Friday, December 12, 2014

Next Pitt coach (continually updated)

Top Choices

Justin Fuente
Memphis
Age: 38
Born: Tulsa, OK
Alma mater: Oklahoma, Murray State
Salary: $1.066 million

One of the hottest coaches in the country after turning around a previously awful Memphis program.  In just three seasons he has directed Memphis to a 9-3 record. The three seasons before he was hired Memphis was 5-31.

He made his bones as the TCU offensive coordinator from 2009-11. In those three seasons TCU was 36-3 with the Horned Frogs setting records behind quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Casey Pachall.

But it's not offense that has been leading the way for Memphis where the Tigers were No. 50 nationally this season. The offensive coordinator is Darrell Dickey who was the head coach at North Texas for nine seasons. Even though the Tigers offense has not been fantastic yet under that has more to do with personnel. The things he could do with Chad Voytik, James Conner, and Tyler Boyd makes the head spin, though he is another spread offense devotee.

But it's defense that's been more impressive, ranking No. 22 nationally.  Missouri alum, and Oklahoma native, Barry Odom, has been the defensive coordinator for all three of Fuente's seasons, and his turnaround of the defense has been highly impressive.

Fuente may be too young for Pitt, which would be a major mistake. He had only 51 scholarship players when he got to Memphis and in three years he has proven to be one of the next big things in the coaching world. He's also a no nonsense coach, yet refreshingly honest and charismatic coach, that players, fans, and media would love.

Fuentes just got a one year extension that takes him through 2017.


Doc Holliday
Marshall
Age: 57
Born: Hurricane, WV
Alma mater: West Virginia
Salary: $600,000 + $145,000 possible bonuses

Much older than the other candidates and he'll be 58 before next season started. But with age comes experience and Holliday has tons of it. He started at his alma mater, WVU, where he stayed for two decades. He finished there as the associate head coach, and then followed that up with two more associate head coach stints at NC State and Florida before returning to WVU to again be the associate head coach for Bill Stewart for two years. When Dana Holgerson replaced Stewart instead of Holliday he went to WVU's hated rival, Marshall, where he struggled for three seasons before going 22-5 in the last two seasons.

This year Marshall is 12-1, though admittedly it's against one of the easiest schedules in the country. But the Thundering Herd have been destroying people. Marshall is No. 2 in total offense nationally, including No. 6 in rushing and No. 17 in passing.

Holliday not only has the experience, and the success as a head coach, but he's also one of the best recruiters in the nation, especially in Florida. There seems to be a lot to like on paper, and it helps that he probably will never end up at WVU at this point. As an added bonus for some, he so dislikes WVU now that he'd probably lobby the administration to play them again.






Next Level

Current Head Coaches


Mark Hudspeth
Louisiana-Lafayatte
Age: 46
Born: Louisville, MS
Alma mater: Delta State
Salary: $1.025 million

Probably the top non-Power 5 head coaching candidate currently. In fact, he's been called the next big thing for the past few years and is said to have the "it factor". He's never coached outside of the south which is good because he has a lot of connections in the talent rich south. I'm sure some will wonder if somebody that has only been in the south could succeed in the north, but they're both in the US. It's not like he has to move to Russia. Johnny Majors was from Tennessee, Jackie Sherrill was from Oklahoma, and Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon were from California. In other words, if you can coach you can coach anywhere.

As a head coach he was 66-21 in seven years at South Alabama. Five of his seven seasons resulted in double digit victories. He left to become the WR coach and Passing Game Coordinator for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State for one year. The next season he took over at Louisiana-Lafayette where he was 9-4 each of his first three seasons, and 8-4 so far this season. The university's only other 9-win season came in 1976 so that record is much more impressive than it sounds. In his first season he led the Ragin' Cajuns to their first bowl in 41 years. He's 3-0 in bowl games beating San Diego State, East Carolina, and Tulane. Overall, his career record is 101-37 in 11 years, and his first year at South Alabama is the only losing year in his career.

Hudspeth is a very passionate player's coach who has gone into the team's weight room and bench pressed 370 pounds and 225 pounds 25 times. He is also revered in Mississippi where both Mississippi State and Ole Miss fans want him to be their coach should they need one.

He just signed a six year extension that will pay him an average of $1.075 million over the contract. That's a very good contract for the Sun Belt Conference, but Pitt would pay more than twice that amount.

While he's known as a very good recruiter, Hudspeth runs a spread offense which the Panthers may not want to go back to. It's not a highly productive spread, however, and his teams at Louisiana-Lafayette generally finish around the middle of the pack nationally. His defenses have also been average. But, it is at a very low level program so you can only expect so much from him.

Bottom line, he'd easily be in the top list if he wasn't so beloved in southeast. He has the look of somebody that will end up in the SEC very soon. For that reason, he may not be interested in Pitt and vice versa. Would be a major hire, though.


Matt Wells
Utah State
Age: 41
Born: Sallisaw, OK
Alma mater: Utah State
Salary: $600,000

One of the top young head coaches in the country even though he's only been a head coach for two years. Wells finished 9-5 last season and 9-4 so far this season. This season was even more impressive considering the Aggies were down to their fourth string quarterback. Star quarterback Chuckie Keeton played in just the first three games. Utah State finished No. 78 in total offense this season, obviously a product of their quarterback problems.

The defense under Wells has been better finishing No. 36 this season after being No. 12 last season. The defensive coordinator is Todd Orlando, the former UConn defensive coordinator from Pittsburgh. He's one of the more successful defensive coordinators in there country over the last decade. Why his coordinator career consists of stints at UConn, FIU, and Utah State is anybody's guess.

Wells was the offensive coordinator for this first two seasons at Utah State, under Gary Anderson, and in 2012 his offense set multiple school records with Keeton as the starter.

He's considered one of the top young head coaches in the country and even though he is currently at his alma mater he has not closed the door to getting a bigger job. Of course as somebody that lives and works almost his entire life in the western part of the country, there's always a chance that he could want to go back west eventually if he came to Pitt.

Would be a big get for Pitt but he's a western guy so the match may not be there.


P.J. Fleck
Western Michigan
Age: 34
Born: Sugar Grove, IL
Alma mater: Northern Illinois
Salary: $392,000 + a possible $236,000 max in bonuses.

A future star at a top program, but he's only 34 (barely) so that's probably a deal breaker. The former Northern Illinois star wide receiver was the WR coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and that was one day after accepting the offensive coordinator job at his alma mater. The one day is his grand total of coordinator experience. But even though he's young, Fleck has coached under some impressive people. He got his start as a graduate assistant under Jim Tressel. He's also worked under Greg Schiano

At Western Michigan he took over a 4-8 team and immediately went 1-11. At 32 he was the youngest major college head coach in the country. He immediately rescinded all of the offers for players that already committed. That was very controversial and it didn't help that he followed it by winning just one game in his first season.

With the hounds already at his door he responded by signing the best MAC recruiting class since the internet sites started rating them. The result is that he was 8-4 this year and was named the MAC Coach of the Year. He also is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award for national coach of the year.

To say Fleck is an interesting personality is an understatement. At practice he lined up at receiver and torched the team's best cornerback. He also has done the polar plunge for charity (shirtless), and did a coaches only video of "Harlem Shake". His mantra of "Row the Boat", which is a sensation in Kalamazoo, is a call for the team to focus as one.

Bottom line, his age alone is something that will probably keep him from ending up at Pitt, but then you throw in his over the top personality that probably won't go over well in a pro city like Pittsburgh. He's somebody that seems very unlikely to replace Paul Chryst unless Pitt really changes how they do things. He just signed an extension through 2020, though it's doubtful that the buyout is prohibitive.



Pete Lembo
Ball State
Age: 44
Born: Staten Island, NY
Alma mater: Georgetown
Salary: $475,000

This is a name that's been bandied about by college insiders for awhile now, but some of his buzz may have lessened after Ball State ended up 5-7 this season. In four years Lembo is 30-20, but it was in his second and third seasons, when Lembo went 19-7, that he gained the buzz in the first place.

