A commenter asked me a question yesterday that was basically “Reed – if you were the Athletic Director what would you do to help the football team?

Well, since I have been following Pitt football for a very long time and have been writing about it for years also you’d think I’d have some opinions on this subject… and I do.  My first official statement as a new AD would be this:

“It is important for every Pitt fan to know and understand that the intent and business of the University and the Athletic Department is that the football program be self-sufficient in financial terms”

That is the at the center of almost every fan’s complaints about the state of Pitt football today.  If you don’t understand that premise then you can’t understand the true state of Pitt football.  And that isn’t unusual in Division 1 schools either; it is more the norm than a deviation actually.

Look – Pitt has the 29th largest endowment fund in the U.S at $3.52 Billion dollars and none of it will ever go towards athletics and it shouldn’t.. That says something right there about where priorities lay…

First let’s go over the major complaints and/or reasons Pitt fans have as to why Pitt football is the way it is.  Which begs the question what exactly what is Pitt football’s state right now; was in the in the modern past and will be in the near future?

We know about the past.  With a two-year exception over 2008 – ’09 when Dave Wannstedt was the head coach and had a nine then a 10 win season along with a singular 2002 nine win year under Walt Harris Pitt has topped off at eight wins.  Put another way Pitt has won eight or more game only nine times in 30 years.

I read somewhere that Pitt was one of only three D1 colleges who had only one 10 win season in that time period… out of 129 D1 schools. That is low company folks.

On the flip side Pitt has won five or fewer games 10 times in that same time period. So you can see that over the last three decades Pitt has been an average football team with bouts of good play and bouts of poor play.  Pretty much middling and mediocre ball when every season is averaged out. As discussed below over our last 34 years we have a 207/201 record or just above .500 ball – so we Pitt fans aren’t unfamiliar with averageness at all.

We just saw that writ large over Pat Narduzzi’s first three years when he had back to back eight win years followed by a drop to a five win season. Personally I believe that inherited players Narduzzi was handed had more to do with those eight win years than his coaching did.  But that isn’t the first time that has happened in Pitt history.  If Foge Fazio were alive he could talk about that.

So that is where we are today. Coming of a five win season and looking at a new 2018 season with a tough schedule and question marks throughout the team.

So  let’s take a look at some of the reasons Pitt fans feel we are in this position of mediocrity.

  1. Not enough financial and administrative support from the Pitt administration for athletics and football in particular
  2. No on-campus stadium
  3. The drop in quality of WPIAL football quality
  4. We have too hard competition in our out-of-conference scheduling
  5. The Football Gods are out to get us

Since I’m now the AD and have been one long enough to see the inner-workings of the Pitt athletic department and to try to do something about, it here’s my answer to those.

First off Pitt fans really don’t get exactly how Pitt football fits into the University of Pittsburgh’s overall mission areas.

The University of Pittsburgh, founded in 1787, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States.  As one of the nation’s distinguished comprehensive universities, the resources of the University constitute an invaluable asset for the intellectual, economic, and social enrichment of Pennsylvania, while the international prestige of the University enhances the image of Pennsylvania throughout the world.

 The University’s mission is to:

    • provide high-quality undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences and professional fields, with emphasis upon those of special benefit to the citizens of Pennsylvania;
    • offer superior graduate programs in the arts and sciences and the professions that respond to the needs of Pennsylvania, as well as to the broader needs of the nation and the world;
    • engage in research, artistic, and scholarly activities that advance learning through the extension of the frontiers of knowledge and creative endeavor;
    • cooperate with industrial and governmental institutions to transfer knowledge in science, technology, and health care;
    • offer continuing education programs adapted to the personal enrichment, professional upgrading, and career advancement interests and needs of adult Pennsylvanians; and
  • make available to local communities and public agencies the expertise of the University in ways that are consistent with the primary teaching and research functions and contribute to social, intellectual, and economic development in the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

The trustees, faculty, staff, students, and administration of the University are dedicated to accomplishing this mission, to which they pledge their individual and collective efforts, determined that the University shall continue to be counted among the prominent institutions of higher education throughout the world.

Not a single word about athletics.

Sorry to disappoint but football at Pitt holds a very small place in the scheme of things and as such gets rather small budget aside from monies earned from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Pitt’s cut of sales from marketing Pitt gear and memorabilia (very small as compared to the other bigger schools around us like Penn State, Ohio State and West Virginia who rake in apparel money.)

But even with that there was a commitment back when the decision was made to move out of Pitt Stadium to build state of the art football facilities on the Southside.  The UPMC Sports complex and the Duratz Athletic Complex found inside them are as good as almost any school in the U.S. save for the huge football factory schools like Alabama, Penn State, etc.  It truly stacks up with the best in a lot of ways and money is spent on it every year (and even more when a new HC comes aboard to pee his scent all over the public areas) to keep it up to date and modern.

Believe me football facilities are not the problem at Pitt – if anything they are the bright spot.

As far as getting money and creating and feeding a separate budget for Pitt football that is way easier said than done at Pitt and mainly for three reasons. First our alumni donations to athletics are truly putrid – almost dead last in the ACC and poor in comparison to the other D1 schools.  Donations to the university’s endowment are great but rancid to athletics.  So that impacts perhaps the most important thing when it comes to field a top-notch football program – staff salaries.

You can pay anything you want to a HC and Pitt has been about average or a bit below with that over the years… but if you want to win football games in more than a one or two-year spurt you have to pay, and pay well, for strong and successful coordinators and position coaches. This is where Pitt has dropped the ball mostly in my opinion.

Then you have to allocate money to build a successful and efficient recruiting staff and program and give them resources to effectively do their job.   Wannstedt was a true “Pitt Man” who played back when Pitt was getting good teams and who had a great relationship with the local high school coaches and had a reputation from his NFL days as HC of the Miami Dolphins.  So with that he could recruit blue chip kids out of both WPA and Florida. Thus his recruiting was top-shelf and he won more games over three years than any other Pitt HC did since Jackie Sherrill.

But Pat Narduzzi has neither of those advantages (and hasn’t built those much needed local ties to HS coaches) so he needs to rely on a super-effective recruiting team and he hasn’t built one. His staff coaches have been re-treads for the most part with a gem or two thrown in (i.e. Matt Canada), but he hasn’t targeted superior personnel and gotten the AD to pay for them – which is as much a head coach’s job as directing the team itself.

So as the AD in this situation I tell him to do his homework and look outside his FOP (Friends of Pat) circle and hire quality for cost be it an up and coming youth or a coach with prior experience and success at a same-level school. They are out there;  I just wonder how hard he’s working to get them on staff because they are the ones who are going to get the recruit’s actual commitment.

It is true that the WPIAL lacks the top to bottom quality it had when Pittsburgh and Western PA were different back before the mills and heavy industries left the area.  That time can’t be brought back and the fact is that we have to live with that.  But let’s also not kid ourselves that other schools aren’t pulling quality recruits out of the WPIAL right from under our noses and having success with them.

Penn State has gotten Bowers, Sander and Wade – 4* and 5* recruits out of this area in just the last few years to name just a sample.  ND has been culling blue chip kids off our own campus lately also as has some other big programs.  We used to get those recruits at Pitt.

And we should still be getting the lion’s share and to do that the Pitt HC and his staff have to build solid relationships with the HS coaches so that when a Pitt recruiter sits in a family’s living room talking with the parents and the kid’s coach they believe what that recruiter and, in turn, what Narduzzi is saying and promising. And that trust takes time and absolutely should have been worked on as Job One three years ago.

So as the AD I would order Narduzzi to go back to all the pertinent local high schools to try to rebuild their confidence in him and Pitt and to build a bridge from those WPIAL Schools to Oakland. Have the HS coaches attend  some invited and targeted events and do more than just open up a practice to them every once in a while.  Remember – the Pitt HC is by far not the only D1 HC trying to woo the local coaches and their players, James Franklin at PSU is a master at this – we need the upper hand and that comes from doing genuine extra-curricular efforts with them.

Changing recruiting is admittedly easier said than done because as stated above there is a finite pool of money for the football program, which includes a recruiting budget, each year.  But other HCs at other schools have the same constraints and find ways to overcome that difficulty.  This is where the administration and the HC have to drum out the donors who will pony up for general football expenses.  We had a chartered jet for recruiting trips over the last two years – I  would bet that was a donated flight timeshare given to Pitt.

That’s one example, but as the AD I am going to be as creative as possible in not just begging the wealthier Pitt alumni and fans to give but to give in unique and different ways that might not involve cash.

