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.   

 

167 thoughts on “A Scorecard of Pitt Blather / Pitt POV Opinions

  1. to clarify … the paragraph that begins ‘The approval of Wanny’s firing ….’ should have read … “OUR approval of Wanny’s firing …”

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  2. I think how Wanny’s firing went down was generally not approved and how he handled it was not professional. Fraud’s leaving was absurd and comical The Hayward hiring exposed some very bad things in the hiring process and general incompetence in the department. Chryst was brought in based on Barry’s huge endorsement and the start of these ‘search committees’. Narduzzi was hired because he was cheap. Dixon was pushed out because like Wanny he had plateaued (although Wanny had no excuse not to win a very weak Big East). KS was brought in and it completes the merrygoround. Our recent AD’s have not been very good to say the least but jury still out on Heather. I’m just looking for a pattern here.

    The hiring process is terrible. The hires either come cheap and lack the experience or do have the experience and are terrible fits who leave Pitt after burning it to the ground. The whole damn athletic department should be outsourced to Ohio State.

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    1. It seemed like 50-50 or maybe 60-40 to me with Emel voicing the most disapproval of the firing. He liked the fact that he’s a Pitt man with extensive experience who could recruit.

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  3. Wanny was a true threat to the power structure in the athletic department the two people who were also vying for power were dixon and smug steve. Dixon and Smug Steve were buddies along with Nordy and they laughed the whole way to bank. When steve left Dixons times were numbered and on and on.

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  4. The unabashed debacles of the athletic department represent an unsightly gash on the university’s image, and yet the BOT seem not to care.
    The sheer ineptitude and flagrant waste of money is inexcusable.
    How can they beg the Commonwealth for money given these dreadful mistakes?
    Losing records is one thing; atrocious, embarrassing hires and the profound loss of income is something else.
    Who can possibly donate money to Pitt when they waste it this way ?

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  5. Now in my opinion make no bones about it this athletic department answers to pat narduzzi money is being shifted away from basketball and funnel ed to football. I’m OK with that I just wish peterson and Nordy would have seen it that way. I like the basketball team as well but I would rather get acc champ in football than basketball. People seem to look past the fact that the basketball program was striped to benefit football get the football money ruling than rebuild basketball.

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    1. I can recall late last decade when the complete opposite was true. The FB recruiting budget was slashed and was mostly funneled to BB. Of course, at that time, Pitt BB was a constant fixture in Top 20 and NCAA Tourney.

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  6. If Pitt really wanted athletics to be the front porch and not the freaking out house, the above list of crappy decision would not have occurred.

    Reed is correct, Pitt wants to be a leading educational/research university, not a sports powerhouse.

    That being said, with any kind of leadership, Pitt should be good at one sport. Other universities do pull it off and still keep a great reputation for education. Duke, Stanford, etc.

    I have no reason to believe they are willing to hire a new basketball coach that the fans will get excited about.

    Zero chance it happens. They will not spend the money it would take.

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  7. Actually Dokish said that he was done with Pitt basketball after the Stallings announcement. Then he had a significant change of heart.

    My take on the above hirings/firings as I recall at the time:

    I was sad about Wannstedt’s firing but I clearly recall leaving Heinz after the bad WVU loss that year and commenting to the people with me that I didn’t see how he would keep his job.

    I hated the Fraud hire from day one and couldn’t believe that people bought that act.

    I liked the Chryst hire. I was happy that Pitt might actually have a strong, ball control offense again after Fraud.

    I was mixed about Pederson. I thought he had done good things for the university at a facilities level and certainly elevated the basketball program. However I did meet him a couple of times and saw a certain awkwardness about him. He definitely bungled the Wannstedt firing and coaching changes thereafter. I also didn’t understand the reluctance to return the script since so many seemed so invested in it.

    I liked the Narduzzi hire. I was happy that Pitt might actually have a dominating defense to go with the ball control offense that Chryst had implemented. Seemed like a perfect match.

    I was largely ambivalent about Barnes. He seemed like a typical Pitt hire. However that quickly soured when reports began about him taking particular interest in basketball. It’s surely part of his job, but he seemed to be taking great pride in his “chats” with Dixon. I was also highly skeptical of his fan committee. It seemed like window dressing. Same with his grand plan and big announcement.

    I was very sorry to see Dixon go. Interesting that you cast his departure as a firing? I was upset with Dixon about his chosen rotation for the Wisconsin tournament game, but still felt he was a very good coach and terrific representative of the university. I wanted to say “committed” but that intention could be misconstrued since he left. I also stick by my contention that it wasn’t so much the ACC move that hurt Dixon, but rather the 2010-2012 recruiting classes. Only three guys (Cam Wright, James Robinson and Chris Jones) from those three classes remained with the program for their entire eligibility. The 2011 class was a complete bust. Heck Khem Birch didn’t even stay for a month and his reclassification cost Dixon another commit from a productive P6 player.

    I hated the Stallings hire. I didn’t think much of Stallings at Vanderbilt and was highly skeptical of his hiring at Pitt. I was still willing to renew my season tickets until the press conference. Barnes insulted me and many other fans and so I kept my money and instead watched from afar the collapse that I was confident would happen.

    I was ambivalent about Lyke. She seemed like a typical Pitt hire to me. I still haven’t seen any reason to think she isn’t capable but her first huge test will arrive in a couple of weeks.

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      1. Poor effort, or just too much speed on WVU?