Lembo also had head coaching stints at Lehigh (44-14, 5 years), and Elon (35-22, 5 years). Overall in 14 seasons Lembo is 109-56, an average of 8-4. He's also 0-5 in playoffs and bowl games. But that can be a bit deceiving. The best program he's coached is at Ball State and they've only had two winning seasons in the 14 years before Lembo arrived. The two seasons prior to Lembo's arrival the program was a combined 6-18. The school thinks enough of him that he got a recent five year extension that made him the highest paid coach in the MAC. At Elon, the program was 14-42 in the five years before he arrived.

Bottom line, he's a very good, well respected coach, but he's more about solid efficiency than an exciting coach with a high ceiling. It seems like the Panthers could do better, but he's the kind of solid citizen that Pitt may like. And after all, they hired Michael Haywood from the MAC, and Lembo is much more accomplished.




College Assistant Coaches




Mario Cristobal
Alabama OL
Age: 44
Born: Miami, FL
Alma mater: Miami, FL
Salary: $475,000

Yes, it's him again, and this time he's an even better major college head coach candidate. I know Pitt fans downplay Cristobal but he's a great candidate. He did a remarkable job at Florida International, a place where it's nearly impossible to win. But he did win in his fourth and fifth seasons (the only time in the program's 13 year history that they had a winning record. After a 3-9 record in his sixth season, Cristobal was fired. After he was fired, the FIU athletic director received massive criticism in the college football world for the decision. FIU is 5-19 since Cristobal was fired.

After being hired by Miami as the TE  and associate head coach under Al Golden, he left six weeks later to be the offensive line coach at Alabama. There, under Nick Saban, Cristobal raised his profile by continuing his excellent recruiting. In fact, he's considered one of the best recruiters in the country.

Still young and charismatic, and with head coach and recruiting experience, Cristobal will become a Power 5 head coach soon.

Of course there's the big elephant in the room and that's that Pitt tried to hire him before. What happened exactly, nobody knows for sure. Did Pitt or Cristobal pass? And if Cristobal passed, what would it take to change his mind?

Truthfully, though, I don't expect the Panthers to go down this road again, especially since Steve Pederson wanted to hire him last time and the administration may not be too dependent on his opinion anymore.



Pat Narduzzi
Michigan State DC
Age: 48
Born: New Haven, CT
Alma mater: Youngstown State, Rhode Island
Salary: $907,000

Considered by many as the best defensive coordinator in college football over the past few years, Narduzzi has interviewed for a handful of jobs over the last few years. Last year he won the Broyles Award as the best assistant in college football.

Narduzzi started his coordinator career at Miami, OH in 2003. After just one year he was hired by Mark Dantonio for the same position at Cincinnati. After three successful years there he moved with Dantonio to Michigan State. He was up for the Cincinnati job but it went to Brian Kelly instead.

Narduzzi has interviewed for head coach jobs in the past and would have had the UConn job if he wanted it. But he has been picky in finding the right job. Texas A&M tried to hire him away at one time, but thanks to a family of Michigan State donors that donated money to raise his salary, he stayed with the Spartans. He's currently the highest paid assistant in the Big 10.




Unemployed


Greg Schiano
Age: 48
Born: Wyckoff, NJ
Alma mater: Bucknell

This may be a long shot but the former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach is obviously a big marquee name that would immediately give the Panthers instant credibility. While he was a disaster at Tampa Bay he did the seemingly impossible and turned Rutgers into a winner. He was 68-67 overall at Rutgers but 49-28 in the last six seasons, including an 11-2 record in 2006.

Schiano, who is still only 48, would recruit extremely well in eastern PA and New Jersey, and he would no doubt have great defenses, but his personality may be a bit too big for the conservative Pitt administration.







Removed from the list:

Tom Herman
Ohio State OC
Age: 39
Born: Born in Cincinnati, OH and raised in California
Alma mater: California Lutheran
Salary: $555,000

The administration will probably want to go for somebody with head coaching experience this time, but if they want to take a flyer on a coordinator, this is the ideal choice. Herman is literally a genius and by that I mean he is actually a member of Mensa. On the football field he may be a genius, too.

The former wide receiver started as a wide receiver coach but after just four seasons he became the offensive coordinator at Texas State. He was just 30 at the time and in his first season Texas State finished No. 8 nationally in offense. After two seasons he moved with head coach David Bailiff to Rice where Herman led the Owls to two amazing offensive seasons. In the second season, Rice had not one but two receivers with over 1,300 yards receiving, a tight end with 111 catches, and a quarterback that was the conference MVP.

Herman then moved on to Iowa State to work with then new head coach Paul Rhoads. Again he broke school records which caught the eye of Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Now in his third season with the Buckeyes, Herman just won the Broyles Award given to the top assistant coach in the country. Ohio State finished No. 7 nationally in total offense despite playing three quarterbacks due to injuries.

Herman, who is also considered an exceptional recruiter, runs a no huddle, fast paced, spread offense, but not a fancy, gimmicky one. Like Pitt, Ohio State has massive offensive linemen so the Panthers biggest asset, the offensive line, should not be compromised.



Bo Pelini
Age: 46
Born: Youngstown, OH
Alma mater: Ohio State

Pelini was just fired from Nebraska in what was considered a controversial move by many, mostly because in seven seasons Pelini was 67-27, including 9-3 this season. Pelini lost four games in every season but this season when he didn't get to coach in the bowl.

Pelini will get paid nearly 8 million dollars total for the next four years so he's in no hurry financially to find another job. He may not find it at Pitt anyway. At one point the Panthers were interested in Pelini but his volatile personality is contradictory to the image that Pitt tries to follow. For those reasons he seems like a long shot.


Teryl Austin
Age: 49
Born: Sharon, PA
Alma mater: Pittsburgh
Salary: ?

Have to put a Pitt guy on the list but he's only been a coordinator for two years. Of course one of those years was in Florida and one is this year with the Detroit Lions where he's leading one of the best defenses in the NFL.

He was a very good recruiter in his day but he's only recruited one year in the last decade. He may also be getting NFL interviews after this season. It's debatable if he's really a "Pitt guy" that would find this his dream job since he's never coached at Pitt and he doesn't seem to talk about them a lot.

But I have to add him because you never know if the administration wants a Pitt alum.





204 comments:

  1. I realize as a Pitt fan I am already attuned to being pessimistic, but I really think we end up with a really, really, unsexy hire.

    Probably even a retread as bad as when UConn was stuck with Paul Pasqualoni.

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    Replies
    1. Wannstadt can go 19-19 so hire him back?

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  2. I quit if they even consider Schiano

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    1. I don't see how hiring Schiano would be a bad thing. College doesn't translate to the NFL, especially when you inheret a disaster NFL organization. Schiano did wonders with Rutgers

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    2. Schiano ran pro sets, too, I believe. Perfect for the style of players Chryst brought in here. He'd run Conner until his feet bled.

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  3. Whoever Jordan Whitehead wants
    (just kidding....sorta)

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  4. I can't believe I have to even ask, but since we're talking about Pitt here (and by extension Pederson), can we safely assume that Paul Rhoads will not be a candidate?

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    Replies
    1. Rhodes is coaching in his home state, 20 miles from where he grew up. He's not leaving to come back to Pitt.

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    2. Also his tenure at ISU has been a joke. I mean, it's an impossible place to win for sure, but they're not even competitive.

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  5. What I want to see Pitt do is hire a DYNAMIC recruiter. If there are coaches that can convince players to go to Western Michigan or Memphis than there are certainly players willing to come to Pitt. I'd like to see an assistant from a big time program come in and bring that mentality here to Pitt.

    Pitt's acted like a MAC school since Wanny was here.

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    Replies
    1. Ron Zook. There's your dynamic recruiter. He would be a great hire. He can recruit...no doubt about that

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    2. Ron Zook. Unbelievable recruiter. Would be great a Pitt

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  6. What about Firing Pederson and hiring back Wanny!

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  7. Any news on our top recruits if they will jump ship? Go with Doc. He could stay 10 yrs

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  8. Nice list, Chris. All are very good candidate but, as you mentioned, some (most) are unlikely. If handled correctly this doesn't have to be a disaster for Pitt. I liked PC and thought he was making solid progress on offense (defense is another story). However, he's not Saban and was 19-19 through 3 seasons. Such an odd situation where a coach could go from potential hot seat to sought after commodity.

