Blog Entry

Report: Fickell, Chryst among Pitt candidates

Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 12:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's a lot to blame Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson for where the discombobulated state of his football program is concerned. But at least it sounds like he's got a plan in the wake of Todd Graham's stunning departure.

And according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the first name mentioned as part of that plan is Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads. The Post-Gazette reported Friday that Rhoads "appears to be the most coveted of the group [of potential candidates] as ... Pederson and chancellor Mark Nordenberg like and respect him and think he is an excellent football coach."

A former Panther defensive coordinator under Dave Wannstedt who spent eight seasons on the Pitt staff, Rhoads declined to speak to Pederson following Wannstedt's firing in 2010 out of loyalty to the Cyclones. But "according to two people close to Rhoads" who spoke to the Post-Gaztte, this time around Rhoads would be willing to sit down with Pitt and "likely will talk with the administration" regarding the opening.

UPDATE, 12:45 ET: Actually, you can probably forget the Rhoads talk; ISU announced Friday that Rhoads had signed a 10-year contract extension with the school.

With Rhoads presumably off the table, the focus will turn towards who the Post-Gazette reports is also on the Panthers' potential list of candidates: Ohio State assistant/2010 head coach Luke Fickell, Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren and former Illinois and Florida head coach Ron Zook. Pederson reportedly feels strongly enough in that pool of candidates that the school is forgoing the use of a search committee.

Fickell has reportedly already interviewed, with Chryst due to interview this Saturday. Given the upheaval around him in Columbus, Fickell may be the leading candidate until further notice.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:44 pm

Report: Fickell, Chryst among Pitt candidates

I think another problem area at PITT may be the AD Steve Pederson himself.  Mr. Pederson doesn't really possess that good of a record when it comes to hiring and firing of coaches.  His stop as Nebraska's AD turned out to be a flop when he fired Frank Solich and hired Callahan as coach, which many feel set the Husker's program back at least 5 yrs. This is the second time Mr. Pederson has been PITT's AD, and from what I hear, many of the PITT supporters and fans have lost confidence in him. 

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:20 pm

Report: Fickell, Chryst among Pitt candidates

CONGRATS CPR on your 10 year extension!!  Looking forward to having you as the Cyclone head coach for a long time!!

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:18 pm

Report: Fickell, Chryst among Pitt candidates

wow, you should really think a little harder before saying stuff like,
"put a provision into the contract (recommend 6 years) that if he tries to take another football job at any level during the term of his contract he forfeits the right to work for anyone for a period of 5 years."
I'm pretty sure you couldn't keep him from working elsewhere. You could stipulate he has a buyout and repays money, but not that he has to sit out of coaching.

I think Pitts a pretty high profile job and you should definitely be looking for someone better than Zook and Fickel. Some of the Coordinators on the list are hot commodities, but it would be silly for them to jump to such a job, that seems to work for very few  BCS conference teams. But at this point, I'm not really sure who else Pitt can look at. There are some successful HCs at smaller schools but no hot names that I know of like Hoke was last year. Also since they are behind other schools there really aren't too many HCs left out there that aren't losers.

Back to Tressel, I think the harder part would be getting him to take the job then actually keeping him there. I'd guess he sits out a while, learns some stuff from the NFL before trying for another HC job. I think once he wants to come back he will find a school where he can settle down and stay awhile, thus if Pitt could really sway him back this year, I think he'd stay there a while.

Since: Jan 1, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:28 pm

Report: Iowa State's Paul Rhoads top Pitt choice

I think Pitt should do something bold before it hires its
next football coach. I’ve read about some of the potential replacements and it
appears to be a mediocre group at best, including assistant coaches and head
coaches with average records.

I recommend that they contact Jim Tressel and sell him on
taking the job. He has been a winner everywhere he has coached. He has had
success recruiting the areas from which Pitt recruits. And, there isn’t a
better game day side line coach in the business.

Going into the ACC should be an inducement for him. If he
agrees to take the job, put a provision into the contract (recommend 6 years)
that if he tries to take another football job at any level during the term of
his contract he forfeits the right to work for anyone for a period of 5 years.

Pitt needs to hire a proven winner. The best predictor of success
is a record of past success. Jim has everything we need and he is available. Go
get him.

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