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

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Certainly not a sPitt fan but that is a no class move on Graham's part. I feel bad for the students, 350 season tickets holders and the other 1,758 that make it to at least one home game a year. ESP.

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:47 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Perhaps Pitt will bring Ike Turner back. Wanny is tanned, rested and ready too.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:40 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Hey . . . he met Love's requirements . . . he's breathing . . . and he didn't tell her to go pound sand!

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:27 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

College sports are in disarray.
Why is it when a college player goes to transfer he has to sit out a year before playing again unless he has already graduated, but these coaches can come and go as they please???

Suggestion: If a coach wants to leave a program, unless his contract is up, then they should be required to sit out a season just t\like the NCAA athletes do. If I were a parent of a college bound player there is no way I would let my kid play for Todd Graham or Rich Rod or Kelly either. This situation is out of control. This is not in the best interest of anyone, but the pockets of these money grubbing coaches. Enough is enough.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:18 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Hey sPitt I hear that wife beater guy is still available...what was his name, Haywood or something....I'm sure it's in the police blotter somewhere....look him up! LOL.

Merry Christmas sPitt.  

Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:14 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

He will definitely not be missed.

Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:11 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

What recruits in this country are going to sit down with this man and believe anything he says?  Good luck ASU, this man will leave as soon as he gets what he wants, which is a shot to coach in the Big 12.  He's on to his 4th school in 5 years, not sure what ASU saw in him because most in Pgh wanted him gone before November.

Since: Aug 28, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:11 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

I feel for the student athletes who were treated poorly by this horses a-- and gone luck Az. St.

I hope his wife sends him a text message that she is divorcing him and taking everything.


Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:09 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

There is some real irony in the carpetbagger Graham's going to ASU.  He will not be missed one iota because the guy is a charlatan at best, and a cancer at worst.  Prior to taking the Pitt job, many in the know described him in worse terms than I have submitted. He attempted to take a team of players who were pro style oriented and turn them into instant sandlot type did not work to say the least.

Still the cretin kept to his questionable system and when it continued to flop, he resorted to ranting, railing, and ridiculing the kids.  To say the least, this is not the mark of a good coach. Any half way educated person would adapt the system to the talents of the current crop of recruits and, over a period of time, blend in any new wrinkles or system deemed necessary to bring Pitt its tenth national championship.

The guy must have no morals or least no loyalty to anyone but himself...well ASU, he is all yours and my money says he will continue his trend of egomania until such time as you fire him. 

Meanwhile, a further irony is Rich Rod going to Arizona...between him and Graham, Arizona football is doomed to the lower regions of a so so conference. Rich will get you into more trouble than Tarkanian did at UNLV...Graham will bring divisiveness and chaos.  ASU better have a big buyout clause in his contract because he will eventually break the terms worse than Obama breaks the constitution.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 6:06 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

How does this guy improve ASU's program?  Nothing new with this coach.  No fresh blood.  No additional recruiting motivation.  I don't get it.

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