    I will say, just because we are looking for a new coach again doesn't mean we are doomed for another 3-5 years until the new coach "get his players" or "implements his system." That's absurd. You can win and win fast in college football. Yes, the Wanny, Haywood, Fraud situation was a disaster but it was a self-created disaster that should have never happened. A new coach can pick right up where PC left off and hit the ground running. Actually, there are better coaches out there who would probably want the job...the rub is Pederson. Is he involved? if so, how much? Now THAT should make Pitt fans terrified.

    Great blog.

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  9. Chris, what is your opinion on David Cutcliffe? He is 60, which is certainly a deterrent...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Didn't leave Duke for Michigan so he wouldn't leave it for Pitt.

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    2. Not very good evidence that he was ever even contacted by them or a representative to their program, though. Seems silly that he wouldn't take that job, since, every time he's been offered a head coaching job, he's taken it. Not sure thought that Pitt offers any sort of upgrade at this point to what he has. He's rolling at Duke. Would be nice to see him coach Voytik though.

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  10. Any chance Whitehead reconsiders?

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    1. Of course there is. Whomever they hire - if its relatively quickly - will have to sell him on why he should still commit to the program. He and all recruits are on uncertain terms now, that's the nature of CFB these days.

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    2. FWIW, this morning he retweeted the following from Pitt Fr LB Jamal Davis: "I'm a Pitt Football Player with a lot of pride & love for my team."

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  11. I am optimistic that because Whitehead was planning to enroll in January that he is already too far along to re-open his recruitment.

    I also am thinking that there was no way that he committed to Pitt because he wants to play for Matt "I Can't Protect This" House.

    I am hoping that it was more an instance of him wanting to stay local and play with Conner and Boyd. I hope...

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  12. I just hope that Pitt's administration has a contingency list as thorough and as well thought out as this but knowing Pitt.....Rudolph may be entering as Chryst exits.

    If that happens and I know many that have threatened....I may be done with Pitt FB if they hire Rudolph as the next HC.

    My choices in order - realistically:

    1) - Herman
    2) - Narducci
    3) - Fuente - I never thought of him.
    4) - Holliday
    5) - Schiano

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    Replies
    1. I don't see Herman or Narducci.
      Not that I don't like them, don't see them moving to Pitt.
      I also don't see Pitt going with anyone that doesn't have ties to somewhere within 400miles of Pittsburgh. So, all those west coast or down south types don't make the list.
      Pelini, Holliday, Bowden at Akron, Campbell at Toledo.

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    2. Agreed Zatiti

      Rudolph would be a typical Pitt mistake. Chris has a far better list than I bet Pederson has put together. Only person I would add to Chris's list is Scott Frrost. Yes he is young but he has had success as both a Defensive and Offensive co-ordinator. He would make football at Pitt exciting again.

      My choices in order - realistically:

      1) - Fuente
      2) - Frost
      3) - Narducci
      4) - Herman
      5) - Holliday

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    3. Pitt's weak Ad is not qualified to make a head coaching decision.

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  13. Doc Holliday would be my top choice. Instead of taking his best recruits with him after using Pitt as a stepping stone, he might retire from Pitt and leave us with a promotable assistant to give the program continuity.

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  14. Great list Chris. I would accept just about any of them. But ADSP will undoubtedly cast his line in the deepest part of the well...

    Also it seems almost as if Joe Rudolph fan club has started a flash campaign on The Fan 93.7...almost every third caller is promoting him, as are a few of the on air jockeys...I hope this is my paranoia and not a CT that ADSP has already cast his line and is pulling in the low hanging fruit and perhaps least expensive candidate.

    I too may be done with Pit unless they put out the $$ to get a coach worthy of a member of one of the top 5 conferences in the land.

    tommymac

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  15. Any thoughts on Tom Bradley. Could he be a candidate?

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    1. No. Too toxic.

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    2. I would take Bradley. It's rather obvious by now he had nothing to do with the State Penn scandal, he has a great relationship with most of the WPIAL coaches and let's face it, he would stay here.

      I doubt Bradley would change the offense, and let's be realistic, he'd have enough sense to hire a DC that would know what he was doing. The only reason bradley is at WVU is for recruiting WPA, bring him here and you knock WVU and the State Penn out of this area.

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    3. But, he's never been a head coach. And, whether its fair or not, national media would run with the PSU scandal narrative because no one else from that program has been fired anywhere else. Just him in his current role at WVU.

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    4. Tom bradley would be a great hire for Pitt.

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  16. Dear Santa,

    I've been a [relatively] good boy this year, so all I want for Christmas is for Pitt's next head football coach to have head-coaching experience & success at the college FBS level.

    And as a side bonus, if he -- or his staff -- are proven rainmakers as recruiters with deep ties to Florida, Georgia and/or Texas, that would be great too.

    For the love of Pete, PLEASE no more unproven coordinators with no head coaching experience.

    Signed,
    Imma Man! Im 40!

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  17. I live in CV district and know a little about the Whitehead situation. From what I was told, staying home and being able to have his parents watch him was very big for him so hopefully that means Pitt will still be his choice. He is such a great kid and raised the right way that all of the flash that typical recruiters bring probably didn't interest him as much. I believe he became fast friends with Conner and Boyd as well which is a pretty big deal.

    As someone else mentioned earlier, he is planning to graduate early and enroll in January, and it may be too late to change those plans. I hope the new coach is someone that Jordan and his family like.

    I will probably know more after the state championship game tonight. In a few days, I'll text some people to see what is going on. Selfishly, I would like to see him stay at Pitt because my two young sons know Jordan from camps and he is a great role model. I think it would be cool for them to watch him for the next three years.

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  18. What about Todd Orlando? Pittsburgh native, head coaching experience, successful coordinator, good recruiter.

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  19. What about firing Peterson and bringing Louis Riddick as AD?

    With our luck Stevie P gets a lifetime extension and they give Matt House the HC gig!

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    Replies
    1. I agree....

      http://i1251.photobucket.com/albums/hh544/Jackagain/Pedersonjumbotron_zpsf9747127.jpg

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  20. Assuming Chryst is gone to Wisconsin, I'm of a mixed mind about it. On the one hand, I'm not thrilled to be losing another coach, however, it's not like we're losing Jackie Sherrill.

    Chryst is a .500 coach, and lackluster recruiter. He's had some inexcusable losses, but he's also done some good things with the O line and offense in general.

    If Pitt can get this hire right, it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Chancellor Gallagher, please keep SP as far away as possible in the search for the next head coach.

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  21. At this point, they should go with Doc. At 57 and established a s ahead coach and having a strong background, that's more of what this program needs at this point.

    The young guys might seem like hot prospects, but honestly, you aren't successful at that level just based on your personality and your limited experience. They have to bring in kids that probably wouldn't cut it at the ACC level, whereas a coach like Doc has already coached at this level for many years and knows what it takes to succeed at this level.

    Mike W.

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  22. If Pitt is lucky it makes a good hire. But the larger point is the administration won't open up the checkbook. Narduzzi, even if interested in a pay increase would laugh at the expectation that he could not hire a defensive coordinator at close to half his current salary at Michigan State. Herman, Fuentes, all the young upcoming guys know that Pitt is where you go as your transition job to big time. Money makes the world go around and that is something Wisconsin has found out in a big way.

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    1. "all the young upcoming guys know that Pitt is where you go as your transition job to big time."

      That's fine by me, I would just like the guys to win while they're here. I don't care if they leave in 3 or 4 years. Just win while you're here for crying out loud.

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    2. Wisconsin is cheap, their facilities are old, Chryst will probably move for a minimal pay increase.

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    3. Move back to the house he was living in.
      Anderson bought Chryst house and will probably sell it back to him!!

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  23. Sure its a longshot but if this Chancellor decides to commit to football, also a longshot, then I dont see why Muschamp would not be an option. He's listening to Houston so I cant imagine why he wouldn't listen to Pitt.