        I always read the team quit on Dave that game yet the following week Pitt won at Cincinnati.

        Though the Bearcats stunk, Pitt has lost its fair share of games to much lesser opponents since the Foge days, so I never believed the team quit on the coaches.

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        1. Wannstedt was FAR more liked by his players than Narduzzi is by his.. I’m not saying that necessarily matters but you can put that, “the team quit on Wanny” bull$H!t to bed. It’s just not true.When Wannstedt left, I remember DOZENS of players attending that press conference. You wouldn’t see that if Narduzzi was fired. I believe Mr. Kohberger’s sources would confirm that.

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      2. Pitt was really competitive in the first half of that game. I recall a tipped or otherwise bungled Tino pass in WVU territory leading to WVU’s first touchdown. I seem to recall Ray Graham mishandled it. In any event Pitt came back to tie. Pitt was driving for the lead when Dion Lewis fumbled deep in WVU territory. Pitt got the ball back and then Graham also fumbled. WVU turned that into a TD on a deep pass just before the half.

        Pitt was just completely out of it in the second half.

        That was a major bummer. I still wanted Wanny but figured the writing was on the wall after blowing the UConn game.

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  8. I really haven’t weighed in on the hires, but to the best of my recollection:

    1) Really didn’t think much of the Wanny hire. Thought even less when I spoke to one of his teammates. Really good guy, not much of a coach.
    2) The rather large M&M( which is what he reminded me of). What did they possibly see in that guy. Sure they were scrambling after the Freddy Kruger speech.
    3) Toddy boy. Anyone who talks that fast is trying to make sure you don’t hear what he’s really saying.
    4) Chryst, of all the hires I’m still conflicted on my feelings toward him. He always struck me as a decent man who was just somewhat socially awkward. That shouldn’t prejudice me on his coaching ability, but I don’t think he’s what I want in a head coach. I really liked the man, he’s someone I would like as a friend.
    5) The Duzz, well, I like most was very excited about the hire. Loved it, until I was some clips of his interviews at MSU. There was something about him I just couldn’t put my finger on that rubbed me the wrong way. Now, with hindsight I know it’s his snarkiest. That attitude works really well if you are successful, but can really hasten your departure if you’re not.
    6) The ADs. I lump them together as I have not been impressed with any of them. None of them inspired me to open my wallet, and isn’t that actually their most important job?? I am on record as saying I do not think Heather is up to the massive job, and I do mean massive job, of rebuilding the entire athletic program.

    Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

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  9. Good stuff wbb/wwb. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

    I do think you should have included Haywood in your timeline since it was the ultimate in turbulence and indicative of the poor hiring process and trying to do it on the cheap, which is a thread that runs throughout.

    Another theme not mentioned is the fact that Pitt Fans are never satisfied even when we are doing pretty well. The big criticism of Wanny was that he could not win the big ones, although 13-9 was a historic victory which I think saved his job. Dixon was harshly criticized for his Tournament record. Reasons that both departures were not lamented.

    Pitt fans always seem to think that the next guy will be “The Guy”.

    How lucky was Pitt, that they hired Dixon when Howland left? It really was the Golden Age of Pitt Basketball, the most sustained success ever for a Pitt team, since Pop Warner and Jock Sutherland. But somehow it was screwed up. We now have the worst team record ever in league play. It appears we will be on the bottom for some time.

    At least in football, we have not totally collapsed, but as Reed consistently points out (and me too) we will barely be better than mediocre, if we don’t recruit more elite players.

    Success always relies on elite players, and consistent leadership from coaching. Whether it was Blair/Young for Jamie, or Shady/Lewis/Graham for Wanny. You need stars to win games. When Conner, Peterman, Bizno and Johnson left we saw what happened.

    The turbulent years are not over for BBall, most of hope that Narduzzi is “The Guy” and recruiting will get better and we can have a solid, stable program.

    Unfortunately as History teaches us, the doubters have mostly been correct.

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    1. Just remember these two things

      Matt Cavanaugh was actually the first contact Steve P made contact with to replace Johnny Majors, but decided he wasn’t interested at the time. Not sure if anyone else was contacted before Walt was hired … Walt IMO was a pretty good hire.

      Skip Prosser, Wake Forest HC and area native, was contacted first to relace Howland.

      Occasionally .. but not often …. Pitt lucks out

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        1. Walt’s biggest mistake was keeping Tom Freeman around too long. Pitt always had marshmallow-soft lines under him with zero threat to run the ball some years. There was some bad luck with some linemen like Capizzi and Kiawantha Downey. Also, a kid who signed in 1997 and was booted and ended up plating well at Louisiana Tech. He was 6’4″ 335 pounds. I think his name was Pete Courney?

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      1. Not only was Prosser offered, but Dixon was left dangling for a couple weeks after that. It appeared to be a no brainer, yet Jeff Long was reportedly looking outside.

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  10. Certainly SOP has returned with a vengeance to the basketball program. Still hoping Narduzzi can keep it at bay. He has proven that he can win some big games. We need a couple more this year.

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  11. Oh, almost forgot comments on Dixon hiring. I did not like it. Thought it was the cheap and easy way out. This, if nothing else shows how wrong I can be. I would have gladly suffered a couple more down years with ?Jamie, because I felt he would again be successful here. He just needed a couple good recruiters, ( not BOT relatives) and go back to his roots. Our loss. Hope it doesn’t take 30 years for us to get the hire right, I don’t have that much time.

