have been legitimately linked to the Pitt job. And why they didn’t happen.

Not included are guys that really (or likely) were interviewed like Doc Holliday, P.J. Fleck and Justin Fuente. All three signed extensions, but the extensions were aided either because Pitt showed interest or had already talked to them and they knew there was no chance.


December 26, 2014

Open Thread: Welcome Narduzzi

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 3:29 pm

Once more into the introductory press conference, dear friends. Once more.

Pat Narduzzi will be introduced in a few minutes as Pitt’s newest football head coach. Here’s the link for the live stream of the presser.

I look forward to believing.


December 24, 2014

Per Joe Schad, Narduzzi has signed his contract.

Pat Narduzzi has agreed to become Pittsburgh’s next head coach. Narduzzi was def. coordinator at Michigan St. for 8 years. (via @schadjoe)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 24, 2014

Paul Zeise reports the press conference will be Friday. Now that this has settled, the next step is filling out the staff. MSU SBnation writer Hondo Carpenter has tweeted out some great nuggets on that and the two best recent nuggets are after the jump. (more…)

December 23, 2014

…Well, that Tom Bradley hiring comes to mind. Whoops. Bad example.

I’m not saying that Pat Narduzzi will be the next head coach for Pitt football. I am, however, trying to determine the appropriate shortening of his last name as a nickname. Is it “the Nard,” “Nardy,” “Duzz (pronounced doo-zz)” or “Duzzi?”


December 22, 2014

No News Is… No News

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:05 am

Not a lot of concrete information.

Here are the basics:

— We know Michigan State DC Pat Narduzzi has been in for an interview. He has also interviewed with Colorado State (who has been without an AD since firing him back in August). Folks up in East Lansing think he only leaves for Pitt.

— Doc Holliday, Marshall’s head caoch, has probably/possibly been interviewed. Amusingly here’s a story where the columnist tries to rationalize why Holliday wouldn’t want the Pitt job.

— The players have been supportive of Paul Chryst going to Wisconsin. Amazing how being mostly up front with people and not feeding lies to their face can make a difference. The players have made their case to the powers that be in favor of the still OC Joe Rudolph becoming the next head coach.


December 20, 2014

What Constitutes “Go Big”

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 6:43 am

When I saw the story, I cringed. Not because I didn’t want Pitt to aim high. Not because I don’t think they couldn’t get a really good coach.

Simply because a story like that sets up disappointment and ridicule. Because when you look around the college football landscape, there aren’t that many realistic “go big” options for a head coach.

The landscape has changed. Fewer coaches are just chasing a big paycheck. The money gets absurd at the higher levels, but to some degree it flattens out. Coaches are looking as much at sustainability and the long-term.

The Dan Mullen thing has gone nowhere. Well, not quite nowhere. It seems to have just gone away. And after that?

That creates the question of what it means to “go big.” The story suggested a big name coach, and reasonably, most people seeing that phrase would think the same.

Yet outside of Dan Mullen, who is there that could fit the bill and is someone Pitt could legitimately hire away? I mean without going the route of the rumored “Godfather” offer from Michigan to Jim Harbaugh. Florida, which had once gone out and grabbed Urban Meyer, this time had to take Jim McElwain from Colorado State as the best option available in 2014.


December 19, 2014

Going Big Or Not

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 10:35 am

I guess new Chancellor Gallegher is looking to make a huge mark early in his Pitt tenure. The “mutual” decision for Steve Pederson to resign wasn’t enough, the coaching search is going to take on mythic proportions.

Multiple industry sources told FootballScoop today that Pitt’s chancellor plans to “go big” with this hire.

We were told that Pitt plans to invest heavily in the program both in terms of dedication to staffing and to facilities and operations. Two sources said “significant new commitment to the program” will be announced in connection with the upcoming announcement once a new head coach comes on board.

Sources tell us not to expect Pitt to hire a coordinator. “Their initial list is all current and former head coaches.”

The name that came up — in no small part thanks to Fox Sports college football writer Bruce Feldman — is Dan Mullen. The current Mississippi State head coach. That would constitute a “go big” hire.


Know Your Candidate: Doc Holliday

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Justin @ 10:34 am

One candidate that has stuck around as a potential head coach is Marshall’s Doc Holliday. While no name can be considered confirmed, the amount of smoke leads me to believe there’s a fire there. I do think the smoke is coming from Holliday’s camp and some of that desire is to stick it to WVU for not hiring him over Bill Stewart after Rich Rodriguez left.

Hates WVU? Check! (Not really, he’s a WVU grad, just roll with it) (more…)

Forget the AD for Now

Filed under: Athletic Department,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:40 am

I’m going to take another run at spelling something out. There is no way Pitt hires an Athletic Director before hiring a football coach. None. Nada. Zip. Hiring an AD is an executive level position that takes time. It isn’t a short list the Chancellor keeps in his drawer for when the time comes.

While the impulse is to think of it as a pro sports analogy as a GM, and you need to have the GM in place before hiring a coach, it doesn’t work in this situation.


December 18, 2014

The Day After

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Hire/Fire,Rumors — Justin @ 10:26 am

As the dust settles on one of the most eventful days Pitt Football has had in a long time, reflection feels unnecessary. The removal of Steve Pederson as Athletic Director was just as much about the future of Pitt as it was the past. While the questionable decisions of his tenure will never be fully vetted, the future suddenly looks a little brighter. Pitt Football looks ready to take a step up. The status quo was no longer acceptable to Chancellor Gallagher. The hope Dave Wannstedt brought when he promised a return to prominence doesn’t seem crazy anymore. While the who, how, when, and if are still up in the air, at least the questions feel like there could be an answer soon. (more…)

December 17, 2014

Wisconsin upstages Pitt’s basketball game with a press conference to announce Paul Chryst as their new head coach? Fine, bring that knife. Pitt brought a gun.

Steve Pederson’s second tenure running the athletic department ended abruptly Wednesday when Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced a “change” in leadership, according to a university news release.

The announcement was made at 7 p.m., precisely when Wisconsin was introducing Paul Chryst as its new football coach, officially ending his three-year run with the Panthers.

Pederson, 57, was let go with four years left on his contract. The buyout will cost Pitt more than $2 million. Pederson made $577,083 in 2013 before signing a five-year extension that June. In 2013, he was Pitt’s fourth-highest paid employee.

Pederson and Gallagher said the decision was “mutual.”

“With major decisions to be made about the future of football, I thought it was in the best interest of the University of Pittsburgh for Chancellor Gallagher to assemble his own team,” Pederson said in a statement.

And I have a bridge to sell you if you think this was mutual.


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