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  24. Chris, I am surprised that you didn't have Mike Munchak on your list, and I assume that was purposeful. Is it because he has no interest in coaching at the college level?

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  25. Reports are that Alvarea cannot announce a new coach until next Wednesday, at earliest due to a Wisconsin law that says job must be posted for a week. Not that it affects Pitt knowing or commencing their search. Just won't be officially announced I guess.

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    1. Yes Wisconsin is a liberal state that law is in effect.

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    2. Huh? The state where Scott Walker is governor is a liberal state? LOL

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    3. The gov isn't but the remaining legislature leans very left, liberal state. I lived there for 20 years then wished up and moved to Texas.

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  26. Norvall is a bigtime OC and he was here with Graham. Stud. Makes 900K

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  27. Very impressive list. The issue is our AD is not capable of of researching and arriving at such a list.

    Chris, I know you are not an Austin man, and I agree he is a risk with no HC experience, but I read where he gave an impressive, well-structure interview back when Graham was hired. He has an impressive resume and probably numerous contacts.

    Having said that ... I agree that the coaches you have listed at the beginning are outstanding candidiates.

    bill

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    Replies
    1. Rumor is that Smiley Steve is currently being shut out of the process by Gallagher... so take that rumor for what rumors are worth.

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  28. Not wild about the idea of bringing in a spread offense guy. Not because I don't believe in it, but am just too fatigued from the last swap-out of players over the past couple years.

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  29. Chris that's an interesting group of prospective head coaches. I still don't get the Mario thing he couldn't keep his job at FIU. Then he goes to the highest paying school as an offense of line men. And where is Brady Moody's not happy.

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    Replies
    1. Mario lost his job because of his antics on pursuing other head coaching opportunities while telling his boss he was committed to FIU

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  30. Bring in Holliday and give Rudolph a nice bump to keep him here.

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  31. Chris, what's the ideal scenario to help Pitt move forward?
    1. Chryst Stays?
    2. Chryst Goes?
    3. Pederson stays and headlines the new coaching hire?
    4. Pederson stays but isn't given the reigns of the new coaching hire?
    5. Pederson and Chryst go, and Gallagher hires a new AD and Coach?

    I personally think the worst possible scenario is status quo. Pederson and Chryst both stay and his entire staff remains intact.

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    1. I'd rather he stay because I don't know the replacement will be and I'd rather not take my chances. Having said that, it may end up being the best thing that ever happened to Pitt if they find the right guy. I do think Chryst was limited and didn't have a really high ceiling.

      Pederson won't be heavily involved in the hiring. He won't be fired no because there's not enough time but his days appear to be numbered.

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    2. What you're all missing, with all this stuff with Wisky.

      Pitt has not jumped to give Chryst an extension!!

      That is great news.

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    3. To be honest, I am amazed that Wisconsin, a more successful program than PITT, wants PC - his tenure at PITT has been very sketchy. I agree with you, Chris his upside is limited.

      Delete
  32. Right now I would place the odds at 50/50 that Joe Rudolph is named the next Pitt head coach. Basing this simply on past hiring practices at Pitt and the desire not to shake up the program. This would probably mean that Matt House would remain in charge of the defense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they do... then it is official. "We want ACC $ but we have intention on fielding a competitive football team".

      Delete
    2. John. that is exactly how I feel about these Rudolph rumors too. There could be no clearer signal that Pitt does not care about putting a winning program together than offering Joe Rudolph this job. No other ACC program would ever dream of promoting him to permanent head coach if they were in our situation.

      Delete
  33. Can the University of Pittsburgh football program be more screwed up. It's like reading Nostradamus predictions scares the hell out of you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. That SP is being shut out is the insider's story. It was also in a tweet by the basketball guy for Panther Lair (Matthew Stein) who said Gallagher was running the show and he may "blow the whole thing up" by cleaning house..i.e. Pederson gets axed.

    Here's hoping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the best thing I have heard in 6 years.

      Delete
  35. Chris, Nice list of head coaching candidates. You have my support if you apply for the Pitt Athletic Director's job.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I don't care if the new coach has Penn State, West Virginia, or Ohio State ties. I only care if he can win. It's nice if he has Pitt or western PA ties but it's not necessary. I'm just fed up with the circus. Let's get on with this get the new coach in place as soon as humanly possible. Ideally it would be great if Pitt could hire the new coach before Wisconsin makes their announcement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They can't hire a coach before Wisconsin's announcement, because then they would be firing Chryst and eating the buyout.

      Delete
  37. Has there ever been a program that is vastly more interesting off than field than on?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Why don't we fire pederson first & hire an AD with a brain...I would love some vision and reach out to Mark May...talk about exciting the base...then open up the funds 4 the head coach and his assistance... hope this new Chancellor understands the value of a strong football program...

    ReplyDelete
  39. Has to be Rudolph replacing him cause they have five assistants flew to see whitehead and talk after the game. They must know who is staying and going. Also would make Rudolph coach in wed after the announcement immediately and have Chryst be offensive cord if he wants in bowl game

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That doesn't mean anything. They still want to recruit him wherever they go.

      Delete
    2. chris wy would pitt let coaches that very well could be going to wisc go and see their biggest recruit, does not make sense

      Delete
    3. Hiring Rudolph would be the typical brain dead, same old cheap Pitt move. This guy is less qualified than Chryst. The only reason he would be hired is it would be the easy thing to do and he would come cheap.

      He would be no where near the most qualified candidate

      And yet the kool aid drinking yinzers would get on board like they did for Chrsyt - cause that is what they do - and in three years we will have had had 3 more mediocre seasons

      Delete
  40. Why was Bradley not listed Chris? - according to KDKA, he's a candidate.

    Do you not think Pitt would consider him at all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow this story gets better every minute. Bradley a candidate!!!!!! What are you people smoking up there in Pittsburgh.

      Delete
  41. Well, many on this blog have been calling for PC to be gone and looks like he is. Oh, to take over Wisconsin a school whose recent successes are only a Pitt pipe dream. PC has made mistakes at Pitt but he's also learned and gotten better each year. The reason Pitt should be able to hire a good replacement is because of the PC's efforts to put the program in a good place.

    Now on to his replacement. Chris I like the list but anyone who's either a Western or Southern coach should be scratched off. They'd only see Pitt as a stepping stone and the big-time recruits you people think would follow them don't want to come up North unless your school is OSU, MI, etc. Not Pitt.

    Also, I think you should scratch any coaches who haven't previously been a HC. For all the whining and crying by people, including you, on this board about the learning curve with PC I can't believe anyone would list a coordinator. But agree with your comment above that previous HC experience will be a requirement.

    My thoughts:

    1. Bo Pelini - He's from the area and has a history of success. His fiery attitude might not mesh with SP but who gives a crap, sounds like he's on the out's so maybe Bo's just to guy for Gallagher to show what he wants to see in a coach.

    2. Doc Holliday - The guy has shown he can coach and recruit.

    3. Jim Tressel - Now if Gallagher really wants to make a statement this would do it. But don't believe he's interested in returning to coaching so maybe a better candidate to be Pitt's next AD...

    4. Greg Schiano - I don't think he'd come to Pitt as it looks like he's wanting a school really dedicated to football. Again, if he's hired that's a big statement being made by Gallagher. Gotta love the connections to the prime NE recruiting area's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a better chance of me being the head coach than Tressel. He's a giant black eye and Pitt doesn't want anymore of those.

      As for a steppingstone, every place is a steppingstone these days. Most coaches don't last long anywhere. Chryst was only at pitt for there years and has equal or more tenure than over half of the coaches in the country.

      Delete
    2. Agree on Tressel but you have to admit that would make some news.

      Delete
  42. Dokish do you think Bradley would be a bad HC or is his past still an issue when it comes to Pitt?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if he'd be bad but I would be shocked if Pitt hire him.

      Delete
  43. Tim Lewis, Mark May, Louis Riddick, DW. Plenty of Pitt men who would work miracles, and raise serious coin, for the athletic department.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Louis Riddick is a very smart guy - I'd love to have him as AD.

