Friday, December 16, 2011

Interviews taking place

According to Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal is being interviewed today, Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was interviewed yesterday, and Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst will be interviewed tomorrow.  I've made no secret that I feel that Cristobal is by far the best option and if the Panthers hired him the buzz around the national would be phenomenal.  Fickell is somebody who I think could be excellent some day and I can see why Pitt would like him.  I think most college football observers think he's probably a few years away, though, so it may be a bit risky.  And for those who think Cristobal would leave to go back south should he be successful, just who do you think Ohio State would want to replace Meyer should Fickell do great at Pitt?  I don't think either should be held against them.  As for Chryst, he is an excellent offensive coordinator, but like I said before, he is not charismatic enough to be a head coach.  With Foge Fazio and Paul Hackett, Pitt has already had their share of great coordinators who aren't cut out out be head coaches.

50 comments:

  1. Since Pitt has interviewed a few of these fellows last year do you think they will move quickly?

    Timing is key on hiring the next coach due to recruiting and righting the ship, it appears the administration is keenly aware but realistically how quickly can they move on a new hire?

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  2. I think it's going to happen very quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if they named somebody in the next few days. They already interviewed Cristobal and Chryst last year so it's not like they need to do their due diligence on them again.

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  3. Lets assume Christobal is their #1. If they like him and he likes us and everybody is smiling at each other at the end of the interview, then I'm thinking Monday or Tuesday.

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  4. Here are a couple of good interviews from folks who know about Fickell and Chryst:

    http://tinyurl.com/7ss5x8s

    http://tinyurl.com/865ptm9

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  5. Chris,

    What can you tell us as far as the interview with Cristobal last year?

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  6. I don't mean this in a jerky way but I wasn't there when it happened so I couldn't tell you exactly. Only those in the room know for sure. But the fact that he was asked back a second year means he must have impressed them.

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  7. Can you explain why on earth Pitt is bothering to even talk to Chryst with his questionable recruiting skills?

    Pitt CANNOT afford to whif on this hire, and hiring a non-recruiting HC is like being a non-parachuted skydiver.

    Furthermore, if it turns out Chryst can recruit with a gun to his head (i.e., no choice), what good would his (presumed) contacts in Wisconsin do for a team -- Pitt -- heading to a southern-based conference (ACC).

    They'd be better off spending that time to talk to any one of the eager coordinators.

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  8. Well on paper he looks great, but watch some of his interviews. I'm sure theyre on YouTube. He's not going to inspire anybody. But I guess Pederson hasn't seen that yet.

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  9. Jim Wexell says that are negotiating with Cristobal. I hope he is right. After what you said about Chryst I dont want him. We will be in the ACC soon, that should help with cristobal sticking around. Like you said, fickell would leave too. Urban wont be around forever.

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  10. Why isn't Teryl Austin getting a second look this year? I think they are making a mistake not at least talking to him...

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  11. hopefully its cristobal. he is the splash hire that pitt needs desperately and is most likely the best football decision they could make. he comes here then i don't think you are going to lose alot of recruits either.

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  12. In all honesty, he could work out but he's too much of a risk. There's just no way to know if he could be a head coach. Plus, hiring him would bring an "oh good for Pitt" reaction nationally where as a Cristobal hire would bring a "holy hell what a great hire by Pitt" reaction.

    And you're right BW. If it's soon I don't think cristobal will lose of them. The players will love him.

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  13. 40-Man

    Interviewing multiple candidates even if you have your eye on a particular coach not only allows you to collect information and improve your negotiating position, but it slows the process and allows your staff to research the main candidate.

    It also calms the process in a way that can allow you to make a rational, sensible decision. It doesn't mean the process will last week after week -- if you move decisively with a game plan.

    Pitt should not let this drag out for weeks, but they should not go into 4-alarm panic mode. The school has to hire the right person, not the immediate person.

    If Pitt had done a better job of researching Graham, they might not have made the mistake in hiring him.

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  14. Why is Randy Shannon invisible for the Pitt job ? He has head coaching experience , recruiting ties to FL high schools, he knows the ACC opposition, and improved the academic record of the Miami football players while their coach. He really is not a Wanny disciple, he got his start from Erickson and made defensive coordinator under Coker.
    He won 8 games the year got fired and what lead to his firing - a loss to So Fla. The guy can coach and recruit, a perfect fit for going into the ACC.
    Another point not discussed Pitt should be hiring a coach based on ACC revenues and not the payscale of the Big east coaches.

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  15. Couple reasons Shannon is a horrible idea:

    1. Wanny disciple.

    2. Do you recall the stuff that went on behind his back at Miami?

    3. Yeah, he knows the ACC ... knows how to lose to them.

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  16. I don't know much about Cristobal but with is Cuban background wouldn't he and especially his wife have a harder time adapting to Pittsburgh from Florida than the Grahams(poor Penny !)
    Could we be making the same mistake twice.