Then as the AD I will do exactly what both Chancellor Nordenberg and Chancellor Gallagher, and then AD Barnes and now AD Lyke have been stating publicly for years – tell the Pitt family that the issue of an on-campus stadium has little or no importance to the University. Fans need to understand that this issue goes far past just the football team or the football program and indeed even the university itself but impacts the city and the state as well as the character and face of the Oakland area.

It is not going to happen so adjust your thinking about the football program and take that equation out of it.  Personally I have had discussions with both past Chancellors and some city officials I know about this issue and have been firmly convinced this is not going to happen in Oakland – on some other bit of land Pitt acquires possibly but never back into Oakland or Panther Hollow.

And yes as an AD I understand that a lack of an on-campus stadium affects recruiting and perceptions of the program but again, the importance, or lack of,  placed on football at Pitt doesn’t drive major decisions for the university as a whole. Look, when your Chancellor says this in one of his first media interviews: “ I’m certainly not looking at an on-site [stadium]. I’m sure to the dismay of some.”  A statement which has zero ambiguity in it at all, then you better believe it.  And the key words there are “certainly” and “on-site”.

And here’s a plain fact folks – Pitt has played much better football in the recent past at Heinz Field than we did in Pitt Stadium leading up to the move.  If you look at our record since moving to Heinz in 2001 it stands at 121 -86 or a 56.5% winning rate – as opposed to the 17 years prior when we played in Pitt Stadium and went 86-108 for 44.6%.  Pitt fans – that is a huge difference and I’d bet our attendance has been higher at Heinz than it was in Oakland also.

As the AD how will I schedule out-of-conference games for the Panthers to play year in and year out?  That is a great and hard question for an AD to have to face.  Here’s how I would do it…  Continue to schedule two hard and one equal teams and one ‘softer’ team every year.  Part of that decision is that Pitt has to do everything it can to draw the non-alumni or established Pitt fans to watch our football games and you do that by giving them quality opponents to see us play (and hopefully beat).

This is a case of what Pitt fans want as opposed to what is best for the football program overall.  Case in point – look at the most well-attended games in both Pitt stadium and Heinz field and they are almost all OOC opponents. Pitt fans want to see us play Penn State, WVU, Notre Dame, Navy and other quality programs.   Why else would a fan wish for the best possible opponent in a post-season bowl game?  Because we want to beat the best.

Others want rent-a wins on the schedule as much as possible because they believe a winning record is all that matters – and it is important.  But a large part of an AD’s job is to get more fans, more local interest and more financial gain and to do that we need more fans to come to watch us play (and to buy Pitt merchandise which is an underestimated funding by the fans).  The AD needs to build the “Pitt Family” and that means getting people who didn’t go t or work at Pitt interested in Pitt football… and to spend money once they are interested and fans.

As much as Pitt fans hated the name change to “Pittsburgh” (and I did also) I believe the intent of trying to be inclusive toward all the local regions’ football fans was a correct one – just badly bungled in that attempt by Pederson.

And again, let’s be brutally honest here with rent-a-wins; Pitt has a track record of blowing games they easily should have won.  If we are going to lose an OOC  game I’d prefer we lose to a quality opponent rather than Bowling Green or YSU again.  The intent of playing the season at all is twofold – first to win the conference for a big bowl tie-in and secondly to be ranked as high as possible at the end of the season for recruiting purposes. The polls are still a popularity contest and is still a ‘who did they actually win against’ mentality… Just as UCF about their 13-0 undefeated season with no playoff game.

As the AD I was well briefed about the fact that the football Gods hate Pitt.  It is well documented over the years.  I took the job anyway knowing I’d have to battle them and other outside influences like being the fourth major sports team in a small area.   That may be even the fifth most popular team given that there are more PSU alumni in the Tri-State area than there are Pitt alumni so PSU wields a big stick here also.

Throw in the PSU-centric and sometimes anti-Pitt bias newspaper media and it is a tough road to hoe. But advancements can be made. I believe Heather Lyke is firmly on the right track as far as the whole of Pitt athletics go – but as the Co-AD now I can understand how her hands are tied by the University’s football budget – which is minimal aside from the aforementioned Atlantic Coast Conference receipts.  There are certain parameters we ADs have to deal with that are unchangeable and the main one is the lower level of importance the football team and program hold in the 360° of the university stated missions.

As a first time HC Narduzzi has made mistakes that I believe (as an AD now) need to be corrected ASAP.  He has the support of the AD and the fans to this point but that comes with a mandate to win or be cut loose. Contracts mean nothing in college ball these days and if he isn’t getting the job done on the field and if the program is trending downward he needs to be held accountable and treated just as every other HC is in college ball – win or be gone.

So finally as the AD I give Pat Narduzzi a ‘come to Jesus’ sit-down meeting with a verbal warning that he has this year to reverse the downward slope he started last season and that means a seven win season or better… but he needs to have a winning season. If he can’t do that then 2019 is the year he is mandated to do it or is fired. No ifs ands or buts…

136 thoughts on “If I Was the AD…or WWRD?

  1. Went to the local Maryland Pitt Alumni Association Meet and Greet with Dan72 last evening – about 40 people showed up and we had a nice time. As always when Pitt people get together the topic turned to Pitt football – two older guys there recognized me as “Reed from the Pitt Blather” – they had no idea I have the Pitt POV now – so we had fun.

    They asked me questions about the 2018 team – I gave them my opinion and then Dan72 told them how full of crap I was…

    It was a nice evening all around though – and no membership fees to belong which is interesting…

    http://www.alumni.pitt.edu/alumni/membership/membership/

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  2. Reed.

    As always, I respect your thoroughness and perspective. However, I have never been in more disagreement with anything posted here. (ike, you’re off the hook. HAHA).

    I could go into specifics but it would be as long as your article.. maybe I’ll write something up as an “op-ed” and drop it to you in email.

    See you tomorrow!

    As in the past, I’ll be bringing some Pitt-related items for raffles/gifts.

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  3. Football programs earn the label great or good by virtue of their comparison to programs which are mediocre. Most programs are a mediocre, or if you will, in the middle of the pack. That’s where Pitt is, that’s where most programs are. Absent a complete culture change that’s where it will stay.

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    1. Yes, and it is going to be very hard for Pitt to rise above it for an continued time period given the constraints listed above… I don’t think we’ll ever see a “complete culture change” because there isn’t the interest or intent within the university administration to ever do so.

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    2. A lot of mediocre programs still have that one season where it all comes together and have a memorable year. Not at Pitt.

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  4. So you start out listing decades of mediocrity but then (as usual) put the blame on Narduzzi and his hires.

    How about the hiring of Matt House as DC for 2013? If you go back to the 2013 defensive staff, you will find:

    House — DC/Secondary (3 years D1 experience as a fultime coach)
    Inoke Brectersfeld — DL (2 years)
    Chris Haering — LB (1 year)
    Hank Poteat — CBs (0 experience grad asst), … plus
    John Palermo (brought out of retirement after being axed by Tennessee)— currently coaching at Ave Maria Univ, according to wiki

    you want to know why Pitt was so bad defensively in 2016 and 2017 — I implore you to look at the recruiting classes in 2013-2014. The 2013 class had 27 commits of which 18 were on the offensive side. The top rated defensive recruit of that class was a guy named James Conner.

    One who Pitt didn’t get in these classes was Troy Apke who played under Haering at Mt Lebanon. Both of his parents were Pitt athletes yet PSU, still grabbed him. He was just drafted in the NFL.

    Belle Vernon resident Joe Rudolph was PC’s prize recruiter … and his no. 1 target back then was fellow Belle-Vernon Dorian Johnson who attended a handful of Pitt practices. He then took his first visit to PSU and committed before he left. Only the sanctions made him rescind.

    Until his final year, Chryst had the advantage of PSU sanctions and not going against Franklin. Nor was PSU a Top 10 team .. or even ranked back then.

    wwb

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    1. Oh Reed, why must you question the efforts of Coach Pat?

      So this statement “On the flip side Pitt has won five or fewer games 10 times in that same time period. So you can see that over the last three decades Pitt has been an average football team with bouts of good play and bouts of poor play. Pretty much middling and mediocre ball when every season is averaged out. As discussed below over our last 34 years we have a 207/201 record or just above .500 ball – so we Pitt fans aren’t unfamiliar with averageness at all.” followed by Reed noting Narduzzi’s two 8-5 seasons followed by a 5-7, as “…put the blame on Narduzzi”? This typifies the emotional response to any statement that questions Coach Pat. Reed was asserting that Narduzzi’s performance is largely more of the same of the past 34 years, not that he was solely to blame.

