Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home4/derok6/public_html/pittscriptblog/components/com_sh404sef/shInit.php on line 37
The Pitt Script Blog - A Pittsburgh Panthers Blog | Page 66

Written by PSB Bryan | 05 January 2011


Light it up.  WTAE is among the local news sources reporting that Tom Bradley will be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers.

I'll be updating this page as the night goes on.  So if anything else pops, up post it in the comments or tweet me.

If true, welcome Coach Bradley.  Hail to Pitt.

UPDATE 1: Some cold water has been tossed on the WTAE report.  First, Paul Zeise has this to say:

Tom Bradley has now been classified as a "very strong" candidate by a couple of sources who made it clear he has not yet been offered the job.

I repeat, he has not yet been offered the job.

One person with knowledge of the situation said things could be headed in that direction at some point as the university would like to get this search wrapped up by the weekend but also said that Steve Pederson would be talking to at least two other coaches and might have even already talked to one of them today.

Now, that was at 6:49 p.m., and the way this past week has been, two hours is a long time ago.  Then again, Zeise is probably the most connected reporter into the program so his word carries a lot of weight.  But then again (again), he's in Birmingham.

The rumor/news site CollegeFootballTalk.com is running with the WTAE report, while FootballRumorMill.com says that it's "premature" and that Tulsa's Todd Graham is set to interview for the job.  Around and around we go.

But to hell with reporting, Bradley's Wikipedia page lists him as the head coach of Pitt.  Must be true!

UPDATE 2: Pitt has put out an official denial.  Is this "Russ Grimm to coach Steelers" or "Pitt to Big 10," we shall see.  But this seems to have building over the past few days.  Where is Tim Russert with his white board when you need him?


UPDATE 3: Tom Bradley has sent text messages to Penn State players indicating that he likely will be the head coach of the Pitt Panthers.  The text, per PennLive.com:

"Love you kids. Going to miss you. Wish I could take you with me. Anything I can do for you, let me know."

I'm sold.  Welcome Coach Bradley.

UPDATE 4: And Florida goes BACK to George W. Bush! Er, wait, wrong mess.  The PennLive reporter from the above update is now RETRACTING his story about the text messages:

A previous report I made that Tom Bradley texted players that he had been offered the Pitt job is erroneous. PSU sources indicating as much proved to be unfounded. I am responsible and I profoundly regret this error.

Journalism is dead.

UPDATE 5: Tonight's final update, courtesy of Penn State linebacker Nate Stupar:


I have a strict no tweeting college athletes policy - it just crosses a line for me personally - but the above tweet is being widely used as a source, so I feel somewhat compelled to share it.

With that, I'm off for the night.  Absolutely insane night.

no comments

Written by PSB Bryan | 05 January 2011

Really wanted to focus on basketball this morning after Pitt's dramatic 83-79 game in Providence, but the football coaching search continues to suck out all of the oxygen in the room - just like smoke.  According to Chris Peak:


Very interesting to say the least.  Paul Zeise confirms that contact has been made between Brandley and Chancellor Nordenberg, which certainly says a lot about the role Steve Pederson is having in this whole thing.  Interestingly, Zeise believes that former Florida defensive coordinator and "Pitt guy" Terryl Austin could hold that position in a Bradley regime at Pitt.  I've always just assumed that he would bring Larry Johnson Sr. or Ron Vanderlinden (or both) along for a defensive coordinator / assistant head coach role, but I would be very, very happy with Austin as well.

The local pundits, while they've always been in Bradley's corner, have really come out swinging in favor of the Penn State.  Ron Cook's column this morning lays out the case for Bradley, while Smizek boldly states "Bradley should be the one."  I've been an unabashed Bradley supporter and sadly, I find myself agreeing with Ron Cook for today.  Tomorrow is another day, Cookie....

Penn State fans - or at least the very vocal bunch who comment on the internet - are mixed.  Some with take a  "I wish him the well, we'll be fine without him" approach, while others believe the sky is falling around them.  A third group seems to even want him out.  In other words, they're about as split as Pitt fans on whether they want him or not.

There are some names that can probably be eliminated, however.  The first is Kevin Sumlin, who informed Houston's Rivals site that he declined to speak with Pitt.  The other is Tulsa's Todd Graham, who made statements indicating that it would sure take a lot to get him from Tulsa right now (h/t PittBlather).  Of course, if Pitt would make him a big offer, I'm sure that would change, but I wonder if Pitt able/willing to do so.

But for right now, I think the working assumption seems to be that Tom Bradley will be the next head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers.  Of course, we said that about Dana Holgorsen too....

no comments

Written by PSB Bryan | 03 January 2011

Screen_shot_2011-01-03_at_6.59.06_PMDave Wannstedt gave his final, emotional, press conference today in the South Side.  Wannstedt announced he would not coach Pitt's the bowl game, despite apparently being heavily involved in the preperation.  Phil Bennett - the most likely coach to have been fired just a month ago - is now the interim head coach.  I'm completely ambivalent about Wannstedt coaching or not.  It would have been an interesting storyline, but that's about it.  So just like that, the Dave Wannstedt era at Pitt is officially over. at 42-31  This game probably has less intrigue than the spring game, and I think it will be treated like such by the local and national media. 