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  17. REply to Pensinexile: "Interviewing multiple candidates even if you have your eye on a particular coach not only allows you to collect information and improve your negotiating position, but it slows the process and allows your staff to research the main candidate."

    Sure, fine.

    But why not use that time to interview an OC or DC like Stoops -- or better yet, a HC like Randy Shannon or Ron English -- who you might actually hire? Rather than a guy you'd be stupid to hire.

    Chryst sounds like the guy thinks he should be a HC because of for-whom/where-all he's worked and not due to his skill set.

    Let's get real. If he can't recruit, he can't be a CFB HC no matter how badly he wants it. He should go to the NFL, today. It'd be like trying to be a salesman but you come across as an unfriendly butthead. Recipe for DISASTER.

    What scares me: sounds like the guy is a dud. But that means Chryst could appears stable, he might get the gig (and whiff ... there goes anoher five years).

    But "being stable" might simply mean no other school wants to poach him from us. Not good.

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  18. To Zatiti:
    Shannon got fired after an 8 win season, he lifted the academic performance of the Miami football players changing that hard core image.
    He accomplished a lot of good at Miami , his sin was losing to So Fla.
    I think Pitt should chech Shannon out before he accepts the defensive coordinators job at Arkansas.

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  19. Reply to pittee3, "2. Do you recall the stuff that went on behind his back at Miami?"

    By all accounts, RS was constantly in the face of the AD , telling them to get and keep that snake Shapiro away from the team. He should get extra points for that, not DQd.

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  20. I just saw some of Cristobal's press conferences on YouTube. Very impressive guy. From first glance, seems to the opposite of Todd Graham. Comes across as sincere, genuine, and down-to-earth. Of course, as we know all too well, appearances can be deceiving, but he comes across very impressively.

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  21. Chris,

    Any reason Mark Stoops is no longer in the running? Did you have any strong thoughts on him one way or the other?

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  22. Chris,

    Lichtenfels reporting that Fickell has the offer - whay would they go ahead with the supposed Cristobal interview today if true?

    Can you shed any light on any of this yet?

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  23. A lot of smoke on Fickell offered out there ...

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  24. So far it's just one person saying it. While that person is more connected to most it's still about the tenth different scoop I've heard today. It doesn't add up to me that they would fall in love with Fickell so hard so fast but this is Pitt we are talking about so it's always possible.

    As you can tell I say little in these situations because I'd rather say nothing than say something wrong. That's why when I have had a scoop I've never been proven wrong.

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  25. 40 Man --

    Just saying that a good, measured process is more likely to lead to a good coach than jumping right at the top candidate.

    Pitt should talk to Stoops. They should interview Bud Foster.

    As for Chryst -- if you can't sell, you are destined to be a follower, not a leader.

    Agreed, you can't hire a weak recruiter, Cowboy.

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  26. Hoping for Cristobal of the three being interviewed. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date Chris.

    Looks as if Pederson is ahead of the curve on this one. The three candidates seem to be OK for a start.

    Iowa State made a good preemptive move to keep Rhoads.

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  27. Of the candidates interviewed so far, I actually prefer Fickell to Cristoball. Fickell impressed two national championship coaches (Myer and Tressel) plus the assistant coach of the year award from the AFCA in 2010. To me, that shows his peers recognize his ability and that impresses me. I also like the fact he his know as an excellent recruiter, which is something that Pitt requires.
    I am not so concerned about his head coaching experience this year simply because it was not his team nor his staff. He had to take over Jim Tressell's staff, which probably was not a good fit. The fact that Urban Myer retained him speaks volumes to his ability in my opinion.

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  28. Doke,

    Do you have any thoughts on Pat Narduzzi?

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  29. I would be very happy with either Fickell or Cristobal, although I prefer Cristobal and like his Florida ties and his energy.

    I also like the list of candidates that Pederson is interviewing for a change.

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  30. Why does the PG's Zeise say that Fickell was interviewed yesterday, but in the Trib, Fickell today says he hasn't talked to anyone directly?

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11350/1197352-100.stm

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_772474.html

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  31. Like I said, that's why I'm not reporting the stuff I'm hearing. It's all over the place and I don't want to add to the confusion. Either Fickell is lying or Ziese and Lichtenfels were wrong.

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  32. Well, I guess Fickell is sitting between Vrabel and Myers right now watching HS football, so my guess is he's lying ;-)

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  33. http://bebballreportpitt.blogspot.com/2010/12/pitt-should-fire-both-haywood-and.html

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  34. if cristobal wants the pitt job (which i'm assuming he does) and they don't hire him then all involved with this search should be fired. to me anything less than hiring him i will consider an epic fail. anyone else they hire will be a "safe" hire. this is their chance to get the best football guy for the job and who also has the "it" factor about him. to be honest though i have no faith in the higher ups at pitt anymore to make the right move. pretty much am expecting the worst and hoping for the best at this point. cristobal has everything that they are supposedly looking for in a coach. so for the love of all thats good and holy hire the man already.