      And yet many of those defensive guys from those 2013 and 2014 classes were still playing (and starting) under Narduzzi in 2016 (year #2) and 2017 (year #3).

      I agree Apke should have been a Pitt commit based upon Haering having come to Pitt and his family history. However let’s not make him out to be a huge miss. He was largely a special teams player and backup until his senior year. He didn’t make the first of his two career interceptions until November of his junior year. He was drafted primarily because of his combine performance.

      Sanctions didn’t “make” Dorian Johnson rescind. He certainly could have remained as others did. Perhaps his commitment decision was sufficiently tenuous that he realized that he should have stuck with his first love. Besides, I thought that sea of white at Beaver Stadium could even reverse the riptide of sanctions.

      For more complete disclosure, PSU wasn’t a ranked team in 2015 either. PSU wasn’t ranked in 2016 until they beat Ohio State in late October. Franklin was considered on somewhat of a hot seat until that win. Seems some of those advantages enjoyed by Chryst extended to Coach Pat.

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      1. SANCTIONS “INDEED” MADE DJ SWITCH … same for DJ Holtz who actually signed an LOI at PSU but was released, and as well as for Tyler Boyd per several written sources

        wwb

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    2. This whole article is about the question of “What would you do as the AD NOW” emphasis on NOW wbb. At this point the AD isn’t concerned with Paul Chryst or Dave Wannstedt or any other HC – he/she is concerned with Pat Narduzzi and his current staff.

      Good God – get of the old schick about how bad Chryst was or how I’m dumping on Narduzzi – you can’t get that out of your head.

      What would you tell Pat Narduzzi at this point as his employer and his boss? That everything is peachy keen, don’t worry about average at best recruiting or having a losing record?

      Of course not unless you were a crap boss in real life. No, you tell people what you expect from them in clear terms (i.e. a winning season in 2018) and then what you demand from them in the future if they don’t meet that.

      You read this article as a fan and you didn’t put yourself in the AD’s role – which is absolutely much different that a common fan’s is.

      Fans have a more romantic vision of Narduzzi than the AD or the Chancellor should and do – that is what fandom is. You as a fan disliked Paul Chryst (obviously) and love Pat Narduzzi. Lots of fans feel that way. But I can tell you as a fact that the Pitt admin loved what Paul Chryst did for the football program – a whole different viewpoint that the fan’s who really only want wins and losses.

      Narduzzi is an employee of the university of Pittsburgh – really no more or no less… just like Dave Wannstedt and walt Harris were. When that employee isn’t producing as to the standards set then he has to be evaluated and re-evaluated for continued employment. If you don’t do that you are mixing emotions up with the business of college football – and make no mistake college football is a business.

      I didn’t say fire Narduzzi now or even after next season, I have never written the words that Narduzzi should be fired – as some commenters did after last season… never.

      But if you think that should we have two or three sub-.500 seasons and he should still be HC here then that’s your opinion – I’m not sure many others will agree. It’s easy to say you want him for a long time now – but let’s revisit your thoughts after this upcoming season. You might have a whole new take on things if the season goes the way I’m predicting it will…

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  5. Just running out the door and i find this new article so not much time to respond. I have to agree with the above. You actually do a great job laying out why PITT can’t, won’t or should be expected to be a perennial winner in football but then you go waving your finger at Narduzzi warning him he better do what you literally told us is next to impossible to expect… .. and this after he won 21 regular season games in his first 3 years. Otherwise I agree with what you posted and think you would make a great AD at PITT and BTW, for all the reasons you state I think having more PITT people involved with the PITT football program the better. See you guys early tomorrow

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    1. I never once said Pitt shouldn’t be “a perennial winner” because I think they can be – at 7, 8 9 games or such. And that is what I think any HC at Pitt – barring external problems (that Narduzzi doesn’t have) should be held to.

      You need to read the article before you throw crap like that around.

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  6. Shane Roy is an example of a kid who does everything asked of him by the University and his coaches, abides by what is asked of him and he gets dumped on for not being a star.

    So what is it: you want the opposite playing in Shane’s place or Roy who does what is asked?

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    1. No – I point him out as a result of poor recruiting along the DL saying that if he’s a starter we have problems… do you disagree with that?

      I’ve never once said anything else negative about him. He’s a great guy I’m sure and he’s probably a good student…he’s just a mediocre DL and it’s a shame for the defense he has to be the starter – and is a big part why we have problems on the DL.

      When you are 74th nationally in sacks and 106th in TFLs then your DL has a major problem because it gets no pressure on the QB. Thus – as we see all three years under Narduzzi – we end up sh*tty in our pass defense which was 105th in passing yards allowed and 91st in yard per pass allowed… which led us to a losing season.

      So yeah – i’d like to see Roy benched for someone better but I’m afraid that even the heralded DL recruits like Camp and Watts and aren’t much better.

      Honestly – do you not look at how effective a player is just because you may like the kid?

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      1. Roy is a solid player and is more responsible for stopping the run than rushing the passer. The University, and some fans, don’t want trouble, it wants kids who do all that is asked — and most important — to stay out of trouble.

        He isn’t a star, but he is more than adequate. Sure I want Russell Maryland, but Pitt isn’t cheating to get that type of athlete nor has the cache to get that type of player. That is the school’s fault for wanting mediocrity but expecting greatness from its coaches.

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        1. Nate, you’d be surprised at how many Pitt players have been dismissed or told to look elsewhere over the last three years (and before).

          All those “transfers” we’re not all voluntary.

          So Pitt isn’t recruiting choirboys as some fans think and that some fans blame for poor play.

          We are not much different than other school’s in that regard really.

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      2. It’s a shame for the defense that he has to be the starter? Seriously, like the defense is a real thing separate from the defensive players? No, the defense was fortunate that SR was there as he was better than the guy under him – that’s why he was the starter.

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  7. “If you look at our record since moving to Heinz in 2001 it stands at 121 -86 or a 56.5% winning rate – as opposed to the 17 years prior when we played in Pitt Stadium and went 86-108 for 44.6%.  Pitt fans – that is a huge difference and I’d bet our attendance has been higher at Heinz than it was in Oakland also.”

    Bad example. The University let football die starting in 1990 and thankfully Nordy wanted to win on the cheap as that is better than not wanting to win at all under dirt bag O’Connor. If the school just let Gottfried do his thing that record is different. Don’t toss out that he was cheating because Pitt was found not guilty by the NCAA in 1992, or Gottfried’s cheerleader affair story. His sex life is nobody’s business nor should it have been when it came to reasons for his dismissal.

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  8. Reed, I hate to admit it but I agree this is put up or shut up year for Narduzzi. I almost want to pull the chain on the abysmal recruiting alone. Dave Wannstedt got the biggest shame job ever by Nordy and Smug Pete.

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  9. Maybe my memory is failing me but as I recall Matt Canada was being referred to more as a retread than a gem when he was hired at Pitt. I guess maybe even retreads can shine in their future assignments under the right circumstances.

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    1. I think you are recalling fairly accurately. Canada was coming off of a termination. I think Canada benefited greatly by having a rather complete set of good, experienced tools (i.e. players) in the toolbox in 2016.

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      1. Yes – that inherited offensive team was very good and made better by Peterman transferring in – kudos to PN for him. But I do believe those inherited players made all the difference those first two years – even “no hands” Jester Weah had a career year in 2016.

        But in 2015 Canada had the tools to meet his vision and thanks to Henderson, Ollison’s good year, Boyd, Holtz, with an OL of Bisnowaty, Officer, Rowell, Johnson and O’Neill that was was superb. Great supporting cast for the QB

        Then in ’16 you have Weah’s great year, Conner, and Bookser on the OL along with the returning offensive starters.

        I just don’t think we are going to see recruiting like that again from the current HC.

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  10. Nate Bailey#4…spot on about Gottfried, I was barely a teenager and said what the F are they doing. Beat Penn St 2 years in a row. Recruited several kids that played in the NFL. Getting rid of him for Paul “I can’t” Hackett was a huge mistake, following that with Majors II. Ughh…

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    1. Dis-as-trous firing him and hiring Bozo the Clown.

      Gottfried stays the starters are:

      Van Pelt, Richards, Redmon, Dave Moore, Truitt, Chris T. Jones (picked Pitt over Miami, went to Miami after ‘Pitt” standards weren’t met), LiVorio, Gorajewski, Sestelli, Christy, Miller on the O.

