PITTSBURGH — Some more news has surfaced regarding Pitt’s coaching search.
From what I’m reading and hearing, the pool of candidates is thinning down to a two-dog race, if you will. The top two serious candidates appear to be Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and Tulsa head coach Todd Graham.
Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin still appears to be in the mix as well.
***UPDATE, 1/7/11 at 8:20 p.m. — Paul Zeise at the Post-Gazette reports that Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has interviewed for the Pitt head coaching vacancy as well. Teryl Austin and Stanford assistant head coach Greg Roman are scheduled to interview tomorrow for the job.***
The Post-Gazette’s Paul Zeise reports in his blog that Bradley is still “a leading candidate.” However, it’s not a sure thing as WTAE made it out to be on Wednesday night.
He goes on to say that Graham is expected to interview with Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg at some point today. That’s huge because Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson made it clear that this new search will involve at least two different interviews — a preliminary interview with Pederson and an assembled staff to determine serious candidates, and then a final interview with Nordenberg.
That means Graham has now become a very serious option for the job. Bob Smizik confirms that report in his blog and says he believes that makes Graham the leading candidate.
As for Bradley, he was rumored to be interviewing at UConn for the Huskies’ head-coaching vacancy. It was then rumored he pushed his interview back to Sunday.
***UPDATE, 1/7/11 at 5:45 p.m. — Bob Smizik updated his blog, saying that Bradley will interview on Sunday at UConn. His update reads, “That contradicts an earlier report, I know, and my apologies for that incorrect information.” Smizik wrote around 3 p.m. that is appeared Bradley wouldn’t interview at UConn.***
Bradley is clearly interested in the Pitt job and, in my opinion, he would rather stay a coordinator at Penn State than go to UConn. Bradley wanted the Pitt job in 1996. He wanted it again in 2004. Both times he didn’t get it. All signs point to that he’s still very interested, which means a lot.
Many people would get fed up with being turned down for the same job multiple times. Not Bradley, which speaks to his desire for this job.
However, it is significant that he is meeting with UConn. Zeise reported Friday evening that Bradley has yet to have a second meeting with Pitt officials.
So what does this all mean? It means there is still very much to be determined. The active candidates appear to be Bradley, Graham, Austin, Foster and Roman.
Now, I’m guessing here, but if I had to pick when a coach will be hired I’d say Sunday. I think Pitt will make its decision Sunday evening and a new head coach will be introduced Monday.
Who the coach will be is an entirely different story, but I’d still say it’s between Bradley and Graham.
If you need introduced to either coach you can read my post from this morning. It gives a brief bio on Bradley, Graham and Austin and why each one is a good candidate for Pitt.
Either way, that should make Pitt fans very happy.
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog