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: Mar 5, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:35 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Graham was the wrong hire last year anyway. The biggest loss in this situation is that it will mess up the recruits for this year and it sucks for the players who busted their ass this year to play for him.  They need to hire the guy they should have hired last year, Bradley from Penn State.  They are going to clean house there to separate from Joe Paterno so if they bring Bradley in to run a pro style system he can bring in the coaches he wants and maybe steal some of the PSU recruits and help keep the PA recruits the team already had.  Graham is just a merc coach that thinks he is better then he really is and just threw his players under the bus the entire year rather then blaming his system.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:29 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

this kid is in High School and is going to have twins??  And people talk about West Virginia.  Come on now ever hear of a condom?

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:27 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

One other thing Pitt start saying bye bye to a lot of your recurits.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:25 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

What a loser program you have there Pitt. Hahaha you can't even keep a coach when you are going to the ACC to be more competitive in better conference and all the other BS that all Pitt fans have been saying.  You didn't give the guy a chance who ran a totally different system then what Wanny ran and you wanted him out, well guess what you got your wish.  Now be happy when all you can get is a division II coach because anyone who is worth salt doesn't want to come to this looser program.  

Since: Apr 17, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:23 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Rushel Shell is actually about to father twins in the upcoming months...he apparently wants to be close to his mom in Pittsburgh...who I presume will be taking care of those kids. If he thinks WVU is close enough is anyones guess...but, Rushel deserves better than Pitt.

Since: Apr 17, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:21 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

To the ASU is what your getting....someone who loves to run his mouth about his "perfect" offensive system. He will throw the QB under the bus AS SOON as he has a bad game. I hope you like the phrase "high octane," because if you don' will shortly. If you have a 20 point lead in the 4th....don't leave your seat, that only means the other teams offense is just firing up...and will score at least 20...while instead of running the ball to milk the clock, you'll fire 3 passes and take a minute off the clock. And finally, after an average season, he will jump ship to a better job...and tell your players by txting an assistant at the university, who will e-mail the team.


Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:18 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Holgorsen need to get on the phone and let Rushel Shell know that we need a running back.
I like your line of thinking, he would be a very welcome addition to the West Virginia offense!  I doubt that many Pitt fans are upset about Graham's departure although the way he went about it was uncalled for.

Pitt will hopefully find someone better... but four coaches in one year!

Since: Apr 21, 2010
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:11 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Enjoy Mr. Graham-he did nothing for Pitt and we are glad to see him go bye bye! Enjoy ASU!

Since: Oct 17, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:10 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

you'd think a coach with no loyalty would fit in perfectly at a back-stabbing conference-jumping university like pitt

Since: Nov 5, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:07 pm

Todd Graham leaving Pittsburgh for Arizona State

Nothing like having to settle for a guy way down on the third page of your list... This was an awful search process by the ASU AD!

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