PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pitt’s head football coach rocked the campus Wednesday by announcing he was leaving the program to take the head coaching job at Arizona State.
KDKA-TV’s Jory Rand spoke with senior defensive tackle Chas Alecxih after the players met with Athletic Director Steve Pederson Wednesday afternoon.
Rand: What was spoken in the meeting?
Alecxih: Well, in the meeting we came in, Mr. Pederson I though was very classy. We locked the doors. It was just the team, no coaches, no nothing. He said, “You guys can ask me anything you want,” and we did. We asked him some questions that I’m not going to repeat. I feel like we got a lot out in the open.
Rand: At this point are you just in shock? We talked to a couple players who just can’t believe this has happened.
Alecxih: I’m absolutely shocked. If you would have told me this morning that Todd Graham wasn’t going to be our head football coach, I would have said you were crazy or on drugs, but you [have to] move forward from here.
Rand: One season on the job, he came in with such high hopes. Is there a sense of betrayal now that he’s leaving to Arizona state?
Alecxih: Yeah, I think if there wasn’t a sense of betrayal then there’s something wrong, if there’s not a sense of betrayal in this situation. You got a guy comes in, very well-liked by the players at least, spoke a lot about being here for us and the future of the program and how he had a five-year plan. And you know, you wake up in the morning and you get an e-mail and he’s at Arizona State. So, very disappointing to say the least.
- See how students on Pitt’s campus are reacting to the news of Graham leaving:
Rand: The team found out by text message? Is that how you got it?
Alecxih: E-mail, yeah, and then it was forwarded to us by one of our personnel guys.
Rand: So the team still has to move forward though. You guys still have a bowl game to prepare for. Keith Patterson looks like he will be interim head coach moving forward. How do you keep going?
Alecxih: Coach Patterson just sat up there and said you know, “Things in life happen.” Believe me, we know that as good as anyone. This is going to be our fourth head coach in not even a year. With Dave Wannstedt being fired and Mike Hayward, the whole debacle with that, and coach Graham and now coach Patterson. So, I mean, you always [have to] be ready to move on. So, I think we’re going to be strong going forward.