      Hamilton, Spindler (turned pro because Gottfried was fired), Sean Gilbert, Gunn (all of whom played in the NFL), McDonald, Gob, Walker, Israel, Lewis, Hetzler, Riddick on the D.

      Also, Buddy Morris stays instead of Hackett hiring a baseball or basketball guy as S&C coach.

      Yeah, it was really worth firing Mike.

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      1. I completely missed out on the Pitt football years from 1978 to 1998 as I was stationed overseas or on the West Coast and Pitt was hardly ever on TV – I did watch the great Sugar Bowl win with Marino in ’81 on TV at 10 am in Honolulu… but that was about it until I moved to Maryland in ’98.

        I really got interested when DW was hired.

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  11. Very well written article. Thanks.

    I’m wondering why is it that Pitt gets so little a share of their merchandise sales and what can be done about it..

    A part of that is most likely that penn st has 98000 students, which leads to having more alumni, compared to Pitt’s 34000.

    Also, the majority of those pen st fans choose to become part of a cult. There have been many cults in this country, and I can not imagine being in one is a healthy thing to do.

    But I feel that those vast numbers lead to a harder sell for Pitt merchandise. Still, I would like to see someone renegotiate our deals.

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  12. So we have 3.2 billion in an endowment fund… now I am not proposing a OCS ( but I want) but that kind of money could build 23 stadiums at $150 mil each…what the heck are they going to do with all that loot. Surely, some pesos could be spent on sports… loan to the athletic department to get FB rolling which could be paid back to the endowment fund once the “ pump is primed.” spend the money and get the right shaker and movers in place. Shouldn’t be that difficult. Sounds like stubbornness.. or aloofness ..aDM is proud about the big endowment.. give me a break

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    1. They sure could Bernie but believe me there is no interest in a Pitt stadium in the higher echelons of the Pitt administration so that endowment money will be the principal for education and research, etc… fundings as it should be.

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    2. BigB commented June 8 at 1:23 pm that Pitt’s endowment fund is $3.2 billion. Perhaps BigB was referencing comments from others. According to the University’s highest authority Pitt’s endowment is $8 BILLION. Only income from the fund, which is held in various investments, can be used and that must be used for educational purposes only. The principal, subject to market gyrations, must be preserved. I forget where the Highest Authority told me this ranks amongst public universities, but it is up there in the rankings. So, Yes, Pitt does have a sizeable endowment, but there are limitations to how the proceeds can be used. Admittedly, I don’t know if sports, and football in particular, are considered educational activities.

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  13. Ike has been bugging me to make up new Reader’s Prediction Cards like I did for 2017. So i have a new and updated Prediction card that I will send to anyone who wants it…

    Last year’s predictions were very interesting to see how they turned out – for example we filled it out right in the middle of Spring Practices last year and I had Taleni down as Sacks Leader with 13… On April 28th he was dismissed from the team.

    I was correct on 5 wins though.

    I’ll go through them and do up a small bit on the results.

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  14. Too soon for predictions Iek. Let’s get through fall camp. We need a plant or spy this year.
    Another area Duzz is missing the boat not opening some practices to the media at least to drum ujp some excitement. Heck, we are talking football here not taking pictures of one of our nuclear attack sub’s propellers.

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  15. I thought I posted this a little while ago but here goes again. After re-reading the article I hear the same things. Funny part is I agree with you Reed on all your points when you tell us that PITT football is not a priority at the University of Pittsburgh. PITT and their head football coaches constantly fight an uphill battle to be competitive. Throw in the idiot ad who ran off the winiest coach in the past 30 years at PITT to convoluted the problems down there.

    The one and only part I didn’t agree with is bringing in Narduzzi as the problem when you almost make him sound like a victim in your analysis of why it’s a severe uphill climb for PITT football. Let’s put the blame where it belongs. It’s either on us as being fans of PITT or the so called mission statement that leaves out PITT football altogether.

    and let’s play some golf and football! ike

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  16. Hey, I think I had Wirginis leading the team in sacks. Maybe those suspensions affected the team way way way more than I thought they would… I sure was wrong barvo.

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  17. The first thing I would do as AD is lobby the BOT to amend the Mission Statement to add a section on the importance of Pitt’s Athletic Department and how Pitt values the student athlete. Show that it is important to the University to be competitive, the value of the ACC Conference to the University etc. If Athletics are integral to the success of the institution, why should they not be covered under the umbrella of the endowment, at least in terms of the physical plant.

    This is crucial to changing the culture at Pitt. Enough of the “Front Porch” nonsense. Put your money where your mouth is and make a real commitment in the Mission Statement of the University.

    The AD also needs a budget to promote Pitt Athletics internally, throughout the University Staff, Students and Alumni to recognize the value of athletics to the individual and University as an institution. An effort needs to be made to incorporate that RAH RAH SIS BOOM BAH spirit with staff, employees, vendors, all students so that it is picked up by the community at large. A serious marketing approach must be made.

    All Former Pitt Athletes should be given the opportunity to purchase a special Pitt Letterman Jacket with the year of graduation to be worn proudly at Pitt Sporting events, This will encourage former athletes to attend events and be recognized by fans.

    A sense of Pride must be re-instilled in Pitt Fans and can only be done from the top down. If the BOT makes this effort, good things will happen, contributions will go up, attendance will go up.

    This includes a much stronger media approach, don’t wait for the ACC Network. Get TV programs for your coaches. Since this Media/Marketing Plan will benefit the Institution and not just the athletic department, general marketing funds could be used. UPMC should also be included in this effort due to the obvious relationship between Athletics, Fitness and overall health.

    Pitt needs to be thinking BIG, if it wants to change the current relative value of Pitt Sports to the Region and Nationally. By improving the perception of Pitt Athletics, you improve the perception of the Institution.

    As most of you know, I don’t think an OCS/Pitt only stadium will ever come if Pitt and Pittsburgh doesn’t value Pitt sports. The cultural change needs to come first, if it doesn’t SOP will continue to rear it’s ugly face.

    If the change occurs, anything is possible.

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    1. Excellent suggestions gc. I’m an out of towner. Never lived in Pittsburgh except for my four years attending Pitt. As an out of towner I seem to have perceptions of Pitt that are different from many of you POVers. I perceive it and Pittsburgh the City as a duality. This perception is mine and I make no claim that it is right. But to me it is real. And I will tell you something that you folks do know just to get it out there because maybe it is something going that is just integral to your consciousness – the City of Pittsburgh has a national identity that is unique. Cities like Cincinnati, St. Louis, even Dallas, let alone Louisville (I could go on and on) have no such national identity. And what is that identity? I’ll tell you this it isn’t negative in the slightest. It is an identity rooted in its industrial toughness and not like Detroit or Cleveland that are perceived as anachronisms – cities that don’t need to exist anymore. Pittsburgh is superhuman strength – steel strong. And it has been reborn with a vitality that the Nation understands and respects. That strength and renaissance attaches to Pitt. If I were Pitt’s AD I would do everything I could to attach Pittsburgh – the City to Pittsburgh the university. I love the nickname “Pitt” but I never agreed with any POVers who eschew Pittsburgh as the university’s name. So if I were the AD I would make what the Nation sees in Pittsburgh as Pitts brand. I think that is sellable because it’s authentic. And I believe it would be a very valuable recruiting tool especially for PN both for locals and out of area recruits. Pitt has a unique opportunity to grab onto this brand.

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  18. lol B, yeah I know I don’t know it all. Actually, I’m not sure if I know much at all. That’s the fun of those premature predictions. We should call them humility cards..

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  19. gc, those are great thoughts but understand this…if you ask the HC, or his staff coaches, to do anything outside his contract like extra appearances at fundraisers or TV shows you are paying him extra for it.

    The days of blanket contracts in college ball are long gone.

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    1. Agreed, but those TV shows are money makers and are paid for by the local affiliates. They should be additional income for the coaches. Is there that little demand for it? Root has the WVU show on right in front of our games.

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  20. Iek, I am not sure I could name 50% of the starters at this time.

    Reed..back to the endowment fund…I would think if you were AD that you are cagey and sharp enough to organize and recruit people to donate or placed in various board and management positions to allow you to access the “endowment.” A loan from that money makes perfect sense. I have borrowed from my company and have lent my company money. Just have to have the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed.

    FB is the prime $ driver ( and we are tired of mediocrity) and it needs the financial resources. You would not settle for SOP in your job as our new AD-Commander. You would steer the ship- that your faithful know.

