PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Todd Graham announced his resignation as head coach of the Pitt Panthers football program Wednesday morning.
Graham elected to leave the program with four years left on his contract to take the head coaching job at Arizona State University.
Graham sent an e-mail to administrators announcing his resignation while he was on a private plane heading for Tempe, Ariz.
“I have resigned my position at Pitt in the best interest of my family to pursue the head coaching position at Arizona State. Coaching there has always been a dream of ours and we have family there. The timing of the circumstances have prohibited me from telling you this directly. I now am on my way to Tempe to continue those discussions. God Bless. Coach Graham.”
Graham did not address his players about his decision. The team found out when the e-mail was forwarded to them.
Athletic Director Steve Pederson met with the team Wednesday afternoon about Graham’s resignation.
“At 3 o’clock today I met with about 110 of as fine young men as you’ll find anywhere in college football. It’s pretty hard to explain to them something that is almost unexplainable,” Pederson said. “There are a lot of questions that I’m sure a lot of us would like answered that I don’t have the answers to because I’ve not been able to talk to him and find out.”
As for players, Pederson said that it is up to the school to regain any trust that may have been lost after Graham’s sudden departure.
“We’re [going to] have to earn their trust. We’re [going to] have to work hard to build any trust that’s been lost. But, what I would say is that it’s still the same young men out there and they’re terrific young people. That’s why we go to games, to support them and be in their corner as games happen and so forth. And I always think in any of these situations what you want is to give the kids your very best effort,” Pederson said.
Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow released a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding Graham’s appointment as new head football coach.
“What we sought in a football coach was someone who would be in it for the long term at Arizona State. In Todd Graham, we have that person.”
In the interim, Keith Patterson will take over the head coaching duties for the Panthers as they get ready to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7.