Blog Entry

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 11:23 pm
 
Posted by Chip Patterson

Sometimes the coaching carousel spins slowly, and other times the college football world is blindsided by a surprise hire in the winter months. The news of Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham departing to accept the vacant job at Arizona State came from the carousel's rapid spin cycle.

Graham's decision to leave Pittsburgh happened so quickly he did not take the time to tell his team in person, instead he sent them a text as he left for Tempe for Wednesday's announcement. After the Sun Devils' negotiations with SMU head coach June Jones reportedly broke down in the final moments, the school was happy to seal the deal quickly with Graham.

 "Criteria for our head coach was established, and the word that was at the forefront of discussions was `energy'... energy towards promoting our program in the community and with former players," Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love said in a statement. "Energy towards instilling discipline, leadership and in recruiting. Energy towards representing our brand in every facet of the program. In Todd, we have not only hired a young and sitting head coach, but one with a history of success on the field and in hiring top-notch assistant coaches."

Graham's arrival at Arizona State is their answer to recent Pac-12 additions like Mike Leach at Washington State and Rich Rodriguez at in-state rival Arizona. But as Graham promised to move the ball down the field in his first day as head coach, he used the same motto he relied on when introducing himself to Pittsburgh fans.

 "Obviously, our offense is going to be high octane, it's going to be quick-strike, explosive," said Graham, 49-29 in six years as head coach. "Our whole deal is about explosive plays. I like to see the ball thrown down the field."

That "high-octane" phrase was one Graham pounded so hard into the mind of Pittsburgh fans, he had it plastered on the newly redesigned website for "high-octane Pitt football." Needless to say, the Panthers' fans and administration are not pleased that Graham did not stick around to deliver on his high-octane promises.  Players from the current Pittsburgh roster were furious, and took to Twitter to vent their frustrations through social media.  The administration showed their disappointment in a more traditional manner with a press release.

 "Obviously this is not the way we would have expected Mr. Graham to handle any possible departure," Pitt executive vice chancellor and general counsel Jerry Cochran said. "Beyond normal expectations with respect to professional conduct, he has failed to comply with the terms of his contract."

The only "high-octane" aspect of Graham's offense this season was watching quarterback Tino Sunseri run for his life as the Panthers allowed an FBS-high 57 sacks during the regular season. Pittsburgh ranked in the bottom half of the Big East in passing and scoring offense. The one offensive highlight from the Panthers' first season under Graham was the explosion of running back Ray Graham, who averaged over 130 yards per game before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

The 6-6 Panthers will be coached by defensive coordinator Keith Patterson against SMU in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7.  Click here to check out the latest on the Panthers and Mustangs at the BBVA Compass Bowl Pregame

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Comments

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:02 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

How is this a great hire for ASU? They got the guy that was like 9th on their own list of good candidates...yet now we are supposed to rationalize this as the plan all along? It was getting to the point where they were going to have to have Lisa Love come down and coach the team herself.



Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:55 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

The NCAA is a joke. They are about as useful as the UN is to world peace. They only care about $$$$$$$$$$. 



Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:55 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

The Big East needs to rethink the nabd-aid expansion.

http://voices.yahoo.com/is-big-east

-expanding-just-enough-until-104606

37.html?cat=14



Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:51 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

will the NCAA make him sit out a year? 



Since: Aug 30, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

What a dirt bag.  First, he goes to a program for a year spouting the same tripe he will say at his introduction to Arizona State.  Secondly, he didn't even have enough class to tell his players in person or even tell them himself electronically of the move.  Third, he leaves Pitt with essentially no one to coach the bowl game as 3 assistants have already left, and it is likely that those remaining will leave also.  Third, since he runs a unique offense, any recruits that had committed will likely rethink the committment because they were recruited into a system, leaving Pitt with a lost recruiting class.  Forth, this likely will get the Pitt Athletic Director fired especially with the Graham hiring following the hiring of a coach that got arrested and was fired before even moving in to his office at Pitt.

It is coaches like Graham that give college coaching a bad name, and I am a Penn State fan who really coudn't care less about Pitt.  It is just discusting.





Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Great idea to hire Tressel.  But it may be too soon after the OSU mess and NCAA sanctions haven't been given to OSU yet.  No school wants to have coach with a scandal hanging over them waiting for something to happen.  Maybe after the NCAA announces sanctions, it will be in the past for Tressel.  Until then he's persona non grata I'm afraid.



Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:46 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Did Pitt have a buyout clause or anything in his contract?  It is pathetic how these guys jump from job to job with no issues.  I mean, we got raked over the coals at WVU for trying to enforce RR's buyout clause, but I'm sure there are some Pitt fans who would like to see some sort of penalty for this d-bag coming in for a year, doing a below average job, then leave without any consequences.

Also, he may have been worried that Rodriguez was coming for all of his old assistants for the AZ job.  Jumps at a chance for a fresh start and a chance to restock his staff.  Pathetic either way...



Since: Apr 12, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

This might be a great hire for ASU but a completely classless move by Coach Graham.  These coaches are driven by money and could care less about the players.  He did it at Rice, then Tulsa, now Pitt.  Good luck ASU....you can have him. 



Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Danny White?  The Danny White of Arena football?  



Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Ha! Well, Holgorsen need to get on the phone and let Rushel Shell know that we need a running back.


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