4-1-Zoo: Pitt Coaching Search, Weekend Update

PITTSBURGH — News continues to surface regarding Pitt’s search for a new head football coach and it appears, as I posted at the end of the week, that this search has come down to two candidates.

1) Tulsa head coach Todd Graham
2) Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley

And that order seems to be where Pitt’s priorities are, with Graham being the leading candidate to nail down the job.

The Post-Gazette’s Paul Zeise wrote this morning in his blog that Pitt and Graham are close enough that they have started talking about the “framework of a contract to make Graham the next head coach of Pitt.”

He goes on to say that Bradley is still very much in the mix as well.

Bradley interviews at some time today with UConn officials at an undisclosed location for the Huskies’ head coaching vacancy. Also, Pitt has interviews scheduled today with Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Stanford offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

***UPDATE, 7 p.m.Graham has scheduled a team meeting with his players for 8 p.m. tonight. We will likely know a lot more after that point concerning his status.***

Stop back periodically as I’ll be updating this post with any news I come across. For more immediate updates, follow me on Twitter.

I’d like to quiet one rumor: Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson has not resigned.

Pretty much out of nowhere yesterday at the Pitt-Marquette game at the Petersen Events Center, people starting talking about Pederson and if he did or did not step down.

It didn’t happen. He was at the bowl game in Birmingham. ESPN chose to run a report on its “bottom line” that said alumni and donors organized a petition for Pederson to be fired.

You can read about some of the criticism targeted toward him here.

That didn’t mean he was. And it doesn’t mean he’s resigning any time soon.

I’m sticking by my prediction at the end of the week: Pitt will make a choice for its head coach tonight. It will be either Graham or Bradley.

So much can still change. Michigan has reported it will talk to LSU coach Les Miles for the Wolverines’ head coaching position. It Miles were to take that job, Graham could be more of a long shot for Pitt because many believe LSU would have a strong interest in him.

Stanford now has a job opening, so Roman is a strong candidate there. Bradley could accept the UConn job tonight and he’d be out of the mix.

In short, a lot of other schools may now have an influence on the Pitt job. Thus, Pitt might want to speed up its decision. Nothing has happened at Michigan, UConn or Stanford yet, so Pitt might be wise to make a move right now to avoid losing popular candidates.

That’s a big reason why I think Pitt will make a choice at some point today. Graham seems to now be “the guy” and I’m sure the university doesn’t want to see him plucked away by a higher-prestige job that offers more money.

So stick by the blog.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog




    • Brad

      WrOng reply .. What I meant was Why Bradley ? What has he done? I want facts.. No opinions..

    • Brad

      If Bradley couldn’t get the recruits the first time what the heck makes u think he can save them after the fiasco at Pitt ??? Bradley isn’t god.. He is a mediocre assistant at best

  • Monroe Milers

    can not go wrong – with Rich Rod – knows the Big East – currently looking for a job — Pitt fans – need to grap this guy before he ends up coaching some high school team —

  • Jason Rice

    If it is down to Graham or Bradley, I would rather have Bradley, he knows the area, probably recruited the same players Pitt was going for, so may be able to keep some of them, plus I think Graham would be using Pitt as a stepping stone if he has say 3 good years like Kelly did at Cinncy. Let’s bring a coach that would be committed to bring a strong program that would stay for the long run, as long as the powers to be don’t kick him out.

    • Brad

      If Bradley couldn’t get the recruits the first time what the heck makes u think he can save them after the fiasco at Pitt ??? Bradley isn’t god.. He is a mediocre assistant at best

  • Bill

    As a long time Pitt football season ticket holder I almost hope that UCON gets Bradley and Graham holds out for the LSU job. Then maybe the Pitt administration will finally realize how totally incompetent Pederson is and send him packing. This search has gone on far too long and the chance of losing a chance to get “their top pick” should convince them to get rid of him.

  • Jason Kuhar

    Pitt needs to stop dragging their feet and hire Bradley before they lose him and he gets hired somewhere else. He comes from a winning program and is a proven winner. He is the best candidate out there. Bradley will be a GREAT fit for Pitt!

    • Brad

      Explain why he is the best candidate after I shoot down ur facts.. Over the last ten years your prOven winner has won 4 more games than Pitt … 4 .. Your proven winner has also been to one less bowl than Pitt in the last 10 years..so if he gets better recruits and less or the same results .. Is he no better than what we had???

      • Pitt Fan

        As a long time Pitt fan, I can honestly say that if Pitt had Penn State’s schedule the past 10 years, we would have had far fewer wins. Pitt record is skewed because of the weak Big East.

      • Brad

        Hey pitt fan

        As opposed to the grueling schedule Penn state plays? Akron? Youngstown state, northwestern, indiana, Illinois, purdue, ?? They play those guys every year.. And Michigan state has only been good the last 3 years what’s their record against the good teams in that conference? They beat Ohio state once, Wisconsin twice and Michigan 4 times over the last 10 years. Hardly “impressive” this, as all you Bradley defenders say, with one of the beat recruiters in the nation.. Pathetic

      • Pitt Fan

        And Pitt has beaten none of them. Trust me, I’m not a Penn State fan by any stretch, but Purdue and Illinois are way better than UConn, who somehow won the Big East. The real question is what do you have against Bradley? Are you that anti-Penn State that you wouldn’t want a former Penn State guy to come here and succeed. If Graham gets hired he is gone in 3-4 years. Either he gets fired for losing, or goes to a bigger name school/conference if he wins.

