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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Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:40 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

"Our door was beaten down by people who wanted to be a Sun Devil," ASU President Michael Crow said.

Really????  Yet the best you could do was Graham???  LOL  LOL  LOL  The best you could do was a coach who has won with someone else's players . . . who did no better this year than the coach you just fired . . . who's "high octane" offense this year was anything but . . . and who has shown repeatedly that he has no character, class, loyalty or integrity. 

"Our door was beaten down by people who wanted to be a Sun Devil," ASU President Michael Crow said.

Really President Crow . . . I want to know how many times you had to practice that line before you could actually say it with a straight face!  The ASU coaching search has been a joke . . . and now ASU's the laughing stock!

Great job there Love!!  Gotta love it!!

Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:19 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Todd Graham was Tulsa's defensive coordinator and was under the impression that Steve Kragthorpe would be leaving to accept a better job. When that didn't happen, he jumped at the first head coaching job offered to him: Rice. After his first season there, and after winning the New Orleans Bowl, Graham signed an extension with Rice just days before Kragthorpe left Tulsa for Louisville.

He immediately called TU's athletic director and offered his services, which were accepted. He resigned from Rice over the phone.

He came to Tulsa proclaiming that it was his dream job. He did stay several seasons before leaving for Pitt. But, it doesn't suprise me that he would just leave like this. He is a man who lacks integrity.

At ASU, he'll be in over his head. He's not a good enough coach to succeed at that level. I give him two years before he's fired.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:03 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

The Pac 12 South must be in panic mode.  First, UCLA hires Jim Mora Jr, a man with no college coaching experience at all, and now Arizona State takes Graham, a man who may be leaving town tomorrow, if his track record is any indication of things to come.  Did those two schools panic because Washington State hired Mike Leach and Arizona took Rich Rodriguez?  Obviuosly those two head coaches have a much bigger record of success than Mora and Graham do.  It appears that both Arizona State and UCLA acted as if their backs were against the wall, and that is simply not true.  These two teams were going nowheres in a hurry.  Both showed poor judgement on these hires.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2011 9:43 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

A friend of mine forwarded this article to me.  I didn't know that he did this to Rice.  Leaving a day after signing a long term contract?  This guy is a loser that will sell himself to the highest bidder.  Why in the worlds would Pitt hire him in the first place with this kind of a track record.  Peterson is an idiot.  He is the one that needs to go.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2011 9:15 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

I was at the Pitt-Rutgers game this year.  To refresh your memory, it was a game that Pitt looked like a high school team (not to put Rutgers down because they played very well).  Our team got penalized for two player WITH THE SAME NUMBER on the field at the same time.  Just before the half, Pitt got the ball inside our twenty with about two minutes left and one time out.  Immediately after the tv time out and BEFORE OUR FIRST PLAY, Pitt had to burn the last time out because they didn't send the play in on time.  This guy had no clue what he was doing whatsoever.  I don't like Sunseri, but for Graham to call him out (400 yard game and Graham said that he needs to get better immediately after the game) shows that the guy is certainly not a respected coach.

I was thrilled to hear that guy is gone and look forward to seeing if the Pitt administration can get this right this time.  I read on the Post-Gazette that Bradley at PSU could be a candidate.  If he gets hired, I will turn my back on my alma mater and find a new college football team to follow.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2011 9:07 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

JoMtneer.  You are sad.  You have to jump on here and attempt to put down Pitt by bringing up a guy that beat his wife.  Congrats for using her demise for your benefit on these boards.  

I think you should worry more about how your fans have continually embarrassed your university over the years with the way they treat visiting teams and trash your own town when they are upset.  It figures a WVU fan would try to use a beaten wife to their advantage.  Pathetic.

Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2011 8:45 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

I think this will be good for Pitt in the long run.  Pitt will hopefully hire another coach who runs a pro-set offense and really we only lost one year of recruiting kids that fit that offense while also having a lot of kids who still fit that mold.  So it's better he left after one year than say staying 3 years and then bolting. 

Hopefully Shell and some of the other recruits keep their commitments and Pitt can move on and get a real coach who will be commited.

Since: Oct 8, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2011 8:07 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Graham speaks with a forked tongue, but that's nothing new for him. He had the temerity to call the Pitt assistants who left the program 2 weeks ago to rejoin Rich Rod at U of A (who had been Rich Rod assistants previously at U of M or WVU) "mercenaries."

As an alum, I am sad for what's happening to my alma mater's prgram.  I am angry that Graham sold the University and its players a bill of goods and sent them down the Primrose Path. 

Graham lacks honor and integrity, 2 essential characteristics in a HC that parents look for when sending their boys off to school.

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: December 15, 2011 7:55 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

First of all no Pitt fan should be disappointed that he left the program, I think we should be relieved!  The way he handled it with the players though is another story.  This years team was really pathetic and looking at the NFL you can see atleast Wanny was able to bring talent in here, he just wasn't able to get results.  Todd Graham came into Pitt with a big mouth and left as quiet as a mouse.  It's time for Pitt to do 2 things:  GET AN ON CAMPUS STADIUM!  Make a splash hire

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: December 15, 2011 5:58 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Graham was a dissappointment. If he has such a great football mind then why couldn't he tailor any part of the offense to use the abilities of an experienced QB. Granted Sunseri isnt great, but Graham did him no favors and they lost at least 3 games because of that alone. Do you think Brady Hoke wants to run that offense at Michigan? He is a pro style guy with spread players. He figured it out and is in a BCS game. 

Good luck ASU. Hope for your sake you can find a Tim Tebow, Can Newton or Shoelace or it will be a rough go.  

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