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  35. I agree BW - throw a ton of $ at Cristobal - make sure we have a major buyout clause and get this done now.

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  36. There's one thing I don't understand if Fickell did get offered the job, and that's that he was in Hershey watching Noah Spence. You have to wonder why Urban Meyer would want to take Fickell with him to recruit one of the best players in the country. For all he knows, Spence really likes Fickell and would rather play for him. Why would Meyer risk that? And even if he thinks Fickell as Pitt coach could never get Spense over him, he is stil letting Fickell be seen with him there, and that could help Fickell's PA reputation in the future. I don't know. Just a thought.

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  37. Chris,

    I really don't think Urban Meyer is worried that Fickell would be able to out recruit him in any way shape or form if Fickell got the Pitt job.

    If he indeed was with Meyer recruiting Spence then that should end the speculation that Fickell was offered the Pitt job which I highly doubt since they "supposedly" had other interviews set up.

    Please for the love of God don't hire Chryst though - with his personality...disaster.

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  38. Obviously if Fickell was the head coach at Pitt, he would not out recruit Meyer outright or in OH, but in PA he could. Wannstedt beat Meyer for PA kids when Florida was winning national championships, and he beat Tressel, too. So it makes no sense to me that Meyer would take him to be seen in a high profile PA high school game. All he's doing is giving his approval of Fickell, which people will remember if Fickell is then recruiting for Pitt in PA.

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  39. if they hire cristobal it would go a long way in repairing the damaged image of the football program, school, and administration on a national level. if they don't hire him or he for some reason turns it down then its another black eye for pitt.

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  40. Come on Chris - are you working the phones? - we NEED something from you :)

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  41. must be burning up the phones. maybe a scoop on the way?

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  42. If Cristobal is so good why have all these schools passed on him this past year and why was he not hired last year? If he was outdone by haywood and graham...no thanks. And I dont see how 4th place in the sun belt is a splash hire or a wow, real good for pitt hire nationally.

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  43. Trust me, if they hired Cristobal, the national media will be giving Pitt an A+ for the hire. And I wouldn't say it's proof that he isn't a good hire because Pitt didn't hire him. They clearly aren't good at hiring football coaches.

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  44. There's probably literally 50 people burning up the phones trying to find out. I get a lot of info but there's a lot of contradictory stuff and nothing 100% so I don't just want to repeat rumors and make things worse. The truth is, until it's a done deal, there will literally be just a handful of people who know and usually those are the types of people who don't talk. I know various people high up at the university and they don't know anything concrete so it's still a waiting game. I'm thinking you will here something soon.

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  45. anonymous if you don't think cristobal would be a slam dunk for them you either don't know college football all that well or your high. do a little research before you make a statement like that, it makes you look simple. if they want this done quickly then cristobal would make sense since his bowl game will be over tuesday which is earlier than the other candidates. if there is no announcement of his hiring by wednesday i would assume he isn't getting it. if he is announced as coach that would be great for saving this recruiting class and what recruits he may bring with.

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  46. haha, ok i must be high than bw. IMO these guys from smaller conferences are a coin toss. for every urban meyer there are 10 todd grahams or steve kragthorpe. all i know is paul chryst just coached montae ball and is the OC going to his 2nd straight rose bowl. luke fickell coached under jim tressel and was a HC in the big 10. yes they lost 6 games but ill take that over 8 wins in the sun belt. you say i look simple?! your a joke if you think recruits are waiting for mario cristobal to be the HC. half of them never heard of him and dont kid yourself saying they do. they know OHIO STATE and WISCONSIN. again, my question wasnt answered, why was he passed over already for MH and TG

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  47. and none of these guys are a guarantee or slam dunk. pitt will never be a school to get a guy like that. if pitt hires MC, i will support him and hope for the best. its just my humble, uninformed opinion that he is not a slam dunk.

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  48. I don't think Cristobal is guaranteed to be successful, but I think of the three he is mostly likely to be successful. In my opinion, you hire the guy that gives you the best chance of doing great things- period. I don't worry about them leaving, or their staff, or their familiarity with PA football, because none of that will matter if you have an excellent coach.

    And trust me, when they hear the rest of the college football world saying great things about Cristobal, and they hear he won two national championships playing at Miami, they will be excited. When he walks in and talks to them, they will love even more because he is the antithesis of Graham. He doesn't have the sleazeball vibe that Graham had. Everybody who knows Cristobal loves the guy and nobody says anything bad about him. The players will pick up on that immediately.

    As for being passed up for Haywood and Graham, first of all, you're assuming Pederson knows what he's doing, which especially with the Haywood hiring, proves he doesn't. Secondly, one year makes a big difference with Cristobal. He's only 41 and he just turned FIU around this year after five years so he's really only become the guy right now. Of the three, he's the only who has been a head coach for real and he's done it for five years. Fickell was a head coach for one year on an interim basis but he was considered a failure as a head coach for that one year. Eventually he may get to Cristobal's status but Pitt shouldn't have a training program.

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