      Delete
  44. Looks like J R my be getting a look.!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Bradley lied to the investigator. No chance he comes to PITT.
    Doc is WVU bred, no chance either
    If SP running the show then he likes people w/ HC experience
    With Cochran gone who knows what is going on behind the scenes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would where someone's from disqualify them from being a head coach at Pitt? Do you really think that just because someone is from WV, they wouldn't be interested in coaching an ACC team simply because it's a rival of the state school?

      Dollars to donuts if Pitt offered Holliday a significant contract, he'd be interested and possibly agree to come here.

      Delete
  46. So a year ago, I posted that the big10 would come calling for Chryst and that if Pederson was smart, he would extend Chryst and make a large buyout (similar to what the ACC did with its members but on a lower scale). Chryst would have signed that deal because the only job he would leave for would be Wisconsin and there was not hought at the time that the position would open up. I also said it would help him recruit because he was getting to the dead man walking stage of a head football coaches contract. You all mocked me and laughed, so I went silent for quite awhile.

    So here we are. If Gallagher is smart, the conversation goes like this. We are going to give you a raise and an extension. We believe that you have turned the corner and are expecting big things from you. We will get rid of the current AD and let you have input into the new one. In return, I will also give you more money for assistants. Oh yes, one more thing. You need to think long and hard about this move. If you go to Wisconsin and have a .500 record, you won't have other opportunities. If you stay here and win, the world opens up to you, not just Wisconsin. We want you to stay.

    I guess we now know what Barry Alvarez really thinks of Chryst. He is confident in him for sure. So why aren't we? We should be. He took a program that was in chaos and brought respectability to it. Started with the high school coaches and then to players. Pitt is poised to do great things. Wisconsin will never win in the big so long as Urban is at OSU.

    Joe Rudolph makes the most sense as next man up if Chryst leaves and I am sure that was part of the discussion today with Gallagher. Rudolph to me gets a 4 year deal and will win more games next year. He is WPa.

    Bradley is no way. He was not a head coach nor an acting head coach while joepa hung on. Bradley knew about the rapes and did nothing unless you want us to somehow believe these guys spent all that time together and never knew. Are we sure Bradley wasn't "in the fold"? There was another coach that was assaulted that may have come out later, but that coach never named the perpetrator. I think the coach was McQueary.

    Doc Holliday is another one that just wouldn't work here. Yes, he has had success at Marshall, but that is not saying much. He recruits a lot of three star florida kids which is enough to dominate his conference. Not a good hire.

    The key for Pitt is removing Pederson, pronto. That needs to be done yesterday! I don't think Gallagher understands that Pederson is a barrier to a name coach search.

    Herman probably goes to Houston if they interview him. Reports were Muschamp, but Herman probably wins that battle if given the opportunity. They just built an on campus stadium too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they promote Rudolph then they will only prove their incompetence.

      Delete
    2. Thank You - my sentiments exactly.

      Delete
    3. Incompetent or not it will give uall something to talk about.

      Delete
    4. Talent, first of all, thank you for using paragraphs. Many people don't, and it makes their posts unreadable.

      However, promoting Rudolph would be such a typically Pitt move, a la Foge Fazio and Paul Hackett. In other words, cheap and easy.

      I hope Chancellor Gallagher takes this opportunity to really make a statement about Pitt's commitment to football and hires a proven head coach and recruiter.

      Delete
    5. I've already said Pitt should have a previous HC. But besides not having that previous experience why would people be so opposed to Rudolph?

      He's been working side by side with PC; he's by far the best recruiter they have; and knows what the players can, and can't, do. Everyone on here wanted someone who was a good recruiter so he checks that box. He'd need to hire a staff and maybe he learned from PC mistakes and would do a better job from the start.

      The great mystery would be his game management skills and his ability to set a vision for the program. But that comes with any assistant coach.

      Delete
    6. He's not even close to ready to be a head coach in the ACC. Not even close.

      Delete
    7. Kent, you answered your own question. Not having head coaching experience is a big drawback for Rudolph. At least get some seasoning as a head coach at a smaller school. I don't want someone learning on the job again as Coach Chryst did.

      As I mentioned earlier, Pitt has had some negative experiences with promoting coordinators (Foge and Hackett). Rudolph may make a fine head coach someday, but not here not now.

      Let's get a proven commodity as head coach. That won't necessarily guarantee success, but at least the experience will be there.

      Delete
    8. Yep - promoting Rudolph would be the definition of insanity.

      But Pitt admin is pretty insane when it comes to football

      1, Uninspired searches - check
      2. Hiring on the cheap - check
      3. Not hiring the best candidates - check

      That is Pitt in a nutshell

      Delete
    9. Agree D Winters and Pittmav. But folks have mentioned hiring a coordinator (Herman, Narduzzi) so just wondering what makes them so much better prepared to manage a team vs. Rudolph. Besides some years experience, none of them have head coaching experience so if it comes to that Rudolph seems like a very viable option.

      But Pelini is my choice.

      Delete
    10. Herman has been a coordinator for 10 years, Narduzzi for 14 years, Rudolph for 3 years. So, there's your answer.

      Delete
    11. If they don't get a head coach the two you just name would be ok by me.

      Delete
    12. We probably disagree on incompetence if they hire Rudolph. Years in any profession does not mean you are better or ready for the big stage. In corporate life this is also true. Now, however, CEO's are getting smarter and hiring the best up and comer, versus someone who has been in a position longer. Those days are gone. That is why the Bud Foster's, Chuck Amato's and Tom Bradley's don't work as head coaches. They reached their respective ceilings as DC's.

      It is a new way of thinking and I would only ask that you all think about that when considering Rudolph. That said, I couldn't tell you if he is viewed as a rock star or not. Are there red flags with him? I don't know. If Narduzzi was so red hot, he should have been plucked about 4 or 5 years ago. Just something to consider folks. Chip Kelly on the offensive side was another great example of a rock star OC. He didn't flounder for 5 or 10 years before getting an opportunity.

      Delete
    13. I don't understand this obsession with Rudolph. He would not be considered for any other P5 conference school. He wouldn't even have been the OC at Pitt had Bostaf stayed. Not only I'd he an inexperienced coordinator but he doesn't even run the offense. Chryst does. There's no way they would promote him, trust me.

      Delete
    14. Gallagher met with Rudolph one on one and will ultimately be the back-up plan if Chryst leaves. Call it incompetence. The Head Coach needs to have a 3-5 year strategic plan, sell the plan and then have the ability to execute the plan. With Rudolph, the only question mark is part three.

      Typically, the third part is the most difficult concept for executive leadership to buy into. A good "seller" incorporates executive leadership collaboration and buy-in, which makes the plan more easily "sellable". I don't have an infatuation with Rudolph. He provides a direct link to the verballed recruits. Other than that, nobody outside Gallagher's office has seen his 3-5 year plan so to comment on it, would be shortsighted.

      There is no "home run" hitter coming with Pederson in charge, sorry. It will be a reach candidate with upside potential and not a great record. Would you talk to Brady Hoke? Big name, big body. He had success as a head coach at a tier 2-3 program, but couldn't handle the real big time, (not Steve Pederson's definition of big time).

      y final point is that only an up and comer OC or DC gets hired if Pederson remains as head coach. A head coach with any winning pedigree, runs away from Pederson, not towards him.

      Delete
    15. Agree completely Chris - this obsession with Rudolph is absurd. As you note, he would not be considered for any other P5 conference school and he doesn't even run the offense. He is coordinator in name only. His hire would be the type of cheap, incompetent mistake Pitt has made before

      Delete
  47. Wow an exciting few days for pitt fans everywhere. I am no insider and have no knowledge of the hiring process but PC has not left the program yet. Everyone needs to step back and take a few deep breaths and relax. No definite response is coming until the 17th and until then everything is speculation. Remember Tom Bradley was going to be our head coach as announced by kdka and that story unravelled as PC became new head coach W ith that said pitt should put together their short list and if SP is going to be retained keep his toxic hiring thoughts as far away as possible. Reference past coaching searches at pitt and Nebraska. A committee should be put together that has football knowledge and they should do the hiring. There are plenty of great outside candidates see above list and a candidate should be picked from outside the program. Hopefully this process has started and we will be successful if need be on the next hire
    H2P
    Gary in Cleveland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom Bradley was never going to be the head coach at Pitt. KDKA just had some awful reporting.