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    1. I think what sealed JD’s fate was his hiring of Smoke Williamson as his chief recruiter. Why he picked someone from the midwest instead of someone with ties to the southeast is beyond me.

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  12. Strong work wwb.

    Good comments as well.

    I believe that Lyke will fire KS in March. I will probably be wrong.

    The problem, as this article points out, will be who to hire. Has Lyke put out feelers to gauge interest from top candidates? Does she know BB? Does she have adequate help if she doesn’t?

    Hopefully she’s looking at some of the young, winning coaches from the likes of Butler, Xavier, Witchita St. and others that have had success recently.

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  13. The only way they should fire Stallings is if they have someone signed sealed and delivered first.

    Otherwise they risk total embarrassment when no one wants to come.

    This is the big test for Lyke. If she screws this up, she will never survive the fans wrath.

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  14. I wonder if his dad wants to coach

    Chris Dokish@ChrisDokish

    I mentioned last night that Pitt was looking at a few good big non-HS kids. One is 7’0” 240 pound Argentinian Francisco Caffaro, who visited Pitt last night. I’m told he’s probably a future NBA player.

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  15. here is an excerpt of article linked below about College BB infractions — even Duke?

    The documents tie some of the biggest names and programs in the sport to activity that appears to violate the NCAA’s amateurism rules. This could end up casting a pall over the NCAA tournament because of eligibility issues. There’s potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players at Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Alabama and a host of other schools. The documents link some of the sport’s biggest current stars – Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Duke’s Wendell Carter – to specific potential extra benefits for either the athletes or their family members. The amounts tied to players in the case range from basic meals to tens of thousands of dollars.

    https://sports.yahoo.com/exclusive-federal-documents-detail-sweeping-potential-ncaa-violations-involving-high-profile-players-schools-103338484.html

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  16. Quick preamble- Dokish has his moments but the opinions of Starkey, Cook and Rich have no credibility in my mind. Just my opinion on those three.

    2010 – Wannstedt fired: largely approved- Hated the firing. I still do. Wannstedt has game day issues, no questions there. But his recruiting was strong and his connections in FL would have paid even more dividends with the move to the ACC. If only he would have hired a special teams coach.. #TeamStache

    2011 – Graham hired: almost universally approved- Hated the hiring immediately. That press conference made me nauseated. Talk about betraying the school’s “mission.” No school has any integrity if they hire THAT clown. I watched the first half of his first game and walked out. I didn’t return to Heinz Field the rest of his tenure and wouldn’t have if he had stayed. Threw my season tickets in the trash.

    2012 – Chryst hired: mixed but mostly approved- Was and still am ambivalent. The guy brought stability and won some games.

    2015 – Pederson fired: largely approved- Yay!

    2015 – Narduzzi hired: mostly approved- Approved greatly at the time. I love the fire and thought it would translate into recruits and wins. Now, not so sure. Time will tell but I’m certainly not optimistic.

    2015 – Barnes hired: mixed- “Well, that’s a huge noggin. It’s a virtual planetoid. Has it’s own weather system.”- Stuart Mackenzie

    2016 – Dixon fired: mostly approved- Unsure at the time but was fine either way. He did a lot at Pitt but I think, like with Walt Harris, it was a case of “it’s just time to move on”.

    2016 – Stallings hired: largely disapproved- Are you kidding me? If I was a season ticket holder, they’d be in the trash with my 2011 football tickets.

    2017 – Lyke hired: mixed but mostly disapproved- Very disappointed but not surprised. I don’t dislike her, like some here, but I do get the feeling she isn’t what we need. I get the feeling she likes Pittsburgh and has accepted her role as the Administration and BOT has defined it. I don’t think she can or will push back in the manner necessary to fix our problems.

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  17. Good piece. My take is : most of us on this site have a vision of Pitt that exceeds reality. With each new fire/ hire our hope is renewed that this time our vision will be obtained. It is this hope that brings support for change( and keeps us eagerly reading this blog about fb even in Feb after only 5 wins. )

    For various reasons Stallings did not supply this hope from word go. The others represented hope and we were ok with the change.

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  18. As Reed has mentioned more than once, DW was fired for the state of the Program off of the field. Too many bad headlines and I also imagine the relationship between he and the AD had soured… PC ran a clean program, but had three straight 6-6 seasons and had he not moved on, he was in no danger of being fired for his “performance”…Running Dixon out of town was a dumb move that may take several more years to recover from.

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    1. And yet Paul Christ, I mean, Chryst, wanted to bring his QB recruit who beat and dragged his girlfriend by her hair to camp until Nordy and Smiley said no way.

      At least Dave got rid of the linebacker who hit his girlfriend in a matter seconds once charged, but it appears Paul was more worried about his QB depth.

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  19. wbb – great post. Thanks.

    I have already indicated that Barvo’s post lines up with most of my own, so won’t go through the whole list.

    I will say that the Stache needed to leave based on his gameday lapses. As a career DC, he always played not to lose. Did not like the Cavanaugh hire and thought if he would just leave Frank CIgnetti Jr. alone we’d have a better chance of winning. And lets face it, his entire head coaching career is one of not winning the big games.

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    1. If memory serves …. 3 candidates were interviewed in mid December 2004 for the FB HC position

      — Paul Roads, current DC

      — Matt Cavanaugh who was reportedly on his way out as Ravens’ DC

      — Wanny, who had quit as Dolphins’ HC under pressure mid-season

      Wanny was picked (probably based on HC experience) and he made the other 2 his coordinators

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  20. Reasons Wanny was fired … based on what I have read and been told, and speculation … in order of importance:

    1) Steve P wanted to get ahead of the SI issue to help fend off bad PR

    2) This would also put in an end to a big internal feud / power struggle between AD and HC, who thought FB program was underfunded

    3) Pitt became painfully close to winning BE 2 years in a row, and natives became very restless — thus, more fuel for his firing

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  21. In the camp of watch what you read and believe. Wanny was not fired for off the field issues (although there were plenty). That was the excuse of the month. He and Pederson were at odds and the power in the athletic department had started to swing with Wanny. TO Pederson, Wanny had to go. I didn’t like that firing, still don’t. Pederson was and still is a cancer. Wanny needed a bench coach to assist in gameday coaching, period. Why we didn’t do that is still a mystery.

    Narduzzi is running the show and Lyke is smart to play along. It helps her longevity at Pitt, unfortunately.
    I like Chryst. He is not a good communicator, but you can learn to be good. Pitt should have required that he take public speaking classes. Many executives do this to improve themselves.

    The bball story that I reported over 1.5 years ago, has finally come to fruition. The reality is that it is a lot worse than the dollar amounts and the people involved have reported. Noone should criticize Jamie D for not bringing in 4 and 5 star guys. He played within the established rules of the shoe contract reps. He wasn’t a member of the inner circle and as such maintained many 3 star recruits. I am fine with that. Hoss Cartright (stallings) needs to go and I would sign Hurley yesterday to make that happen. Do not wait unitl there is more competition for coaches in a few weeks.

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        1. Danny Hurley has little Rhode Island at 22-4, 14-1 in the A-10, 1st place and currently ranked #18.

          Danny had to do almost a total rebuild at RI in 2012, his 1st season after a 7-24 (very similar to Pitt’s 2017-2018 final record to be) in 2011 under Jim Baron.

          Hurly’s 1st season
          2012 8-21
          2013 14-18
          2014 23-10 (2nd in the A-10) NIT
          2015 17-15
          2016 25-10 (3rd in A-10) NCAA – Lost to #3 Oregon in 2nd Round
          2017 22-4 (current season)

          So he’s been there 6 seasons already. This could be the year, they make a bigger splash in Big Dance

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          1. Danny also has experience in Pittsburgh having coached Wagner to an upset against Pitt at The Pete several years ago (CBI season). I was there and it was painful to watch.

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            1. Didn’t know that, but I see that was his last of 2 seasons at Wagner in 2011-2012 season.
              Wagner beat a then #15 ranked Pitt at The Pete, 59-54. Wagner went 25-6 that year. Quite ironic
              in that their last game of the season that year…was a loss to Robert Morris.

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  22. @wwb – Steve Pederson was and is the bad PR for Pitt! He wasn’t trying to prevent it. If he was trying to prevent bad PR, he would not have hired Haywood. He was the problem. He couldn’t take the popularity loss and giving up of power.

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  23. I have been on board with the fball coaching hires since stache. I have not been on board with bball hires ( yes i was wrong about hiring dixon). The most exciting hire to me by far was stache.

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  24. Proud to have been in the minority (apparently) of the dismissal of DW. Why anyone would care what
    the local Pitt hating media said about DW belies me. They all knew the Pedo investigation was going on, and they wanted Pitt in a state of turmoil, after that story finally broke. So that Pitt would not be in a position to capitalize. And they got what they wanted.

    Much to my chagrin.

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  25. And in a truly amazing fashion, Pitt’s program was MORE in a state of turmoil than Pedo State’s was, even
    though they were under NCAA sanctions for the most heinous crimes ever on a American college campus.

    That my Pitt brothers, did not just happen by coincidence.

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  26. Zombie Nation doesnt care what JoePa did. They will continue to show up and pay big bucks because ‘ We are Penn State.’ Many Nitters condemn the NCAA and the Freeh investigation. They call it a witch hunt. It was Fake News before Fake News.

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  27. Couple thoughts prompted by wwb’s article — thanks wwb…

    –I remember Pederson pushing Wanny to make changes on his coaching staff – and Wanny didn’t want to. I always thought that power struggle was the real reason that began the process of Wanny being fired – followed by the bull-headedness on both sides. Wanny was, or should have been, the figurehead for the program — he did need a stellar coaching staff under him…

    –I always thought that Dixon burned his recruiting bridges in this area of the country by the way he handled Steven Adams. It used to burn me the way Adams hardly got to touch the ball unless he got a rebound. I mean feed him the ball, especially against the cupcakes — let him learn by doing and making mistakes, in a real game… So you win by 10 instead of 20.

    After Adams left, I’m sure opposing coaches used Adams’ stats – and severe lack of offensive touches – against Dixon in the recruiting of all big men. Jamie never sniffed a half-decent big man after Adams.

    –I thought hiring Toddy Graham was actually an incredibly bold move by Pederson. Very un-Pitt-like in its boldness. Sleezy, but bold.

    -I liked the Paul Chryst hire, but again, he needed the proper support staff. You knew the offense was covered, but apparently we wouldn’t put out the bucks to have a big-time defensive coordinator…

    –Seems like that’s a longtime theme at Pitt where we have some good coaches, but rarely the fully competent coaching staff from the head guy down thru all the assistants. I guess it’s a matter of Pitt not being willing or able to come up with the bigger bucks… Dixon needed assistants who could recruit better; Chryst needed a big-time DC and defensive recruiters; on and on…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. Yep yep Majormajors….the straw that broke Dixon’s back was Calipari luring Slice to Kentucky.
      With that move we lost 5 star Mustapha Heron and the other highly rated recruits that were coming
      along with him.

      Calipari probably still ‘had it in’ for Pitt in some way. The Smoke character that replaced Slice was
      totally ineffective.

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    2. My recollection could be fuzzy about Adams but I remember him as a fairly raw offensive talent who tended to have foul trouble. That said they certainly should/could have used the non-con to try to develop his offensive game.

      I felt like in that particular year that Dixon should have tried to push the ball a little more. They had a reasonably deep team that didn’t shoot it particularly well and struggled in the half court at times but could run the floor. They had Woodall, Robinson, Wright, Johnson, Ziegler, Moore, Zanna, Adams, Taylor and Patterson. Zanna and Adams were bigs that could really run the floor. Woodall and Robinson were capable ball handlers. Moore, Wright, Patterson and Ziegler were pretty good filling lanes on the break.

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      1. Like Majormajors mentions, Pitt rarely tried to get Adams the ball inside. It wasn’t until the final game of Adam’s Pitt career against Wichita State, that they did. And that was Adam’s highest scoring game.

        My recollection is Adams only played 20 minutes a game, and that really stunted his growth.

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    3. the hiring of Graham was bold. You may remember that Steve got Nordy to shell out > $2M for him plus more money for his assistants. (Haywood was to make $1.4)

      Graham’s salary in 2011 was the highest paid Pitt Fb coach until this year when Nard got his riase

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  28. According to stats I found, Steven Adams only avg’d 1.6 Fouls per game. And he played 23 minutes per game. And took about 5 shots a game and made 3 a game. So he was a 57% fg shooter, who they
    couldn’t figure out how to get more shots. This was when a lot of us, starting getting some doubts.

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    1. like every year Dixon’s major flaw was anointing one of his terrible guards to handle the ball 60% of the time. Woodall probably the worst 0-15 against Wichita State of the anointed guards., He never would have seen the court if I were coach, he was also a turnover machine.
      Second worst guard that kept Pitt out of final four Krauser. With two all-Americans, Jones and Blair, Krauser dominated the ball shot in low 30% from the field. On Pick and roll with opponent coaches told big men not to leave Blair but encourage Krauser to shot. He was also a turnover machine when pressed.

      Like

  29. Wow, Pitt was 1 for 17 shooting 3’s in that Wichita State game (not even 10%) yet still kept chucking them up, while Adams only got 7 shots, made 5 of them (71%) and led Pitt with 13 points. Which also happened to be Adam’s uniform number. 🙂

    Perhaps the other players on the team didn’t like Adams, for he was an NBA sure thing.

    Like

    1. You know I thought the same thing. So I pulled up Adams at Pitt in google images. Looks like he played the entire non-con without a bandage, it appeared in a @ Providence game on Jan 22 but then it’s off again towards the end of the season and for the NCAA game. Here’s a pic of Adams playing @ St. John’s on Feb. 24th and it’s off.

      Like

  30. The kids never quit on Wannstedt – but they did mail in some games as happens with other coaches.. You could see it clearly in the 2nd half of the 2010 WVU game. But they loved DW.

    Chryst was really very well liked by parents and players andis very much misunderstood by Pitt fans. He didn’t show emotion in public – but I attended many of his practices and scrimmages and he was in the player’s faces and yelling and screaming when necessary. Very engaged and his kids played to abilities. He had a lot of fun with his players.

    I had some pretty long conversations with him on sidelines a couple times (he thought I was a parent the first time) and felt he really liked Pitt, but it was obvious to everyone when UW came calling he’d be gone (after that first refusal). His recruiting was better than people think also given constraints placed by the admin.

    We have to remember that after the 2010 season and the fallout from the incidents, DW’s firing and the SI article Nordenberg and SP mandated that Chryst get rid of anyone who had been in any trouble at all at Pitt- that’s why we had such a huge roster turnover his first year – 38 kids in 18 months if I remember correctly. Some of those kids were talented and in line to be in the two-deep and starters the next couple of years.

    So he pretty much had one hand tied behind his back right from the start and still did pretty well.

    Graham was a failure from the start although I have to say that when I watched the practices the kids were having fun with the new offense – didn’t translate into the season.

    Graham was completely blocked in his recruiting and his 2011 and 2012 class had to have each kid vetted and approved by SP and the athletic dept. In other words Pitt wanted choirboys and that cut into the talent pool for when PC took over.

    That is exactly why Graham left – he wasn’t told of the recruiting restrictions when he signed his contract. still dislike the guy though.

    Narduzzi is a different story and I’ll say this. We could drink beer and talk for a few hours about personnel issues over the last two years especially (especially this last season) and things get pretty rough on the Southside sometimes. There have been more disciplinary actions under him – most not made public because no arrests were made – and that’s why were are seeing kids here one day and gone the next.

    But he’s a good disciplinarian and gets the kids who are trouble off the roster quickly. He has a low tolerance level for certain things… but his players have felt misused sometimes – specifically DiNucci and his surprise departure – interesting story behind that that goes back into the season itself.

    None of these HCs really stand head and shoulders above the others – except for Graham who crawls on his belly. All have good and bad traits and strengths and weaknesses… and all had to deal with a Pitt administration that hasn’t ever been “all-in” for the program.

    Like

  31. Some on here will like this — heard some discussion on the FAN yesterday and Heather Lyke was being heavily criticized by a couple of the talking heads – like Fillipony and Starkey – for attending the Dapper Dan banquet instead of going to the Pitt / Wake Forest BB game ….

    All I can say is — hasn’t she suffered enough?

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  32. Ya, they were ripping her, but they didn’t like it when Jeff Hathhorn pointed out her prime role is of fundraiser, and there were lots of big time Pitt diners at the DD banquet. They stuttered and sputtered. Listen, that choice was easy, which tells me she has made up her mind about Stallings, one way or another.

    Like

          1. Bobby is a sensitive prick. He’d probably slap a defamation suit against you UPitt after your first snarky remark or nickname. 🙂

            Like

        1. Dan Hurley is 22-4 with Rhode Island and his team is curb stomping Dayton 72-48 with Archie Miller’s players.

          I think the goober in this thread is UPitt

          Like

    1. Seriously, much like a Stallings time out where he can’t tell them anything he hasn’t already told them, what was Lyke going to see at the game that she didn’t already know? Glad hand and score some buyout money.

      Like

  33. I wish the football team could be as competitive at season end as basketball was under Dixon for years. I would love to just see Pitt football in the top 20/ 30 consistantly with some serious runs at the top 10. Manage 50/50 wins against the NDs,PS, WVs .We were there regularly until the last 10 disasterous yrs. It is doable but not with out total commitment from trustees down the line. I spent much of my business career evaluating people and some years back I was telling friends there were two people I really thought were master slickers and major frauds—–Steve Pederson and Grahm Spanier.They both fit the image I called the dry look( hair) and totally phony self promoters who would do any thing to further their personal well being. I think time has proven me right and then some. Now lets hope we see somthing better at Pitt in the case of the Pedos I am not to sure because they get whatever their alumns want up there.

    Like

  34. Just our luck. At a time when we need a new bball coach, so will half the country.

    Hopefully, at least, we can sell the point that we are one of the few teams eligable for the tourney for the next few years.

    Like

  35. But don’t you just love how loudly they all say they are innocent. Fake news. But we have you on wiretap. No, not me. They all should be locked up.

    Like

    1. Yes, this make sense now, since Pitt is not going to pay players. A free $30,000 per year education should be more than enough. Over $120,000 in 4 years.

      Like

  36. @ Reed 6:02pm last night –

    “That is exactly why Graham left – he wasn’t told of the recruiting restrictions when he signed his contract.”

    Are these the same restrictions Narduzzi is operating under?

    Like

    1. Pitt would have helped Sean stay clean. What a great fit that could have been.

      Glad to see TCU not mentioned – still rooting for Dixon – nothing going on of any interest with Pitt BB.

      Currently at Pitt, the Rockport payouts must be under the FBI radar.

      Like

      1. You know maybe Sean never wanted to come back to Pitt……..because he knew he couldn’t get away with cheating at Pitt. At least not know, they might have in the ’80’s when Cal and Greenberg were
        assts.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have always thought that of JD and of Maryland’s Gary Williams who was criticized at Maryland for not playing the AAU game. I don’t know if he did at all but Maryland with Turgeon is one of the listed teams now.

          Like

  37. There’s potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players at Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Alabama and a host of other schools.

    Like

  38. Vandy’s current BB team is drawing over 10,000 fans per game since KS left the program.

    HC Bryce Drew is doing a nice job – they beat FL the other night.

    What could have, should have been.

    Like

  39. Not that any of this is surprising. What is surprising is the FBi’s involvement in it. I wonder what is really behind this, since we know the FBi is a very corrupt organization. Perhaps they weren’t getting their cut.
    🙂

    Like

  40. As the number of premier programs involved in the FBI probe grows, the likelihood of serious sanctions will be less and less.

    Neither the NCAA nor ESPN wants to kill the golden goose that is March Madness.

    Like

  41. The fact is Wilbon is just like Bilas and everyone of the national sports media that worships the thrones of all of the top coaches and programs …. FB or BB. I’ll guarantee they all were aware of the cheating that was going on but wouldn’t say a word because they know what side of the bread id buttered.

    And of course they will evade the issue …. instead they will say that the problem is that college players should be paid, thus trying to justify all of the wrongdoing. Wilbon, like many nowadays, is attacking the source, not the substance ….. anything to protect their precious heroes.

    Like

    1. why in the hell do you think Bilas was so adamant about C Johnson being able to transfer to UNC …. because the public wants to see and worship the Heels … not the Panthers

      Like

  42. Remember, this is just the dirt on one agent. The AAU circuit is full of these types. It is a swarmy, sleezy mess. Everyone wants the NCAA to do something till it affects them. This is what happened when you make the oversight organization toothless. They all want to do what they like without any rules. As long as the money is there from TV this is what you will get.
    You know, the more I read about this and the more I realize nothing of substance will happen to these schools, I have come to the conclusion that everything is rigged. What a cynical view. Money talks, and everything else gets crushed.

    Like

    1. note that the NCAA is run by the colleges and its investigative committee are limited in what they can do — they have no power of subpoena, for example. Thus, only an organization like the FBI is able to uncover such findings.

      You may remember that a few years ago, the FBI lowered the boom on the improprieties on the Olympic Committee, uncovering the millions of dollars that have been paid under the table. As such, there were resignations, reorganizing, new rules, etc. If the FBI doesn’t step in …. who will?

      Like

  43. A few things:

    Majors – that is another Pitt myth about Chryst’s staff… In Matt Houses’ two years as our DC we had some of the best defenses we have had. I posted his 2014 defense earlier. His 2013 defense did this:

    Total Defense. 34 367.5
    Rushing Defense T-43 149.0
    Passing Yards Allowed 44 218.5
    Team Passing Eff Defense 80 133.07
    Scoring Defense 69 27.2

    We would have killed for that defense over the last two years. The bottom line with Paul Chryst (and Graham to an extent) is that he wasn’t a Yinzer and came from outside. He wasn’t blue-collar enough for Pitt fans. But he really did a fantastic damage control job at Pitt and won 19 games and a bowl game. His 19-19 record is just two wins off PN’s 21 win mark but without a bowl win.

    Compare Chryst’s 19 wins in his three years to DW’s 16 w/ no bowl games at all and Harris’s 12 wins and one bowl loss. But he gets little credit at Pitt.

    But most importantly Chryst convinced Gallagher to fire Pederson and Pitt fans tend to forget that.

    On DW. His firing was 100% due to the 2010 off field violent incidents and the final power struggle, and there were ones before with SP, was not with SP but with the Chancellor. I have this first hand from the person who literally gave him the “resign or be publicly fired” ultimatum.

    Contrary to fans beliefs SP didn’t have the final authority in that matter

    Like

    1. but of course Reed, my argument is that House wasn’t using his own recruits. And the second argment is that when he did face good QBs / good offenses, he didn’t do well either

      2013 vs FSU …. Winston completed 25 of 27 for 381 yards – 41 pts
      2013 vs Duke … Pitt gave up 55 pts
      2013 vs Mami 41 pts

      2014 vs UNC Pitt gave up 40 points
      2014 vs Duke 49 points
      2014 vs GT 612 yards and 56 pts

      Like

      1. the fact that Pitt under Conklin in 2015 was rated 37th in total defense should convince you that the quality of opponents / offenses faced has an impact on these ratings …. but for whatever reason, it doesn’t

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Don’t forget the “good riddance” performance versus Houston in the bowl game.

        It would have been comical seeing House’s defenses against the QBs Pitt faced in 2016.

        I forgot about the Georgia Tech run-defense performance in 2014.

        Narduzzi is 2-1 versus Tech.

        Like

    2. Reed – Look, words are tricky. We can say that SP did not have final authority to get rid of Wanny and that may be true. However, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t wield tremendous influence over the situation. This happens everywhere. I can tell you that in my job, I can’t fire certain people. However, I can go to the President and strongly suggest that employee needs to go now and here’s why. If not, this is what is going to happen and happen quickly. In fact, if you don’t and the media comes here, my response will be that my recommendation was to move in a different direction. Guarantee, that the person would be terminated.

      If you read what you wrote above, you will have to agree with my statement above. Quoting, “Chryst convinced Gallagher to fire Pederson”. Chryst had no authority to do it but carried a lot of weight (literally and figuratively). Same with Pederson and Wanny. Pederson couldn’t do it himself but he controlled the message to get him out. That is how it works. Let’s not say it wasn’t Pederson, it was.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. These cheating reports have crushed my love for college hoops. It makes total sense why the top teams stay on top now.

    Makes total sense why Sean Miller’s dad stated Sean would never coach at Pitt because he could not recruit at Pitt.

    NOTHING major will happen to these schools. They will all come out smelling like roses.

    Like

    1. our only hope is that the 2 NBA players that were part of Stallings last class at Vandy is included in one the these reports (we wouldn’t be so lucky)

      Like

  45. Chryst ran from Pitt as fast as Graham with no team meeting. Just took him longer to get an opportunity to leave. Alverez and Chryst knew Pitt was his training.

    Like

    1. that’s not fair. Chryst had a team meeting a week before the official announcement. I’m sure it was discussed that he either was leaving or that the there was a strong possibility

      Like

        1. That is wrong and you’ll have to show me that in writing. I have had many, many conversations about this subject with people at Pitt, some players and players parents and never once heard anything like that.

          Like

      1. Exactly – there was no negatives at all in the way Paul Chryst left the program. As wbb says – Chryst held a team meeting earlier stating that he was getting the Wisconsin offer soon and was probably going to leave.

        Look – ask anyone associated with the athletic dept or the Pitt administration – Chryst was very well liked by all and very respected for what he did at Pitt. Hell, Pitt hired him knowing that he’d take the Wisconsin job if it came open in a reasonable time frame. That wasn’t any surprise to Pitt at all.

        Pitt had discussed Chryst’s hiring with Barry Alvarez also before the contract was offered.

        Chryst was above board in all respects and left Pitt in great shape or the next HC both on the field (yes, he really did) and off. Those two win seasons were built in a large part on Chryst;s work as our HC before Narduzzi took over. Narduzzi won the games but he had a lot to work with when he got here.

        Like

        1. Telling players you may leave and actually telling them you are leaving are two different things. I know it to be true. Let us not act like Chryst was great at Pitt because he was a nice guy to reporters. He had as many losses as wins…with his players.

          Bolting after three years doesn’t stabilize a program. It sends a program in a search for a new coach, puts a recruiting class in jeopardy, makes players transfer, etc.

          Just my opinion, you can continue your PC love fest. I think he and Barry knew exactly how this was playing out. Who hires a .500 coach?