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  21. Reed, have you ever asked, the powers that be or were, why it is that Pitt doesn’t or hasn’t valued athletics the way that PSU, ND, Stanford, and on and on do? When you go to Rec Hall at PSU you will see a team picture of every sports team that played there. There is a value and pride that doesn’t seem to exist at Pitt.

    In fact I don’t know of many schools that have suffered the humiliation on and off the field that we have.

    I know there is a long history of academics vs. athletics, but other institutions seem to have overcome this issue without lessening, in fact enhancing their overall reputations.

    Why have we repeatedly shot ourselves in the foot?

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    1. I think it is the nature of the university situated right in a city without a large campus.

      Most students do not live on campus any longer and few faculty do either.

      Back when I was a kid living on top of Negley Hill out of 24 houses on our block I can remember at least 15 being professors of faculty…and that was just one block in Squirrel Hill! When I went back a few years ago there were just two retired professors left there.

      So that ‘small town campus’ is long gone. Back in the day we went to Pitt drank in the Oakland bars and most lived on Campus – now the students live in Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Bloomfield, Lawrenceville,Southside, etc… places where it was too expensive or too low-class to live back when we were at Pitt. Now PGH is a vibrant Arts City and the students go where the action is – and that ain’t Oakland any longer.

      Pitt also has a ton of international students now who are all about academics and not football. That is a big factor also – most grad students who come from elsewhere couldn’t care less either.

      So times and Pitt have changed greatly since most of us were students there, it is a whole different attitude and place than back when Pitt was a much smaller parochial school.

      As much as football fans think SP and Nordy “moved” Pitt to Heinz Field I had discussed Pitt football with Posvar back in the ’70s and again at his daughter’s wedding in the early ’80s and removing Pitt stadium was being talked about back then even – the City’s and Pitt’s Master Plan for Oakland proper didn’t include it..

      In modern days Pitt has wanted Oakland to be an historic academic center and that is what it is today.

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  22. Thanks Reed, I agree with almost everything in the above article, especially the stadium stuff, not going to happen and I don’t think it should. I do disagree on the schedule.

    As an average program I do believe overall wins are key to turning recruits heads our way. Overscheduling programs who actually don’t seem to really make a huge dent on attendance but who are favorites on our home field is the difference between winning 5 and winning 7 games minimum. You have mentioned a few times that we saw no real recruiting bump with some of the big wins the past few years, but imagine if we did not play Oklahoma St in 2016 or Iowa in 2015 (still keep Penn St and ND on schedule those years) and we win 9 games and go to a better bowl those years. Take Ok St off again last year we likely win 6 games and at least keep the bowl streak alive.

    Like it or not most of our ACC games are toss ups to begin with on talent level so going 1-3 or even 2-2 OOC is a tough hole to start out in. Starting 3-1 builds confidence for the conference games. While beating great competition is awesome there is a reason why most powerhouses do NOT schedule that way. It is ludicrous that the University of Pittsburgh has the hardest OOC schedule in the nation.

    The truth is based on our roster it will be a challenge to win 6 games against this schedule, people want to blame recruiting for the roster, that’s fine and more than fair, but if we win more than 6 games I will believe that is a heck of a coaching job.

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  23. How about this exercise then? How about a poll that asks the questions.

    Does iek/kie/ike or however I spell my name…. Like/Love Narduzzi

    Does Reed/Commander/friend ……………………..Tolerate/Hate Narduzzi.

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  24. I don’t believe our attendance issues are truly fixable, wherever the stadium is. That ship has sailed for almost all sports across the country let alone ones that are at best the fourth option in town.

    I also believe that recruits do find playing in the same building the Steelers are in is attractive. Stack wins, get off to 7-1 start and people and players will come out but as proven all the way back to championship year of 76, expecting Pitt to pack a stadium every week is a pipe dream.

    If you guys think Heinz is bad you should see what UCLA games look like here at the Rose Bowl, 90k capacity and only twice was “reported” attendance over 6ok, and barely. Unless it is USC place is a cavern. This is a sports problem. The only people immune are the true college towns…

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  25. GC kind of took my thunder.

    If the mission of the school is as you stated, than why does anyone complain about sport? It’s because the mission statement is flawed and our thinking is pavlovian.

    In addition, there is no mention of the student experience. Another major mistake.

    This is a perfect example of why the Administration gets an “F”. The Administration does not care about students during their time on campus, nor do they care about creating a brand and linkage to the university for years to come.

    I actively petition for the break up of committees and the usage of very few policies in higher ed. People in higher administrative roles in universities get paid a lot of money. If you can’t decision, you need to go elsewhere. I see a trend of new thinking in higher education and the dinosaurs (Pitt) will be left behind. It will be costly.

    Make decisions because you are an expert. Own them. Get better. Move on. Not all decisions will be correct ones. Being afraid to make decisions (Pitt) will get you in the same place, fast while others pass us by. That is why we are not top 20, top 40 in academia any more.

    Endowments can be used for a lot of different things depending on how they are gifted. Sports is an education in and of itself. Pitt is in the minority with their thinking. The Administration may think they are the smartest folks out there but in reality, they are a laughingstock. Just had a discussion about using endowment funds in a higher ed board meeting yesterday. Pitt’s ADmin is pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes and I am starting to think they are exhibiting cultish behaviors!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Right on Huff and that is exactly my point…!!

    How can we point to the head coach when we just laid out all the reasons he should fail?

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  27. Huff and Reed would make a great team to lead PITT sports. I get cookin on “Make Pitt Great Again” hats. Something in proper Mustard.

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  28. Upitt heading to Philly. May get stuck there if miss connection. Anyone driving in from Philly? May need a ride. Ugh

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  29. Reed would not be a fan favorite to lead anything at Pitt. I tend to think Pitt handles the football program in a way that fits the type of university Pitt actually is.

    Look, Pitt would rather be like the University of Chicago than Notre Dame…I truly believe that. I think the football program is there only because ‘lesser’ schools don’t have a D1 program, and Pitt wants that as a image.

    But football will never be “the front porch” to the university because they truly don’t need it to be.

    Hell, Pitt turns away almost as many applicants than they accept and so don’t need that supposed advertisement football brings other schools:

    “Can I get into Pitt? The school has a 55% acceptance rate. Last year, 16,165 out of 29,175 applicants were admitted making Pitt a more competitive school to get into with a good chance of acceptance for qualifying applicants. Academically, it has extremely high requirements for admission test scores, generally admitting students who score in the top 16 percent. University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Campus typically accepts and attracts “A-” average high school students. Only 24% of those admitted chose to enroll in the school.”

    So we turned away 13,000+ applicants last year…why do we need football to jack up enrollment?

    The ‘starter’ schools in FL are doing just that – they go from a college to a university then spend tons of money on football and their enrollment doubles and triples and now they are a bigger university making more money.

    But Pitt doesn’t have to and actually can’t do that because we have somewhat of a cap on enrollments in the Oakland campus anyway.

    Look, Pitt fans want football because well… they want it. But the vast majority of Pitt alumni really don’t care about it one way or another – all you have to do is look at Alumni donations to the Pitt Athletic dept to see that – the donation rate is truly terrible because they just don’t care about it.

    We all on here and on the message boards are a very small sampling of Pitt alumni and fans who actually do care about Pitt football. But really, it holds the same place in alumni’s radar as it does on the Administrations – a rather small blip in the grand scheme of things.

    Sorry – that has been the way it has been for a long time – even back in the Glory Days Pitt stadium sold out once every two years or so – other than that it was just as it is now – a bunch of empty seats and alumni who have other things to worry about and spend their money on.

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    1. It’s that way because there is no sustained football success. Of course we will never get 100k attendance but we could get 15k more per game if we had sustained success. And that starts with winning 9 or more games a year which means more cupcakes.

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      1. Reed – I hope I make it. Grounded in Florida due to weather. Sucks. Will get to Philly at some point but won’t make connection to Pittsburgh.

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            1. Ligonier is closer to Philly than Pittsburgh. You will get off the PA turnpike in Bedford or Somerset. Maybe Donegal. I’d say 4 1/2 hours.

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  30. Like some have said, Pitt is a basketball school. Let’s compare:
    1) Money spent on big time coach. Which one, football or basketball?
    2) Money spent on a big time on campus facility. Which one, football or basketball?
    3) Being able to successfully recruit 4* from ACC footprint. Which one, football or basketball?
    4) Experianced, dynamic assistant coaches to recruit those players. Which one, football or basketball?
    5)Not putting up with poor coaching, recruiting, or performance and quickly making a very good hire. Which one, football or basketball?
    6) Being willing to eat 10 million or so to make it happen. Which one, football or basketball?