      Delete
    2. Exactly. This is why pitt fans need to relax. Reports from espn and others may be inaccurate as well
      We all need to remember PC is a 19-19 coach. While he had brought the stability that pit. Needed is he going to take the team to the next level? Not sure but while improvements have been made there is still plenty of room to grow. This can be the time the new chancellor puts his stamp on the program and make a great hire. There are coaches out there who can win with the talent we have but again it all comes down to the 17th for the official announcement and hopefully the administration is already workin on their shirt list and reaching out to the best candidates for Pitt football h2p Gary in cleveland

      Delete
  48. If you're an AD the first thing you should do after you hire a head football coach is start working on a list of potential replacements for said coach. In Pitt's case the AD isn't even returning phone calls, or so he says.

    Good list Chris. Some intriguing possibilities.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Tom Herman is apparently headed to Houston as the next HC there - take him off of the board I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Tom Herman could be next chip kelly... Unfortunate if that happens... He was tops on my list... Also.. I don't see Schiano working for smiley... Wanny would give him a few reasons to stay away from smiley.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Most schools are taking 1-3 days to find a new coach. Pitt caught a break and was given a 5-day notice that they will need to find someone new. If they don't have a new coach by the 19th, it will just prove the athletic department's incompetence.

    By the way, if Pederson really is being shut out of the hiring process, he should be fired immediately.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Unless there is an experience head coach with a winning background. That comes from A power five conference. They are going to hire a coordinator coach from a power five conference. And they do not want to start over again. They're looking for stability right away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Bo Pelini and Greg Schiano meet your requirements. I don't think Pitt should go the coordinator route again. Better to let that person learn on the job elsewhere.

      Delete
  53. Hi Chris,

    Good piece, per your usual good work.

    Just curious about why two names were left unmentioned: Tommy Tuberville at Cincy, and Ruffin McNeill at East Carolina?

    With TT's highly successful experience in the SEC, I'd think he's a great candidate. And with RM's recent experience in building ECU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tuberville makes a lot of money at Cincinnati and he's friends with their AD. That's how he ended up there. McNeil is 56, which, like Holliday, is a strike against him, but mostly I just don't think he's worth it to Pitt to try to steal him. He's good, but probably not good enough.

      Delete
  54. Chris do we have any idea to what pitt is looking at as there next head coach?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. They aren't even publicly admitting that they'll need one.

      Delete
  55. I'm concerned that PITT will take one to three MONTHS to hire a coach. U know...SOP.....let's form a board of review.....vett 7 or 8 candidates ...then have semi finalists.....then it will be time for Spring Ball.

    BAHH!!! :-(

    ReplyDelete
  56. We talk on here about experience . I got a story about that. live in myrtle beach home of coastal Carolina u. They started a football program back in 2000 had great success for just starting they love there first coach. Then a new guy came along no experience was founder and CEO of e-trade. Was a volunteer coach at Nebraska . He came in and got the best coaches he could buy.true story . They are doing so good they were ranked #1 this year. . They just play North Dakota state in playoffs for the third year in a row. If you have the right people that all it take!

    ReplyDelete
  57. With Alvarez interviewing Schiano and someone else. I'm going with those two candidates as being 1-2 for the Pitt job.

    ReplyDelete
  58. In 2006, a guy named Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator for D-IAA New Hampshire. The next year, he was hired as OC of the Oregon Ducks — Kelly's first job of any kind at the top level of football after 16 years in the business.

    After two seasons at Oregon's OC, Kelly was promoted to his first head coaching job, taking over a Top 10 program from the winningest coach in the program's history. Kelly proceeded to win four straight Pac-10 championships (or division titles). On his second year on the job (2010), Kelly and the Ducks lost the national championship game on a last-second field goal. In the last three years of Kelly's four-year tenure at Oregon, the Ducks lost just four games and finish ranked 3, 4, 2 in the AP poll. Oh, and Kelly also turned a promising but non-descript QB named Dennis Dixon into an instant Heisman candidate. In 2013, Kelly left Oregon for the NFL, where he won the first of what will surely be two straight NFC East division titles.

    You just never know where you're going to make a find like that — hiring a guy who was never a head coach before who turned out to be a coach for the ages. Was it just blind luck or good fortune ont he part of Oregon? Sure, there was a little of that — as well as A LOT of Nike money. But Michigan has a lot of money. So does Texas. They are in the crapper right now.

    What both Oregon and the Eagles had is someone, somewhere, making very good hiring decisions. But based on decades of decisions we've seen by the Pitt administration, if we land a coach like Kelly, a whole hell of a lot of luck will be involved.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Just my opinion, and I am old, so that may have a lot to do with it, but I want pro-style offense, no spreads, no "high octane". And I want to win.

    ReplyDelete

  60. Bowler... Like the rationale.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete

  61. Trib Review reporting that at least one Recruit (Darrin Hall) being told Chryst COULD stay if he gets the changes he brought to the attention of Chancellor Gallagher during their meeting.

    If at all true, wonder what those changes would be?

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Use your common sense - it was a recruiting weekend. Junko and company are trying to keep the recruits positive. We enter a quiet period now - so when the coaching change is made, Pitt has time to hire someone before the quiet period with recruits ends.

      You really think Chryst is out there telling recruits - yes, I made demands and I will stay if they meet them?

      Delete

    2. Pittmav... Not saying I believe it at all, as the phrasing of the question above suggests.

      Just curious as to what possible changes Chryst could request. Leaving it up to you and anyone else to speculate.

      If I were Chryst, the only request I might make is that Pitt Admin agree to build a NEW Pitt Stadium by the time my extended contract expires... or I'm OUT-A-HERE!.

      jk

      PittofDreams

      Delete
    3. I think what everyone is leaving out of the equation with this is that outside of current record, going to Wisconsin isn't much different than being at Pitt as far as pay scale goes, and there's something else to take into consideration.

      While SP hasn't been the greatest AD and has caused a lot of the problems that exists with the program, a coach here at least isn't dealing with a meddling AD that just so happens to have a statue of himself standing outside of the football stadium. I can't seem to get why no one is finding it more than a little odd that a program that rotinely wins 9-10 games a year is lokking for their thrid coach in three years, much the same as what Pitt has had to go through.

      While Wisconsin may be PC's dream job, do you honestly think he doesn't know the whole sitaution regarding the UW football program? he has to, I'm not buying this state law crap, if PC really already had the job in hand and was just waiting for some time to pass so that he could be announced as the next coach, I consider him to be an honorable enough man that he would have resigned by now.

      Mike W.

      Delete
    4. Bielema was there for 7 years and was the DC before that. I think people are playing up him leaving way too much. The Gary Andersen move is definitely odd, but Bielema isn't remotely in the same category.

      Delete
    5. I get what you're saying, but Bielema leaving was just as odd. When you've been with a program as long as he was as both an assistant and HC, you've had success and you have the talent built into your program to win 9-10 games a year, you're leaving for a reason and it isn't all $$$.

      Even though Arkansas is an SEC job, it's not the plum that it's made out to be. Sure Bielema left for some more money, but it took him until this year to win a conference game in the SEC. That is the definition of doormat and a step down from UW. Anderson was successful in his two years at UW, and takes a step down to go to Oregon State? These two are not coincedences, and if PC wants to go be Alavrez' puppet, then so be it, but I think in the end he'll regret it even thoug it's going home.

      Mike W.

      Delete

  62. By the way, evidence seems to be mounting that Chryst could be very much UNDER-rated as a Recruiter.

    According to Ohio Runningback Darrin Hall, Chryst's personality made a difference.

    ********
    Hall said Chryst was “great to my family” during the recruiting process. “He and my mom get along real well,” Hall said. “That was a big plus.” - Trib Review

    ********
    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What evidence?

      One article,

      For being an offensive guru Savage was his best QB recruit, Berthke will never beat out Voytik or play a down a Pitt.