Another coach who won't be making the trip will be Frank Cignetti, who is officially now the offensive coordinator of Rutgers.  I had hoped that Cignetti would find a job quickly, although going to a conference rival isn't what I had in mind.  This has the potential to make the 2011 recruiting disaster a catasptrophy if Cignetti and Hafley are able to bring some of Pitt's higher rated recruits along for the ride.  It's one thing for these guys to Penn State or Maryland, but quite another thing for them to stay in the Big East.  This could get very, very bad.

But coaches (and fans) aren't the only ones to not heading down to Birmingham.  The conference defensive player of the year will also sit this one out with an elbow injury that required surgery.  From Wannstedt's comments, Sheard's injury was something he could have played with, but at this point, why would he care?  Sheard has to get healthy for the NFL Combine, which at this point is light years more important than the Compass Bowl.

His partner on the offensive line, Myles Caragein will also sit out the game due to injury.  That likely means the D-line will likely be Brandon Lindsey, Tyrone Ezell, Chas Alecxih and Hargrove/Clemmings/Murphy (I'd even expect to see some Nate Nix in the rotation as this will be his last game).

Who's excited now?

no comments

Written by PSB Bryan | 02 January 2011

If you had Houston's Kevin Sumlin as the next Pitt head coach in your hastily organized office pool, Chris Peak has some bad news for you:


His quote is even more telling:

"I have no interest in the Pitt coaching vacancy," said Sumlin. "As a matter of fact I denied their request for me to speak with them about the vacancy the first time around and nothing has changed for me."

Ugh.  That generally jives with a Pete Thamel New York Times report that Sumlin along with Tulsa's Todd Graham and Iowa State's Paul Rhodes refused to even talk to Pitt.

So that's one down.  Two more you can eliminate from contention: Marvin Lewis and Rich Rodriquez.  The Rodriquez thing should be pretty obvious: despite leading the most prominent brand in football, his only success was to land the Wolverines on NCAA probation.  There is no reason to believe he would do any better at Pitt.

Marvin Lewis is Dave Wannstedt.  Hiring him is an implicit admission that Pitt screwed up by firing Wannstedt.  I am also presuming the story that he is on Pitt's short list is complete bullshit.  Lombardi's source is a "league source," not a "Pitt source."  My suspicion is that those associated with Marvin Lewis wanted to float Lewis' name to convey a not-so-subtle message that he is interested in the job when he canned at Cincinnati on Monday.  Count me in the thanks-but-no-thanks camp.

At least there are a few good jokes out there.  The operator of a fake Twitter account for former Kansas State Head Coach Ron Prince has expressed interest on his behalf.

I really needed the laugh.

no comments

Written by PSB Bryan | 02 January 2011

So did I miss anything this weekend?  Oh...No...

The University of Pittsburgh fired Coach Mike Haywood on Saturday in the wake of his arrest on a charge of domestic battery in Indiana against the mother of his child. Pittsburgh hired Haywood, who was the coach at Miami (Ohio), on Dec. 16 to replace Dave Wannstedt.

Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said in a statement that the decision “reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances.” The university said that Haywood had been informed of the decision Saturday afternoon.

Adios, Coach.  I'm not going to pile on Haywood, so I'll merely say this: maybe there is more to this, maybe there isn't.  But if you're in a position of leadership, one in which you ask mothers and fathers to entrust their teenage sons to you, you can't be in these situations.  You just can't.  The moment the police were called was the moment his days as the head coach of Pitt were over (all 16 of them).

So where do we go from here?

Back to square one, apparently.  Chancellor Nordenberg issued a statement indicating that a swift, but more through coaching search would be conducted.  When Haywood was introduced, Pederson said that only those with head coaching experience were considered.  That seems to no longer be the case. I think that can only be read to mean coordinators will be fair game as well.

Secondly, that the statement came from Nordenberg and not Pederson.  That seems to be an issue of some debate.  At the very least, it appears that powers above Pederson's head are planning on being a bit more active in the coaching search this time around.  Assuming no one could have predicted this from Haywood - presumably he passed through background checks - the blame for this incident falls on Haywood alone.  Pederson has earned his share of criticism over the years but unless something turned up serious red flags on Haywood, I'm having a hard time blaming him.  As Ron Cook points out, however, the rope is getting much, much shorter.

The next hire has to make a splash.  The name being thrown around a lot right now is Penn State's Tom Bradley.  Pederson even told Paul Zeise that if they look at coordinators, Bradley is "a very attractive candidate."  Just as I was the first time, I'm all aboard the Bradley train.  Pitt didn't need a complete overhaul when they fired Wannstedt.  Last season, Pitt had a solid, albeit inexperienced, team that was in need of just a bit more in terms of coaching and management.  It's not time to burn the whole thing down and start over.  A Bradley hire will instantly be a hit with the media folks and the recruits who watch/read/listen to them.