    I think we have become a bb school. We spent the money to compete in that sport. I have seen no indication we have the will to spend the money to compete in football, right or wrong?

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    1. Joe – I was just looking at your 2017 predictions card… hope you aren’t a real estate speculator…

      Actually you were better than most of us. You had us at 6-6 when almost everyone else had us winning 7-9 games.

      You did predict we’d give up 347 ypg in passing and it just felt like we did – we actually gave up 254.

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    2. @JoeKnew it is for sure a basketball school. Confuses the crap outta me.

      The success Capel is having in recruiting proves when the right hire is made things turn around quick.

      Narduzzi is struggling and let’s see if the university cares or not.

      IF they are serious about competition at a high level in both sports it’s put up or shut time for Pat.

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  31. Ya, but if you look at my actual predictions before the season I believe I was the ONLY one right on the money. Adjust, adapt, improvise, or whatever Clint said. LOL.

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  32. You will never convince me Pitt is a BB first school. It’s much easier to sell out the Pete than it is selling out Heinz. I will agree that the ACC is still a BB first conference with Duke and NC always in the forefront on that score. Yes our most recent success has been in BB versus Football. But our past history in sports still revolves around the Dorsett’s and Marino’s from the 70’s and 80’s and there ain’t no getting away from that past success.

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    1. Except we ARE getting farther and farther away from the Dorsett and Marino days jrn. Your premise would be true if we won a BE championship every so often or now an ACC one… but how many years were we in the BE with doing that outright?

      And when can we reasonably expect us to do that in football – not in a long time at this rate I think.
      Football is in a holding pattern at Pitt and may stay that way for many years – history over the last 40 years has shown us that.

      But BB at Pitt has reached higher than football ever has over that same time period – yes we hit rock bottom last year but I think with Capel we are going places and pretty darn soon. That will twist the dial from FB over to BB even more I think.

      But we’ll never be a BB only type school like Villanova is or some other D1 programs that just have FB for show.

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  33. No, we won’t ever be bb only, but that will be the dominant sport, much like Duke and some other ACC schools. Just cheaper to do it in bb, and Pitt is nothing if not frugal.

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  34. I do think it is funny that our BOT sees us as University of Chicago vs ND.

    Maybe if we merged with CMU.

    I do believe there are a lot more dorms on campus now than when we were in school Reed.
    I do agree kids are living all over the City, but mostly grad students.

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  35. Reed’s article is excellent and super spot on. What puzzel’s me most is that we still want to rack our brain and wonder why PITT doesn’t recruit as well as a school nearby who committed horrendous crimes. Again, I don’t wonder that as the answer is right here in this article by Reed.

    We have been told and I am dead serious here. PITT is behind the eight-ball so where does that leave the current head coach? This has always been my point that it’s more about relevance than anything. You just can’t make a race horse out of a jack-ass. Yet I still faithfully believe PITT can make an impact in the ACC one day.

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  36. @Reed – Football and sports in general won’t jack up enrollment. You can control that. It jacks up applications. When you have a larger applicant pool, you get better students and a more diverse student population. Applicants are often driven to apply because of the brand because they see other students like them having a lot of fun in a campus environment. The brand (like it or not) often is focused on athletics and competition. Potential students want to be a part of an environment on campus. You can have both but PITT Admin thinks they are smarter.

    Not to be argumentative but compare these statistics to yours.

    Ohio State – 52,427 # of Applicants – 22,939 Admitted (43.75%), Less obviously attended. Avg ACT 29.2 65%in top 10% of class. 95% in top 25%. Out of state = 22%. More selective than Pitt….by alot. Smarter kids=better jobs = more contributions…IF they have a great experience. Athletics often provides that.

    Pitt doesn’t look big picture.

    If we agree that Pitt doesn’t care about athletics, why do people complain about mediocrity? Why say a coach has to go next year or three years from now? If the players are smart and go to class, that should suffice, but the masses complain. It’s not part of the mission so put a lid on it, i guess. Who would ever want to disturb the status quo?

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    1. Pitts BoT is comprised of elite snobs and academic intelligentsia. There is not an once of business acumen or common sense in any of those book nerds who live in their ivory towers. And it’s comprised of Nitters who work against Pitt and incompetent political hacks and other appointees. The BoT is the swamp and needs to be abolished.

      Tex

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  37. Hands down the faster growing segment of our economy is Health care. Pitt is extremely well positioned to use that advantage to brand Pitt as a top venture capitalist enterprise and attract serious capital. Stanford used the tech explosion to brand itself and be the west coast place to be. Pitt needs to develop an umbrella approach to health care and potential global enterprises. It will take someone to re think the market and to take a broader approach to innovation and health care delivery on a much larger scale. Now what does that have to do with football or Pitt athletics. Creating wealth of that magnitude will bring serious capital to Pitt to cozy up to the movers and shakers to contribute to the cause.

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  38. Personally, I’m hacked off about many of the above comments!
    Reed provides us with a well written fair article and how is it received? Like it’s open season on the POV owner/writer! Why don’t you guys get a life? Pitt is all of us on here favorite college team – or we wouldn’t be here to begin with. Reed provides facts and opinions for us. This is BIG TIME FOOTBALL. Pitt is a Power 5 school in the ACC and the fact is currently we are the bottom dweller sports school in the conference.
    If you “Reed attackers” can only handle rainbows and My Little Ponies, stick to following your 5 year old grand daughter’s cheerleading team or your 8 yr. old grandson’s tee ball team and stop attacking a fair minded blog operator who is as big a Pitt fan as you will ever be!!!

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    1. Nothing against Reed but I dont think he’d make a good AD

      He’s against an OCS
      He’s for a tough OOC schedule
      He wouldnt recommend including just a blurb about the importance of athletics in the mission statement
      He wouldnt make any waves with the BoT

      You need these things to happen to break free of mediocrity

      Sorry for being this harsh but its Friday and I had a bad week.

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      1. Well, granted you don’t know me personally but your point about the BoT above is rather funny to me. There are more than a few Flag Admirals and SES officers who would certainly set you straight on that account.

        In my 33 years I was certainly not known as a “toe the line” type officer. I made waves and big ones but completed missions as they came. I almost spit out my coffee when I read that.😀

        But, yes. I sure wouldn’t add athletics into Pitt’s mission statement, it has no place being there. That doesn’t mean it can’t be important to the university, just that it sure isn’t a prime objective of the institution.

        And here’s a fact. An OCS wouldn’t even be a part of my agenda as the AD. I wouldn’t spend any time on it because it won’t happen and would detract from more important issues my job entails like major fundraising and new customer outreach.

        First off I’d send two cheap seat vouchers to every alumni within a 100 mile radius from Pitt…then I’d start sending promo materials and discount coupons to the general population, targeting local families with younger kids…anything to get new butts in Heinz for a game, preferably an almost-sure win one.

        That would be my first move…show Pittsburghers you can see a football game live without breaking the bank.

        So, no letter of recommendation from you I guess, huh?

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        1. I like the marketing idea but I’d also make a point to somehow get those families to visit campus
          On campus venues are great selling points for the university and future fans/college applicants

          My point is Pitt needs a visionary as AD
          And someone who can stand up to the Chancellor and the BoT
          You cant change the culture and break the cycle of mediocrity without a strong and competent AD

          So THE problem is the CULTure.
          Pitt’s AD is effectively neutered so any AD can only do so much and is a ‘Yes’ man or woman to the Chancellor.

          So how does one go about changing the BoT?

          A very popular AD could force changes within. Thats why I always liked the idea of Tressell coming in. He had instant cred, was well connected and knew how to develop a winning culture.

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  39. Populous did a feasibility study for athletics last summer. It led to the victory heights initiative. An ocs was part of it although you won’t hear it from Pitt. It comes down to a projected $300 million. I’m pretty sure Pitt can fundraise/sponser a good chunk of it over the next 5 years and low cost debt the rest.

    This is the one major thing holding football back. If you want the brand to increase in equity, you need your own stadium that is right sized. You then build traditions around it.

    When the football landscape changes after the tv contracts expire, the top football schools will be invited. Pitt will not be one of them without an OCS. So is a $300 million investment worth an extra $80 million per year? That’s a four year payoff.

    But culture needs to change first or it matters not.

    So to me Pitt is destined to be an afterthought and mediocre football program. Because the Pitt BoT doesn’t understand sports and business.