      • Brad

        Has nothing to do with Penn st I hate wvu more and would love for rich rod to be Pitt’s next coach . Who says Graham is gone? They said that about Dixon too.. Also in 3-4 if he can get the program up to par.. We can get legit candidates .. Not life long assistants and head coaches from smaller schools.. And why do they coaches HAVE to leave, peterson at Boise hasn’t , tcu’s hasn’t .. Those aren’t “big ” schools

  • guest

    Brad, shut up already. Unless your one of big donors that is threatening to stop making your annual donation, then there’s no need for you to harp on each comment.

    • Brad

      I only respond to comments that make sense.. That’s the biggest problem with Pittsburgh sports fans.. Close minded uneducated opinions

      • A Pittsburgh Sports Fan

        By the way, on the whole “close minded uneducated” comment, you do realize that by generalizing Pittsburgh sports fans you in fact are demonstrating your own close-mindedness. As for uneducated, I can at least make an argument that isn’t the equivalent of trying to talk louder than my opponent but actually based on supporting evidence. I can also present it free of spelling and/or grammatical errors and chat acronyms.

  • pete

    If Bradley were the right guy they would have named him coach by now…Pederson and Pitt want an offensive coach…….married with kids and less than 50 years old.

    • Pitt Fan

      Only reason Bradley has not been hired is because Peterson doesn’t want him, even though everyone else involved does. If Peterson was not involved this time around, Bradley would be your coach as we speak. Bradley was the 2nd on my wish list, and he would be a great fit.

      • Pitt Fan

        And since Brad seems to want reasons or facts why, I’ll provide.
        1) Bradley has a strong hold on area recruiting. He is well connected and respected PA and neighboring states.
        2) This isn’t a stepping stone job for him. Many recruits were lost siting lack of stability. Bradley brings instant stability.
        3) Bradley can still bring in an offensive mind as OC. Last time I checked, Mike Leach didn’t have a job. Maybe he would use the Pitt OC position as a stepping stone to get another crack at being a head coach.

      • Brad

        That’s all you got?

        1. PA recruiting isn’t what it used to be, 13 wpial guys currently in the NFL .. That’s it so who cares if he can recruit here
        2. Who cares if it’s a stepping stone if he can’t get the damn job done. He failed at Penn st.
        3. Mike leech are you serious? You can no long speak. You really think he will come here as OC that’s your big plan .. I feel sorry for you. So you want our OC to be a stepping stone but our head coach not to be? And you talked about stability? Wow so you are giving

      • Brad

        2 opinions when I ask for facts #2 and 3 and those two opinions contradict each other and your first point is based on a 30 year old opinion that west Pa is an amazing recruiting hot spot.. NEXT

      • Pitt Fan

        I said PA and neighboring States. Maybe you were not a good enough athlete to travel anywhere outside of the WPIAL, but you need to realize that PA is much more than the WPIAL. Bradley also has ties in OH, NY, WV, and NJ. There is a lot of other leagues he pulls players from. When I said PA and neighboring states I figured you were smart enough to pass 2nd grade geography. I guess I was wrong.

      • Brad

        NY is a horrible place to recruit wv is no better than PA.. NJ has no more than PA and OH isnt bad but those kids go to Ohio st Evidence is Penn state has 3 guys on the entire roster from Ohio .. 3 … And 9 from new jersey .. So all he is doing is recruiting from states around him.. Guys like rich rod and Graham can get guys from Texas, florida the carolinas Georgia .. No just PA and Delaware .. Those amazing football hotspots.. Get ur facts straight .. You want to insult my intelligence, however your facts are wrong .. Hmmm

  • jeff

    Pete, I agree with you. If they thought Bradley was the guy they would’ve offered by now knowing that he has other interviews

  • Matt

    Bradley should be the new head coach and pederson should be the ex-athletic director

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  • Jason Rice

    Not exactly sure who they should hire, I think both could bring some good things, I think another person that should get a look is Austin from Florida. Also, I wonder if Grimm was ever a candidàte. Graham just gives me a feeling that he is looking to use this as a stepping stone to a bigger school like LSU or something and not looking long term. Although what coach is there for the long term anymore.

  • John Esposito

    Typical Pitt move. They have a chance to make a splash with Bradley but non athletic personnel (Pederson and Nordenberg) want to make a ripple. So much for recruiting. So much for being excited as a season ticket holder (Ticket sales have already declined). So congratulations Pitt, you are officially the Pittsburgh Pirates of NCAA football.

  • John Esposito

    Hey Steve and Mark…never mind what 99.9% of the fans (who pay the salaries, fill the seats, and sponsor the university) want, just go with your own decision. If you hire Graham you have absolutely made the wrong decision. Keep this post because 6 years from now we’ll be in the same position. Praying for mediocrity but falling short of respectability.

  • John Esposito

    Does anyone remember how “fishy” it was when Pitt signed Dave Wanny as head coach? First he declined and then he accepted? This smells an awful like that. Maybe Pitt will make a good decision before I die, but I won’t hold my breath. Fail to PItt!!!!

  • john esposito

    Hey Steve You better not raise my season ticket prices to pay for your mess.

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