Bradley has also been endorsed for the job by Paterno.  Of course, there's a cynical way to view that:


no comments

Written by PSB Bryan | 29 December 2010

It hasn't happened much during his career at Pitt, but Nasir Robinson is finally getting some love:

The 6-foot-5 Robinson, who started all 34 games last season, wasted no time making an impact, recording his fourth career double-double in Pitt's 78-63 victory over No. 4 Connecticut on Monday night.


Robinson, who had knee surgery in late October and missed three games, posted 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while playing a season-high 31 minutes, as Pitt won its fourth in a row against the Huskies.


"It gave me a lot of confidence" Robinson said. "I went hard in practice, and it worked out. It really didn't matter (who started). I just wanted to come out and play my game."

The shuffling of the lineup was more about Robinson's consistent play than any indictment on 6-9 redshirt freshman Talib Zanna, who had started the first 13 games of the season. But since a 14-point, 12-rebound performance against Maryland at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 18, Zanna hasn't had more than seven points or six rebounds.

A 11-10-4 night will certainly earn you some ink.  I'd disagree that Nasir's starting role is independent of Zanna's cooling off, but overall a majority of the credit has to go to Nasir.  From the moment he stepped on the floor for the first time this season against Maryland at Madison Square Garden, he's been very good - especially defensively.  Adding double-digit offense and rebounds at the power forward spot is certainly more than Pitt's gotten out of that position in some time.

no comments


Written by PSB Bryan | 28 December 2010


8-0.  That's Pitt's record against top-5 teams all time at the Peterson Event Center. That three of those have now come against UConn is a testament to the victors of course, but also to a UConn program that has quickly ascended into college basketball royalty.  But  then again, it's even more a testament to Jamie Dixon as he earned win number 201 with a dominating win over #4 UConn.

no comments


Written by PSB Bryan | 27 December 2010


#6 Pittsburgh
RealTime RPI: 15



 # 4 Kemba Walker
RealTime RPI: 7

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8:30 p.m. EST
TV: ESPN2, ESPN3.com
Radio: 93.7 The Fan

Game Day Stories:

Hail to Pitt.

no comments

Written by PSB Bryan | 26 December 2010

Not a bad way to spend the holidays.  First, start off by winning your 200th game:

Dixon won No. 200 in his 255th career game. Only 12 other coaches in NCAA history have won 200 games in fewer opportunities. Pitt seniors Gary McGhee, Gilbert Brown and Brad Wanamaker presented Dixon with the game ball in the locker room after the game.

"That's the thing that means to the most to me," Dixon said. "They talked about the hard work and dedication. Of course, I corrected them and told them it was good players that is the most important thing. We're going to try to keep it going here. We're not going to change the philosophy. I want to rely on good players rather the coaching. We get the best players and win with the best players."

Of course, we know that Dixon has accomplished what he has by doing just preaching hardwork and defense.  And that led to winning a lot of games - often times with less talent than his opponent.  He did it only 8 seasons, a feat that ties him with Roy Williams and Mark Few.

And to top it off?  Be named the 2010 Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year:

But the 2009-10 Pitt basketball season will be remembered as one of the most memorable in school history. With four first-year starters and some unsung players, Dixon guided Pitt to 25 victories and finished tied for second in the Big East in a season many believed the Panthers would struggle to finish with a winning record.

For those accomplishments, Dixon has been named the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year for 2010.

"I know the list of guys who have won before," Dixon said. "I have great appreciation for the history of sports. As everyone knows, I'm a big fan of all of the Pittsburgh teams. This is quite an honor."

Congratulations, Coach.

no comments

Written by PSB Bryan | 22 December 2010

The hits just keep coming.  ESPN is reporting that Kyshoen Jarrett has decommitted from the Panthersand will now be... a Hokie.  Obviously nothing is official until he signs on the dotted line on National Letter of Intent Day, but this recruiting class is quickly turning into a lost cause.

On the glass is half full side, at least two of Pitt's four-star Rivals guys, Marquese Wright and Terrell Chestnut are still listed as committed.  But if this keeps up, we're looking at a very depressing Feb. 2nd. 

From August: At Last, Depth

UPDATE: And the hits keep coming and coming and coming.  Four-star running back Jameel Poteat has decommitted from Pitt and committed to Cincinnati.  Tough to lose a guy whose mentor proudly exclaims "Pitt Panthers!" whenever the Eagles are on Sunday Night Football.  Particularly damaging is this is a guy from Bishop McDevitt - a huge football school in Harrisburg.  Disheartening, although unless Dion Lewis were to leave for the NFL this offseason, he'd likely be buried on the depth chart for at least a year.  Certainly not the end of the world, but if he wants to play right away, Pitt isn't likely a good choice for him.  A tough loss regardles.

no comments