    There is no connection or bond with Pitt unless you nurture football and school spirit in general. A facility on campus provides the glue assuming culture changes and traditions emerge. School Donations are based on ones memories of on campus living and events.

    Therefore I’m afraid that Pitt is hopeless. Look forward to being last in directors cup standings. The continuance of no national titles in any sport since ‘76. Apathy on the part of fans with attendance and donations. A brand synonymous with mediocre.

    I’m kind of wishing I went to Penn State. That’s a terrible thought I know. Damn Reed you got me depressed.

    But if I was Chancellor king for a day this is what I’d do:
    Abolish the BoT and form two 9 members committees. One for athletics and one for academics. With the AD reporting to athletics and chancellor to athletics.
    Make sure no Nitters or political hacks or appointees are on these boards.
    Hire wanny and make him chair for the victory heights fundraising campaign.
    Develop a mission statement where athletics is part of it
    And tell the whole world that this ain’t your grandparents Pitt. H2P is going to mean something going forward. No such thing as SOP any more.

    Tex.

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  40. As Reed said Pitt does not have an enrollment problem and they are only admitting half the people that apply. To hint that Pitt as an academic institution is struggling is just not accurate, If anything its harder to get in now than ever. The latest US World report ranks Pitt number #68 out of 311 national universities, that is top 25% on a list that includes Ivy league schools. https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities. Fun fact the lowest rated power 5 school is WVU coming in at 187, and another, only three of the top 15 play D1 football. We care about the sports results, we are in the minority. As Reed correctly points out most students and alumni do not. As I have said before our athletic teams were abysmal during my years at Pitt (91-95) yet that had no impact on my overall experience as I have nothing but fond memories and lasting friendships from those years. I would not change a thing. I really wish I cared as little about on field results now as I did then but sadly I am destined to hold out hope for that magical lightning in the bottle season. As much as I would hate to be wrong I have never believed Pitt has the desire and circumstances to be a top 25 football program year in and year out.

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    1. @pittpride – Rankings are based on what the university reports and they are not checked for compliance and candidly, university groups are hired specifically to manipulate the data to get a higher ranking. That is truth. As an example. If you want a higher ranking, go hire a bunch of adjuncts at 10k per class. It saves paying a tenure track position and manipulates the rankings to show a better student/faculty ratio. Or, add another class and keep paying adjuncts. Go down the laundry list of manipulative statistics and it is done. Most universities play the game because consumers don’t know any better and actually believe it because it’s in a magazine.

      Please don’t believe those stats. They are manipulated.

      President Gee gets it. WVU had record enrollment last year. There is a reason. A 70% acceptance rate. So I ask : Can anyone delineate the difference between a Pitt degree and an OSU or WVU degree? The answer is NO. Now, can you delineate those three schools sports programs? The answer is yes, and Pitt is the embarrassed one there. Sorry. Wish it was different.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Why would any chancellor or AD be on public record for supporting a $300 million plus initiative when one is perfectly content to play in front of 20-30k yellow seats for the next 15 years

    It’s too much hard work to fundraise. It’s far too easy to live on the Rooney scraps. You can’t tell me that Pitt hasn’t been treated as a red headed step child in the 15 years of playing in that ketchup bottle.

    Our chancellor and AD won’t be around to see it happen. Hence no discussion. Not going to be part of their legacy so why bother.

    Heinz has another 15 years of life left. Pitt has never been proactive. So they will scramble, react and are hitched to what Rooney decides to do. If that means a domed stadium in Washington county, so be it.

    Pitt will be the only major school in 15 years to play in an off campus rental stadium. That’s a horrible distinction.

    Tex

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  42. To my friend Jim (Pittman4ever) I don’t partake in this blog to just read what Reed thinks and prints, although I’m very thankful for it in general. I’m sorry but the part I like as much as reading is to give my feedback. Just so happens Reed and I do not agree on much these days but I do feel I laid out my thoughts well enough so I did not come off as disrespectful. Read more careful as it’s often suggested to me to do and you’ll see I actually totally agree with Reed in his analysis of the PITT administration’s mission statement except for his always going back to the current head coach at PITT and his criticisms of Narduzzi. I think he built a great argument as to why not much should be expected out of any head football coach at PITT.

    I respect you as a friend Jim but Reed is a big boy and when he tosses his thoughts out, I figured I was allowed to give my feedback and if it isn’t always little ponies and rainbows then so be it. I think you have that bass ackwards.

    Like

    1. Ike,
      I was in no way referring to you buddy! You may disagree with Reed but you are his friend and always respectful! This article opened with a bunch of comments attacking Reed. None of which were you good friend. Enjoy the POV golf outing tomorrow!

      Liked by 1 person

  43. What is the capacity percentage at pitt stadium from 1973 to 1988? Around 85 percent. I ran the numbers

    What is that percent since moving to Heinz?
    62 percent.

    Can’t tell me Heinz is better.

    It’s bigger. 40 percent larger. But it hasn’t helped in recruiting or winning.

    The entire 90’s should be thrown out. Pitt played like a division 2 program then.

    Tex

    Like

  44. when Nebraska visited, Iowa visited, A&M visited, OSU visited, did Heinz sell out?

    These far away OOC teams do nothing for attendance and produced zero wins for Pitt

    You will come close to selling out the Hoopies, Nitters and Domers because their fans live in the area or very close by. Thats why 20-30% of the stadium is filled with their filth. 30% of 70k is 21k. Thats the minimum amount of yellow seats at every Pitt game.

    I would rather play Akron in front of 38k and win than lose to OSU in front of 38k

    Like

    1. Tx – absolutely correct. I was doing some research on home OOC opponents over the last 4 years. OSU averaged a 9-3 regular season record over the previous 10 years. Had a preseason top 5 Heisman candidate (Randolph) & a long shot candidate in Washington. Also considered to be a top contender to win the Big 12. And only 38+k attendance.

      Big time opponents not named PSU, WVU & ND don’t pack in crowds. Iowa only got 48+k.. But Marshall brought in 45+k Give me Marshall any day for attendance & a win.

      Like

  45. Mission statements have nothing to do with how much a school values athletics.

    For example, these football machines:

    https://www.nd.edu/about/mission-statement/
    https://welcome.miami.edu/about-um/university-leadership/mission-statement/index.html

    I believe that your premise is correct, Reed, but using mission statements here to make a point can lead readers to believe that Pitt has their hands tied by some kind of written policy or charter.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Good News. Made it to PA.

    Bad News is Im in Philly. Missed Connection.

    Land at 9am. Will get rental and come straight to course.

    Like

  47. Ohio State shows you can be terrific at both academics and athletics. Those alums take pride in its football program and good for them because it is a huge part of the university. What is wrong with taking football serious and giving your fans excitement on the best day of the week: Saturday.

    People remember the big football wins with their friends and the times spent with them than they do going to the library studying.

    Like

    1. students remember the good times on campus. thats where connections and special bonds are made. they remember certain fun events whether its sports or academic related

      they dont remember pleasantly their chem class or studying in the library
      they remember the fun things that a university sponsors to improve the quality of life and get students engaged

      that builds school spirit

      Pitt has historically done a poor job. I speak from experience

      and dont give me this bull because its an urban school and theres no room for events or that its a commuter school or whatever else. All very poor excuses

      Pitt still doesnt have a modern rec center for students…a key driver in what applicants look for in a college…a place to hang out, work out and have fun. Just do a google search and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve posted links before on this

      And yet some have the gaul to complain that Pitts donations are pathetic like its something we former students are to blame. Look at the experience Pitt gave us.

      Like

  48. Reed

    You nailed it in your comments.

    Pitt has an extremely small campus and a small amount of student housing. Tons of commuters.

    Pitt has no desire to increase the number of those accepted.

    I can’t find another power 5 university that is similar in those areas. Especially the campus and student housing.

    I agree Pitt needs to embrace the city more. Those empty seats need to be filled with locals. One place to start would be youth football. It has been mentioned on here several times. Have camps, offer discounted tickets, give away some tickets, let the kids meet the players, let them on the field after the game, etc. You have thousands of young football players that you can influence because of proximty. Your competition can’t. Pitt is missing a huge opportunity to influence merchandise sales and ticket sales.

    Like

    1. i’m not sure what you mean that Pitt’s a commuter school. I attended over 20 years ago and pretty much all the undergrad lived on or around campus. If you mean walking a few blocks to attend classes, then I guess you have to count me as a commuter.