          Like

        2. You make it sound like it was noble of Pitt to discuss the Wisconsin job before hiring him.

          Quit with the narrative of 38 guys being dismissed because he had a cleanup job. It wasn’t that many and the majority who left was because of not fitting into Chryst’s system as Graham recruits or not being that good and being forced to move on, which all coaches do.

          Are you telling me the following guys who left were bad seeds: Justin Jackson, Steve Williams, Rodrick Ryles, Lloyd Carrington, Jason Frimpong, Malcolm Crockett, Darius Patton (who died BTW), Corey Davis, Jeremiah Bryson, Sam Collura.

          How about guys from the 2010 class: Mark Myers, Eric Williams, Arthur Doakes, Carozzoni, Carswell, Sacco, Brian Murphy, Salath Williams and Derrick Burns?

          Wannstedt drained the swamp really by getting rid of the two bad seeds in 2010: TJ Peeler and Jeff Knox. Graham kicked out a lineman Fernando Diaz for getting into a fight. Does that make him a bad seed? He transferred and finished his school work at a small school in NY where Doakes ended up.

          Like

  46. It will be interesting to see what type of charges the Feds brings against who and what. Will they use the RICO act? Remember the Feds don’t bring charges unless it is pretty close to a slam dunk case. They don’t lose many.The NCAA will want no parts of this if they are not involved. If a bunch of guys do serious jail time it will be a strong deterrent in the future. Maybe this will significantly clean up the criminal behavior now and in the future. Just like the Feds have done in many other instances and will continue doing in the future.

    Like

  47. The Feds will do what it needs to, but the NCAA won’t punish these schools.

    The tournament is the money maker for the NCAA, so it won’t be levying any harsh penalties on the Blue Bloods. The NCAA will say how horrified they are of what is going on, but in the end will do zilch.

    After how it handled the Carolina cheating scandal, there wont be anything punitive being handled down.

    Like

    1. The FBI can’t put a college program on suspension or limit schollies. etc It will be very interesting to see what the NCAA does after the dust is all site. Mark Emmert doesn’t even have to invesitigate, he has all the ammo he needs

      Like

  48. I have mostly positive thoughts about what Chryst did for Pitt Football. He came after the Haywood/Fraud debacle and righted the ship. He recruited the players that helped Narduzzi to 2 eight win seasons, one with victories vs PSU and Clemson, our best season since Wanny’s best.

    We were all happy when he left because he would not be able to get any better here.

    He did us a huge favor by telling Gallagher what needed to be done, most importantly dumping SP.

    No one should fault him for going back to his beloved Wisconsin, we were just lucky the opportunity arose when it did.

    Let’s just hope Gallagher continues to give Narduzzi what he needs to be successful.

    Like

    1. my one negative of PC is that how he de-emphasized the defense. His staff, in experience and quality, was alwas slanted toward the offense, and his recruiting certainly reflected it. A lesser quirk would be his QB recruiting. He seem almost Wanny-like in that his QBs are mainly game managers

      Like

    2. I liked chryst and thought he did well for pitt. I think pitt would be good if he had stayed. He had a slow and steady approach but would have won a decent amount of games at pitt.

      Like

  49. The NCAA is a feckless ineffective organization afraid of being sued by its own members.

    Their negligence created the environment for the criminal behavior.

    This may have an impact on College Football, when their criminals see what happens to their BBall counterparts.

    Like

    1. as I wrote above, NCAA Pres Mark Emmert has all the ammo he needs (doesn’t even have to investigate) and he if he doesn’t act after all the dust settles, college BB will become toast IMO

      Like

  50. If, and I say if, the Feds bring charges then those guys are toast. They can cry and moan and deny all they want, but gc is right. They will not charge unless they have the goods, and then watch them roll. The FBI involvement is the only way this might be addressed, as the NCAA cantand wont do a thing. And guess what, the threat of real jail time gives people religion.

    Like

  51. BTW, if you want to see the current version of “Do you believe in miracles”, turn on te NBCSports channel right now. I’m on the edge of my seat

    Like

  52. face it, all the latest FBI findings should only increase our respect of Jamie Dixon even more. We all suspected this but now there is proof.

    He came so close to recruiting many blue chips but always seemed to end up as the bridesmaid.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. It is being reported from sources Kevin Stalling’s actually had players pay him 100k to play at Pitt. When pressed for comment an source responded you didn’t think those kids were actually D1 worthy do you?

    Like

  54. Maybe it’s my age but maybe the reason the FBI missed the Boston Bomber the terrorists and other REAL criminals is they are too involved in BS like college sports recruiting violations and politics any more. Where are you when we need you J. Edgar Hoover. The NCAA is the ones at fault here and they look more feckless and corrupt with every passing day. It also seems our college administrations fit the same corrupt pattern. I think we have met the enemy and he is us as Pogo once said. Where is the NCAA enforcement arm? Ken Starr was a former Judge and federal Special Council yet it was under his administration the Baylor FB program blew up. I almost died of a heart attack 10 yrs. ago when I see this stuff anymore I get so sad I sometimes wonder if maybe I missed my calling to still be here and see this garbage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Within one year Dixon had 3, 5* and a 4* player but misused them and only one stayed. Adams rarely played, Taylor after Mac all- star game scored 18 points 11 rebounds playing the 3. Said he had a great touch beyond 3 point line check it out). Birch was a physical freak who wanted to play at the 4 not center, he transferred before Adams arrived. Before he transferred he save Pitt’s ass. the threesome would have dominated the inside and overcome their freshman errors.

      Like

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