Tag:Pitt Coaching Search
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.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 12:59 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Mike Haywood was officially introduced as the head coach at Pitt yesterday, and won the press conference with his promise to make the Panthers a more disciplined, more unified team.
But as for winning the Panthers' BBVA Compass Bowl game against Kentucky, Haywood didn't have much to say about that, because he's not coaching the game. Dismissed coach Dave Wannstedt is, right?
Maybe not (emphasis added):
[Athletic director Steve] Pederson made it clear that although Haywood has been hired, the Panthers are Wannstedt's team until after the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 8. Wannstedt, forced to resign last week, has yet to decide whether he will coach the Panthers in that game.So, just to be clear, let's review the Panthers' bowl-coaching options:
1. Dave Wannstedt. May not coach in the bowl.
2. Mike Haywood. Will not coach in the bowl.
OK, so behind door No. 3 is almost certainly one of the current Wannstedt assistants -- defensive coordinator Phil Bennett even has head coaching experience from his days at SMU -- but even for a Jan. 8 bowl, practice must start within days. If Wannstedt himself doesn't take the helm, someone has to.
If Pederson wants this blogger's nickel's worth of free advice, Wannstedt's ambivalence about remaining in charge ought to indicate -- all by itself -- that he probably shouldn't be the guy in charge. It's a well-meaning gesture on Pederson's part to let him leave the job with some kind of dignity, but if a gesture he's not interested in accepting, it's time to move on. The Panthers' disappointing season and occasionally aimless-looking coaching search has already made Pitt look bad; an uninspired, unfocused, unprepared loss to a .500 Kentucky team will only make them look worse.
HT: TSK .
Posted on: December 15, 2010 8:36 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
According to multiple reports, this morning's suspicions that Mike Haywood would be Pittsburgh 's next coach have indeed been confirmed, and Haywood has been hired by Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson today.
Haywood's pedigree includes a MAC championship at Miami University in only his second year atop the program; in his first year, the team went 1-11, and the eight-win turnaround was unmatched by any program in the FBS this year. Haywood also spent 14 years at major football schools LSU, Texas, and Notre Dame as a running backs coach; during his four years at Notre Dame, Haywood was also Charlie Weis' offensive coordinator.
During his career as an assistant coach, Haywood coached such tailbacks as Kevin Faulk, LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis, Cedric Benson, and the talented but injury-plagued Armando Allen, and his experience at these "football factory" type of schools should allay any fears Pittsburgh fans may have about Haywood's recruiting abilities -- especially if all they're looking at is his last two years at Miami University.
Still, it doesn't seem apparent that Haywood has any meaningful connection to the Pittsburgh program or area, so one might not get the sense that this is a "destination" school for Haywood. Rather -- to borrow a term from the military -- this seems more like an "up or out" position for Haywood, where if he succeeds he's expected to move to a more prestigious program, and if he doesn't he's fired -- or, like his predecessor Dave Wannstedt, "gently encouraged" to resign at a 15-second press conference. Only time will tell.