      Chryst had a mediocre run at Pitt, that's it.

      Wanny was better than Chryst too bad they fired him.

      Delete

    2. Anonymous... You spell Bertke just like "WLAT and the Big Beat" over on Pitt Blather.

      Like I said there... it's Bertke.

      PittofDreams

      Delete
    3. Well, however you spell it, he wasn't a highly rated QB and reports from practice and camp don't particularly promising in the near term.

      Delete
  63. Don't know what to make of DiPaola's article on the Trib about the possibility that PC stays if some changes are made. I assume this is why SP is hopeful that he will stay.

    My instinct tells me that PC will go .. after all, this is Pitt after all.

    Chris, any thought? bill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never has SO MUCH been written about a MEDIOCRE 6-6, 6-6, 6-6 coach...who can't put 4 coherent sentences together.

      I don't understand the "panic in the streets" mentality. Sheesh,,,if this guy wants to go ...let's let him go back home already.; and for god-sakes.....NO Joe Rudolph.

      You gotta think BIG & BETTER than "continuing the Same Old Pitt" << definition of Insanity. :-)

      Delete
  64. What if he stays and goes 5-8 next year? People will want a coaching change. He hasn't proven to be a GREAT coach. It's not like Pitt is losing Chip Kelly here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right TB - if Pitt really wanted to, we could do SO much better than Chryst.

      I don't see anyway that we "would" go 5-8 next year with the type of offensive talent that we have returning but, I also thought that we 'might" win 10 this year.

      This next hire will show the commitment Gallagher is willing to put forth toward a successful FB program.

      If they hire Rudolph?

      God help all Pitt fans - that would be an absolute disaster and would seal the fate of this program for many years to come.

      I ~can understand why Pelini and Bradley may not be considered - all high and mighty Pitt might not want such scandalous picks.

      If that's the case, go the hell after Narduzzi (Herman if still available) and Fuente hard.

      My #1 choice would be Pelini though - I just don't think it's possible with our current AD but:

      1) - no buyout
      2) - knows defense as he was the DC at LSU for years.
      3) - head coaching experience and for God's sake, 67-27 at Nebraska.

      IF they DO go Pelini - it will clearly show that Pederson is absolutely a lame duck AD as his ego would NEVER allow him to eat crow.

      Delete
  65. Great job Chris. What are your thoughts on KC Keeler? Did a good job at U of D, then unceremoniously canned, now he has Sam Houston in the playoffs?

    ReplyDelete
  66. Moody I just don't under stand your choices of coaches. For one Pelini would never fit in at pitt he a ass and what is up with the man love with Bradley ?

    ReplyDelete
  67. Chryst meeting with the Chancellor alone and then not meeting with the AD in person until a day or two later seem strange to anyone else? Aside from the message it appears to send to the AD, it also appears that the new Chancellor takes Pitt football and its improvement seriously. If Chryst does leave, it will be interesting to see if the new hire is line with our previous AD's hires or if it is a more aggressive hire.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Chris,

    Is there anything to the rumblings that if certain conditions are met, Chryst stays?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know it's really hilarious reading the comments here because no one knows what the hell is going on.

      Chryst is gone, it's his dream job, he played football there, just think Chryst is kinda of like Wanny, coming home to his roots.

      Pitt can't fire or dismiss him because they will have to eat his contract and per law Wisconsin cannot formally offer him the job during the dead period therefore we are in limbo.

      Face it Chryst inherited a mediocre program and continued the mediocrity he is not a good game day coach or recruiter.

      If Joe Rudolf gets the head coaching job it's another cheap way out for Pitt.

      Pitt should go out and hire the best candidate available period.

      Delete
    2. Don't get your hopes up. PC has already signed the contract. He can't get announced as Wisconsin's head coach until December 17

      Delete
    3. Look at it this way.
      Pitt gets rid of Chryst a year earlier than planned.
      Pitt gets rid of all the assistants, especially House.
      Pitt gets a bag full of money for the buyout.

      What could be better than that?

      Delete
  69. If Cristobal could bring a 1/3 of the swagger to PITT that his famed "U" team had when he was a player things would begin tio heat up in Western PA. Swagger thuggish football is what's needed to wake up this pathetic program. Cristobal and his teammates made an art of disregarding the old fools in the Miami Athletic Department and marched to the beat of their own drum. Put a perimeter fence around western PA and the city league and unleash a new "U" 1,000 miles to the northeast.

    ReplyDelete

  70. Cristobal is far OVER-rated as a Head Coach. A lot of Sizzle... little Steak.

    In my humble opinion.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah those Miami National Championship teams he played on were way overrated as well as his record as a head coach. NOT.

      Delete

    2. Anonymous... you know me and Miami.

      PittofDreams

      Delete
  71. Here is what i would do. A top list 1. Dennis Erickson 2. Houston Nutt 3. Mack Brown..... Dark Horses 1. Nick Rapone he is the defensive back coach for the Arizona Cardinals and is a Western PA guy born and raised in New Castle PA. 2. Tony Siragusa 3. Joey Porter .... But come on send a message hire a winner i think Houston Nutt would be great

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  72. I truly regret wasting the time I did reading through some of this malarkey. At least no one mentioned Palko or Cherpak. If they havent at least send some back channel feelers out to a minimum of 5-7 candidate smiley should be made to walk a plank off the top of the cathedral. We should here at least 2 names surface by weds night.

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  73. We want Terry Smity

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  74. Chris, would Feremtz from Iowa ever consider coming home and Coaching the Panthers?

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    Replies
    1. Ferentz isn't worth $3.5 million per year he is getting at Iowa!!

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  75. Teryl Austin already declined the job.

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    Replies
    1. He didn't decline it. He just said he didn't want it. As I suspected he wants to stay in the NFL at this point.

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    2. Pitt waited too late with Austin

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  76. I finally had a chance to catch up on the Trib’s articles, and found it interesting that HCPC has reportedly presented Pitt with a list of things he wants changed so he’ll agree to stay. Without knowing his list, I can’t say if it’s legit or hubris (there are more leaks out of the CIA than from Pitt’s athletic department...).

    However, as long as we’re making lists and giving ultimatums, I have my own proposed list of things which (I suspect) Panther Nation wants to see changed before we should agree that we even want him to stay:

    1. No more annual [crap]-the-bed home losses to schools like Y-State and Akron, where he didn’t have his team ready to play.

    2. No more losses via utter head-coach brain-farts, such as Navy last year and Duke this year.

    3. How about showing some passion in recruiting. And while we’re at it, when your team gets jobbed on a terrible call, how ‘bout giving the refs a red-faced earful so it doesn’t keep happening.

    4. No more crony hires, unless it’s to hire a buddy who also happens to be a good coach and recruiter. And while we’re at it, there are coupla past mistakes (House and Breckterfield to name two) that need to be corrected.

    5. Because he’s the face of the university on autumn Saturdays: How ‘bout upgrading the game-day wardrobe a little? Chryst look like a bum on the sideline. He wouldn’t even be allowed to wear those collarless sweatshirts on a municipal golf course, let alone on the sideline of a Power-5 Conference team. HCPC, image matters, so let’s look like you give a [crap].

    I’m sure there are some other items that I forgot to list.

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  77. Tom Herman next Houston HC per FootballScoop.com

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  78. PJ Fleck: http://michiganstate.247sports.com/Board/93/Contents/Any-WMU-insiders-lurking-on-this-board-PJ-Fleck-rumor-31706780

    After the Haywood debacle, I think we can safely remove his name from any potential Pitt coaching lists. Fair or not.

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    Replies
    1. I'm well aware of that rumor but it's only on that board. Western Michigan extended them after that so it's probably a bunch of b.s.

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  79. Please, no Lane Kiffin. First of all, he would not take it. He's aiming much higher. Secondly, Pitt is still trying to get rid of the stench left by the scumbag 3 years ago. Why would they want that again?

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    Replies
    1. I don't think Lane will ever be a head coach again.

      He screwed Tennessee, failed big time at USC and Oakland. He really hasn't demonstrated much as a HC.

