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

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview

Since: Mar 13, 2009
Posted on: December 15, 2011 4:41 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

pittman74 - actually us "Arizona" fans are loving that this slime ball will be coaching at "Arizona State" aka ASU. Every year we always here what a great team ASU is going to have and almost every year they fall apart. The school really never gives it's fans anything to cheer about and you can see that in ticket sales in Football and Basketball. Great Job ASU - you just made Rich Rod's job at Arizona a lot easier. If I have Rich Rod and Graham looking and wanting to talk to my kid Graham's not getting in the door.

This is a tweet from one of his players Brandon Lindsey at Pitt: You know what coach graham his in common with the Bible??? He turned his back on us just like Judas did to Jesus.

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:39 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

I saw the headline crawler on ESPN last night as I was channel surfing and I had to keep watcing just so that I could get a repeat, making sure I read the news correctly.  I have a hard time believing that Arizona State fired Erickson, only to hire this guy.   Is Arizona State that much more promising than Pittsburgh these days?  And does Graham think he is Lane Kiffin - one season and move on?  I think that that previous post was correct - Pittsburgh should have kept Wannstedt.  At least he was happy being there at Pittsburgh and at least he prioduced teams that were competitive.  Who's going to be brought in to clean up Graham's mess?

Since: Jun 12, 2010
Posted on: December 15, 2011 2:37 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

I disliked this guy from the time he left his coaching job at Tulsa. Even when he was coaching at Tulsa I still didn't like him, he always felt like he had one foot out the door for a better job. The year before he ran to Pitt he said he wasn't taking any other job and it was not even a week later this sack of dog excrement was out the door. After seeing his record at Pitt and the promise of a "High Octane" offense it was clear to me that this guy cannot coach worth a damn and it was obvious his coordinators probably did all the heavy work and he just took credit for it. 

I feel he did Pitt a favor by leaving. His promises were empty and if ASU is his "dream job" then they better write up a contract that will keep him at ASU for years to come this one and done is crap, and no recruit in his right mind should trust him after this. 

Pitt got lucky by this guy leaving, ASU got screwed by having this guy show up. You might want to chain him around the stadium before the end of next season.

I feel for the Pitt players who had to find out the man who was supposed to be the guy they trusted to lead them on the field during practice and games bailed out on them like that with a text message. This man has no heart at all. Be weary ASU recruits. 

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:25 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

What exactly has Arizona State EVER accomplished in football?  Or any sport for that matter.  And calling Tennessee little known.  I think the desert sun has fried your brain you Moron.  And just wait and see how un explosive this offense ends up being.

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2011 12:03 am

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Pitt should be thrilled with this. He promised an explosive offense this year and they were pathetic. 6-6 in the Big East is nothing impressive...PAC 12 will eat this guy alive.

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:17 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

  Attention arizona fans, get ready, you wanted him now you got him. Graham will destroy the program, He maybe the biggest a-hole to walk this earth.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:04 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Cutty240.........You couldn't hit a BULL in the rearend with a BASE FIDDLE !  You are the WVU "Know IT ALL", who really knows nothing. What you need to do is take a high school class on "Ethics" along with your ALTER EGO Oliver Luck, on how to leave the BIG EAST Conference by the 27 month by-laws, like PITT and SYRACUSE are doing, MEATHEAD !!!

Since: Nov 29, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:02 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Should have kept Wannie at least he loved the place.

Since: Oct 26, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:47 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

First of all i'm a WVU Fan.Pitt has not been a very good college Football town,because of the Steelers.These Colleges that share the Same town with a NFL team have no shot anymore.Then this Penn State thing,hurts the whole State of Penn.Then they are moving to the Atlantic Choke Conference.ACC Good Luck Pitt.Your Not Who Think You Are.I would like to hear What Beno Cook has to say about all of this.THE GODFATHER OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL. One Last thing, Todd Texting His Players,IS CHICKEN SHIT.THIS WILL HAUNT HIM THE REST OF HIS CAREER.

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:57 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Pitt alum here.  Heard he is taking his high octane offens to asu.  All I saw was low scoring, confusion, and giving games away that we led in the fourth quarter instead of running out the clock. Failure of an offense 1st year at pitt. I will give him that the qb play was bad but the offense wasnt fun to watch and sort of gimmicky.  I am not dissapointed that he is leaving but dissapointed that he did not recruit well and the program will suffer a couple of years.  he is a good salesman.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or