A Scorecard of Pitt Blather / Pitt POV Opinions

A Scorecard of Pitt Blather / Pitt POV Opinions

Here is a submission by longtime reader and commenter Wbb

Which has experienced the more turbulent decade …. the 1960s’ United States of America or 2010s’ University of Pittsburgh Athletics?  Yes, you can deem this as a ridiculous analogy but the point is that the current decade for Pitt football and men’s basketball has been a total train wreck – and especially when you realize that in the calendar year of 2009, the Panthers basketball team was just two points shy of reaching the Final 4 and the football team was a point away from a BCS Bowl.  And both were ranked in the Top 10 during the season.

Now that the possibility exists of yet another head coaching change which is almost universally endorsed by us experts here on PittPOV (me included), I thought maybe we should look in the mirror as to how we judged the multiple hiring / firings that have occurred this decade.    Note that I am including  Pitt Blather in this analysis since Reed began there and brought many of us posters here a couple of years ago.

The following is a chronological listing of the hirings and firings along with the general consensus of the Blather / POV posters:

2010 – Wannstedt fired:  largely approved

2011 –  Graham hired:  almost universally approved

2012 – Chryst hired:  mixed but mostly approved

2015 – Pederson fired: largely approved

2015 – Narduzzi hired:  mostly approved

2015 – Barnes hired:  mixed

2016 – Dixon fired:  mostly approved

2016 – Stallings hired:  largely disapproved

2017 – Lyke hired:  mixed but mostly disapproved

A few notes on the above:    

Our approval of Wanny’s firing listed above had very little to do with the off-field issues since nothing was known of the Sports Illustrated article at the time.   Instead his firing was endorsed by media members Starkey (then at the Trib) and Cook (PG) plus blogger Rich and Dokish, and it was mostly due to the failure of winning the Big East title outright and reaching a BCS Bowl.  And for the most part, Pitt Blatherites agreed.   

As such, Pederson was viewed upon then as very favorable, an opinion that of course would drastically change over the next two years.  I did not include the Haywood hiring / firing fiasco since it was just a two-week ordeal, but this event did begin the suspicion of Pederson of being a less than stellar AD.

The Chryst hiring was done by committee which was looked upon as favorable.  Also, despite the fact that he had no head coaching experience, he appeared to be the anti-Fraud … both in personality and the offensive style of football.  As such, he was looked upon as a stabilizer.  And when an opening at his alma mater came about after his first year,  it only enhanced the stabilizing image when the Wisconsin AD assured all that he would not consider PC for the opening.

Narduzzi came at a time of great hope.  A new chancellor had just arrived who gave the impression that he would upgrade the athletic department.  He was lauded for immediately dismissing the AD who appeared to put himself above the needs of the athletic department.  Like his predecessor, Narduzzi had no prior head coaching experience and was an accomplished coordinator.  And immediately winning eight regular season games after four straight six-win seasons would only enhance the optimism.

Barnes was not a splash hire but he did have an accomplished resume as an AD at Utah State.  Little did we know what was to come.

Dixon of course was the most accomplished coach in Pitt BB history and turned down a handful of job offers during his stay at Pitt (most notably Arizona State and Oregon.)   

Nonetheless, the transition from the Big East to the ACC had a negative effect on his program.  You may remember that he strongly advocated Pitt staying in the Big East back when Pitt was rumored as a candidate to join both the Big 10. And while he continued to produce winners (21-12 in his final year) which reached the NCAA tournament, it was obvious that his teams were trending downward.   Thus, the feeling became thank you for all that you have done but it’s time to move on.

The Stallings’ hiring was a disaster from Day One.   Not only did we feel that way, so did the local and national media.  Only the AD and a naïve, trusting chancellor approved of the hiring.   Yes, supportive sites such as PSN and Dokish twitter approved as they mostly do, but my bet is that they even disapproved but tried to make the best of it.   The sad fact is that the Pitt basketball head coaching position was so much more attractive then, just two short years ago, than it is now.

(For what it’s worth, I generally agreed with the consensus of all of the above except for Wanny’s firing and Graham’s hiring, and this is well documented in the Pitt Blather archives if you care to check.)

Summary

When I began this article I thought that with all of the pontificating on this site, I would prove that we really did not know anything more than the administrators who did the hiring and firing.  However, after review, maybe we do.   Of course, what we really do not know is what the financial restrictions are, and we also do not know for sure just how many and what candidates were interested when our openings for coaches and ADs became available.