      On the other hand how long will it take Pitt to name a new head coach after Chryst bails this Wednesday ?

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  80. Chris,

    Saw your tweet about McNicholson and Henry. Those were 2 players Chryst absolutely had to get. You can lump Whitehead in that mix as well.

    Impact WPIAL players during Chryst tenure:
    Whitehead - yes
    Foster - no
    Shell (transferred)
    McNicholson - no
    Henry - no
    D. Johnson - yes
    Boyd - yes
    Krugler - no
    Jenkins - no

    That's 44% success rate in the WPIAL, but lowers if you exclude Shell. Is that good enough?

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    Replies
    1. I agree with your point, but sterling Jenkins didn't even make all conference honors. He has the size but his senior performance seems to validate the feeling that Chryst and Huber were not that impressed.

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    2. My son played against Jenkins - he was an undersized DE at 5'11 210lbs - and wore Jenkins out - and my son wasn't an all conference performer either - my son was just a tough cookie - f my son could do that, I assure you Jenkins is no loss. He is soft like marshmallow.


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  81. Finally some smoke signals out of the Texas press conference - courtesy of Will graves from the AP

    If you're keeping track, Paul Chryst was given another opportunity to say he's staying at Pitt long-term, and chose not to do so.

    Chryst today in Ft Worth: "I told them that I received a call. I talked to them and right now, I'm excited to be back with (Pitt)."

    Chryst: "I was told nothing will happen before (Wed). I don't know and I don't know what (Wisc.) thinking specifically."

    Chryst said he was honest with recruits/team, says players understand ties to Wisc. Again, he declined to say he was sticking long-term

    Pitt held hostage day 4 update

    two days to go til we are free of this mess. Now Gallagher has to get the new hire right - and that is not hiring unqualified Rudolph

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  82. Bo Pelini - hands down the best candidate, but probably doesn't want to coach at Pitt, he can easily sit this year out, and his antics don't fit Pitt at all.

    Greg Schiano - having sat our last year, he's got to get back in the game somewhere this season. But, his friendship with Wanny makes it unlikely.

    Matt Campbell - Doing a good job at Toledo, 3 years on the job and he's got a way better record than Chrsyt. Solid recruiter. Young, but not impossibly so.

    Justin Fuente - Just like Chris says. But, I am less enamored with him as he's a spread guy with Big 12 ties. I'm not sure it makes sense for either of us.

    Pete Lembo - He wins everywhere he goes. He has had little bowl/fcs playoff success though.

    Chuck Martin - Probably a year or two too soon. But, he won back to back D2 National Titles at Grand Valley after Brian Kelly left, put up ridiculous win totals, and then lost the Title game in 2009 before moving up. He was OC for Notre Dame in 2012 when they went to the BCS Title game. He's only had 1 year at Miami and went 2-10. But, he'll be a good coach.

    Brent Venables - I'm surprised he didn't make your list. Pretty impressive resume. He's the only candidate with any ACC or southeastern ties that's even a rumor, which I find interesting. People are always talking about recruiting the ACC footprint. But like all long time Coordinators who have been passed over time and again, I wonder about him.

    Pat Narduzzi - See my last sentence on Venables. But his Ohio ties make him very attractive from a recruiting perspective.

    Brady Hoke - He's got a long history and all, but really, he's only been successful in 3 seasons. His 6th at Ball State, his second at San Diego State, and his first at U of M.

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    Replies
    1. Venables isn't on the list because he's had chances before but didn't take them. I doubt that Pitt would be the one that would make him jump.

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    2. That makes sense to me. I figured there must be something.

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  83. One thing I would love, while having no knowledge how this process will play out, is if Pitt would fork over the money to get Randy Shannon as DC. Obviously the HC would make the choice, but no matter how this unfolds his ability to recruit combined with his coaching ability would be tremendous. If you combine him with Jeff Hafley as whatever position coach, Pitt could approach juggernaut status in recruiting.

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  84. When Chryst departs on Wednesday, how quickly should Pitt have a new coach in place? I say no later than Friday evening.

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    Replies
    1. Steve Pederson may declare himself head coach and the proceed to forfeit the 2015-16 season.

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    2. As soon as Gallagher is done thanking Chryst for his time and efforts as Pitt coach, he should then say, "...and at this time I would like to introduce our new coach __________." The new coach should then appear at the podium as he elbows Chryst out of the way to introduce himself.

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  85. I suspect it'll take a week at minimum. It shouldn't, but it will. Christmas eve probably.

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    Replies
    1. Probably no new coach until mid-January--A search committee will be formed and it will diddle while recruits decommit. Then a spread guy who will blow up what Chryst has started will be announced. Then we will go 3 years without a bowl. This is what I expect and fear given the track record of our AD.

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  86. Chris,
    well written & very informative!

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  87. I think that Chryst really wants to stay at Pitt. The big announcement on Wednesday will be that he is staying and that Smiley has been fired. We then find out that Chryst's condition he shared with Gallagher last week in order to remain our coach was that he wants Smiley replaced with Barry Alvarez as our new AD. Barry Alvarez then takes over officially as our AD...heck he has been running Pitt's football program from Wisconsin for the last three years anyway. Why not get paid for it? Maybe Barry thinks that we will build a statue at Pitt for him someday like they did at cheesehead university.

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    Replies
    1. ^
      Nice but with our luck Stevie P promotes Matt House !

      Delete

  88. Anonymous... I hope you're right.

    But I'm afraid the Pitt Football Program is about to be launched into the Abyss! In that case, I surely hope that I am wrong.

    PittofDreams

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  89. Uggg - may take another day. Damn Wisconsin:

    UW officials are accepting applications until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. A new head coach could be introduced as early as Thursday. (per the Wisky reporter who broke the story)

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  90. I've read that the press conference is taking place at 4:30 central time several places. I think it's likely we get announcement once they've closed the applications process.

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  91. Dokes, looks like Rudolph and House is headed to Wisky with Chryst. If that's actually the case, who coaches Pitt through the bowl game?

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    Replies
    1. The contracts for assistants will be through the bowl game. Technically so is Chryst's but they usually just toss the head coach immediately.

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    2. Would Pitt ask Chryst to stay through the bowl game or just not to announce the assistants he's taking before then? It's only 2 weeks away . . . . plus he stayed as a WI OC for the Rose Bowl when he had a HC job waiting at Pitt.

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  92. If Chryst has already been offered and knows he is taking the job would he have any downside to being a gentleman and resigning before Wednesday so Pitt could officially be in hire mode? Someone had mentioned this in a post earlier. Or maybe it really wouldn't matter, wheels are turning anyway...?

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  93. Pelini is YSU's new coach. Hope they don't play Pitt.

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  94. Wisconsin mandates that State job openings cannot be filled for 7 days. If Chryst acknowledge that he has been offered the job, Barry Alverez would be violating State law.

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  95. "Despite the on-field difficulties in 2013, Fleck and his staff succeeded off the field by signing a highly-ranked recruiting class. Observers noted that it was possibly the best recruiting class in WMU history, and the best in the MAC since 2000.[23][24] Rivals.com had the WMU class ranked highest among "mid-major" programs for 2014, with 247Sports.com ranking the class 36th-best nationally for 2015.[25]"

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  96. You care enough to be negative and comment without even looking at the schedule??? So very typical

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  97. Pitt will open the season Sept. 5, 2015, at home against Youngstown State

    Uh oh!!!

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  98. Again............. Cristobal is the guy. I think Pitt would get a solid 5 years out of him and his recruiting the young guys would be a big plus. If it was done in Miami it can be done at Pitt, but you need a guy with vision and who is willing to pound the cold PA pavement and sell the program. Accountability and a kick ass attitude is what Pitt players need. When I hear names like Pelini, Kiffin and other re-treads i almost laugh, no check that, I do laugh :)

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    Replies
    1. Watch Pitt hire him and next year Golden gets fired......and he goes to Miami.

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  99. Does anyone have an email address for Chancellor Gallagher?

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  100. Chris

    Won't Pitt have a press conference to announce Chryst resignation today?

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  101. Pederson OUT !!!! OFFICIAL

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