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: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:49 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Believe me when I say..No One is crying  haha!!  But you would expect more than a text message to his players saying that he is leaving...from such a HIGH character guy!!  haha!!  yeah right.....once hoopie always a hoopie!!

Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:46 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Let me guess..the press conference sounded something like this.....High octane offense, left lane hammer down, character, integrity, family vaues, speed, speed, speed!!  Champioship program, champiosnhip values and lives  haha!!   he will probably have a meet and greet with fans a month or 2 from now explaining his coaching philosophies.    Dick Rod and Fraud Graham duking it out in the AZ....  haha!

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:38 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

That's life in college sports & little Pitt & their little fans should know that already. Lane Kiffin did the same thing when he left little unknown Tennessee for much better place like USC & Todd Graham did the same thing when he felt little unknown Pitt for a much better place like Arizona State. That's life little Panthers fans so live with it cry baby's. Great pickup ASU. The Pac-12 is by far the Greatest Show in college football now with so many explosive offenses. Welcome to the Sun Devils nation Graham.

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:20 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Coaching is a pain in the rear end. Most coaches would leave if they felt as if they would be improving their lot for their families or a perceived better coaching position, even if the position is another head coaching job.

I know this coach or his reason for leaving the Pitt job, but he has his own reasons as you would or do if you changed jobs.

Welcome to the PAC-12. Enjoy your stay in Tempe, Az. We will be seeing you next season, bring your “A” game and have fun.







Since: Apr 1, 2010
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:15 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

" Wanny is tanned, rested and ready too. "

I didnt know you could get a tan in buffalo.

Since: Feb 4, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:54 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Spoken like a true Penn State fan...........

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:46 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Arizona State fired Dennis Erickson with no top-notch coach lined up to replace him?  Then they spent three weeks bouncing from Kevin Sumlin to June Jones to Kyle Whittingham ... to Todd Graham!  Are you kidding me!  Erickson is better than Graham.  ASU boosters should be demanding the resignations of Lisa Love and Steve Patterson.  Arizona gets Rich Rodriguez, Washington State lands Mike Leach and UCLA hires Jim Mora Jr. ... and Arizona State has to settle for Todd Graham.  WTF!

Since: Dec 22, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:35 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Todd Graham showed NO class whatsoever.  ASU's loss is Todd Graham.  The Univ of Pittsburgh is no at no loss with Graham moving on; good riddance to Todd Graham.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:27 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

That is a big hit to the program, James Harrison was suspended a game for less...

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:25 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Hugh Freeze is available, it would be a lateral move for him but probably the best that sPitt could hope for to continue the downward spiral of the once great program.

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