      Like

  49. Huff III: good point. Pitt admin doesn’t care about athletics and fans don’t either-(pathetic attendance and donations). Why are people so hard on Narduzzi and giving ultimatums?

    Like

  50. Look folks if the University of Pittsburgh was located in a cow field with 10,000 acres surrounding it with nothing but campus buildings and educational buildings and sports facilities and a small village that is crazy about nothing but the University of Pittsburgh Athletics… things would be different.

    But it’s not – it’s smack-dab in the middle of a vibrant, living city with a population who cares about other things than Pitt football. So what do we expect to happen when we have a team that is playing with four other big ass Sports programs that draw all the attendance away from us and of the interest away.

    Pitt has certain non-self imposed external limitations that just cannot be changed, better accept that fact.

    And another thing do have to accept is the fact that love o Pitt football is just not shared by a lot of people in this world. The Pitt alumni for some reason just don’t really care about Pitt football the way other schools’ do. That needs to change and I think that would be job one of the athletic departments leader.

    But we’ve tried to do that for that For many of years and something is stopping us I don’t know what it is either but alumni interest lies elsewhere.

    Like

    1. It is real simple: changing coaches for 30-plus years shows a lack of institutional knowledge when it comes to running a football program and it turns off alumni. Pitt should be on its second or third coach since 1986. Instead it is on its eighth.

      Terrible vision and leadership by the school to forge an identity with its football program. People love football, period. Pitt doesn’t have more acute alums than other schools, hence the reason for the lack of interest in the program. The lack of interest stems from poor leadership and decision making. It gets old after a while. People love a winner, period.

      Like

    2. I can tell you Reed why Pitt alumni dont care. Pitt has not given them a good experience. I attended undergrad back in the early 90’s and saw it first hand. I attended grad school somewhere else and saw a nite and day culture change.

      Pitt does little to help kids connect and bond with the university. It does a poor job engaging them. Does a poor job in sponsoring fun events, building traditions and integrating sports into the fabric.

      when you get treated like a number and not part of a family, you act like a number

      Like

      1. and as a follow-up, what do students think today about being bussed to and from a football game? that cannot be a good experience for them

        although I disagree that Pitt today is a commuter school with all the new housing Pitt has on campus that didnt exist when I attended, Pitt is however a commuter football school

        Like

      2. Well txpanther, I absolutely agree. There are horror stories about how alumni have been treated in the past by the University Building enduring bonds with the student population that transition into enduring bonds with Alumni,was clearly not a priority in the past. My daughter attended Texas A&M undergraduate and graduate schools. Now A&M is probably one of the best-in-class at cultivating the alumni bond, and they start early. Example: The entire institution is geared to it.

        I met a leader of A&Ms Veterinary School on a plane and during our non-stop conversation traveling from Houston to New York I mentioned my daughter’s keen interest in becoming a vet. He immediately invited my daughter and I out to A&M for a day where she could meet with him, sit in on a few classes, and have a guided tour of the Vet School and the university. Which we did! It was fantastic. My daughter got accepted at every university she applied to including A&M, University of Texas, Rice,etc., and didn’t even visit those other schools. A&M was it.

        You see promoting healthy student relations that grow into strong Alumni relations is a core value at A&M. Now Pitt, on the other hand, has been bottom quartile in alumni relations up until about 5 – 10 years ago. It is getting better; it is more committed to engaging Alumni, but it certainly has a long way to go.

        Like

  51. Duke fans don’t care about football either but they have renovated old Wallace Wade Stadium and it is a lovely place to watch a game with the other 15000 in attendance.

    If there is a will there is a way. What Reed is saying – there is no will.

    Like

  52. FRANCUP Open is today.

    Are we going to have a “ Leader Board ” posted periodically.

    Would love some chatter on here from the golfers.

    So the Tiger Woods from Skidaway Island 🌴 Georgia ( Dr Tom ) is not in the field this year. That gives everyone else a better shot to have their nam engraved in infamy.

    Like

  53. Lastrow.. those hats would be simple and easy to do… if there is interest on this sie we could do it. but if we here crickets then we make 2 custom fitted.. what is your 🎩 size?

    Make PIYT Football Great Again !

    Like

  54. This has been a great 👍 ast month on the POV… bio ‘s were awesome and Reed for AD has been great and even better if he would get us in our very own football field. We don’t need all the bells and whistles just a gridiron.

    Like

  55. More new peeps are posting joining the old faithful. Thanks to each and everyone of you. Not only do you provide insightful and enjoyable reading, you provide a place of comfort to escape the stress of today’s world.
    If you are just a reader please consider jumping into the water with the rest of us. We have a common bond which has grown more personnel than ever over the past few weeks..think about it.

    The POV.. where Pitts finest fans gather.

    Like

  56. Good article. Thanks Reed.

    More cupcakes please. We need wins.

    Pitt has built lots of dorms in last five years. I was in town for a military wedding, two Air Force families, Memorial Da. Walked my dog on campus. What a great place it has become. A huge new dorm is being built on both sides of Forbes. They will build a really cool walkway over the street as you first enter the campus from downtown.

    I’m OK with Pitt being an intellectual hub first. If they find cures like they did for polio, isn’t that worth more than a national title?

    I do wish they would go all out and spend money on coaches. They kept Partridge. A start. But the prior DC was a joke. Stunk it up. I

    Too hard a schedule this year – hardest PIC in the country.

    I like red velvet with sprinkles.

    6 wins and bowl win. Unless AN stays healthy. 8 wins.

    We forget how much a talented QB makes a difference. Haven’t had one in a while. Marino-esque.

    Like

  57. For larger schools, intellectual development and deep friendships are also critical. However, where sheer numbers make delivering consistent intellectual excellence, deep friendships and a close tie to the community a tougher task, activities that unify the college community and their alumni (like strong athletic programs) can significantly increase the level of alumni support. There are, of course, many other ways large universities galvanize and unify their communities beyond athletics, but very few can do it like athletics can. The magic combination of high academic reputation and a strong athletic program is sure to increase alumni support at larger schools (in fact, it does so at smaller schools as well.)

    Like

    1. taken directly from one of the articles I linked above

      bottomline – sports is not part of a students identity at Pitt
      sports has been used as a wedge historically at Pitt and not as a way to bring people together
      when sports is woven into the fabric of college life, you’ll get higher donation rates

      sports just isnt important at Pitt

      Like

  58. Pitt is so unique as a campus. It is a good thing. The University Heights project is a great, overdue project. Hopefully they get the housing, eateries, etc. to join the project.

    No one said Pitt is a commuter school, they have many commuters. The dorms are appropriate for the enrollment numbers.

    Like

  59. Good luck at the golf game today fellas. Wish I was there with you as it is a great venue but greater company. Hopefully you dodge the t-storms that came through here yesterday late afternoon.

    I shake my head often on here because so many refuse to state the real problem (Administration) and accept the academics bs because they are fearful of what change can bring. Sometimes, organizations are afraid of success and I put Pitt up at the top in that regard. I have been on this site since inception and over at the blather for years and have never seen anyone type that, but it’s true. I think the Administration has felt that if the sports teams were successful, it would somehow correlate to some type of failure in academia. WRONG!

    I am so glad Tx has adopted my thinking on the Administration failure topic. It’s hard to say that when our leader knew people in the Administration and trust me I don’t want to throw daggers. I am in the fixing of problems business. Just a short year ago many on here mentioned Tepper as an alum that could really help Pitt with athletics. Financially, you all are correct. Emotionally, you swung and missed. Did the Pitt Administration emotionally engage Tepper whilst he was here? His wallet says NO. Although he has given some money to Pitt, his large donations go to Carnegie Mellon. Why is that?

    Here is where the Administration fails. Sports aren’t everything. Sports unlike anything else can bring people together. Politics, not so much. Religion, not so much (sadly). But sports can and should unite. Anonymous at 12am hit it on the head with Ohio State. The Administration pulls students into athletics as a way of inclusion. As a way of making them feel important and that their support matters. A great college experience. When the students graduate, they want to give back. And when one of them hits it big, they remember their time on campus and at sporting events (because they win and the administration commits to winning at every sport), and the student gives. What a waste with Tepper! Look at TBoone at the other OSU and go down the line. What will it take to loosen those purse strings? Engagement. Not from the AD, but the Chancellor. I would immediately push for him to sit on the BoT, a high honor for anyone and another opportunity for athletics to get a second bite at the Apple. Oh, don’t get me started on the Apple guys donations…..

    Like

    1. thats why I say building on campus venues for events (either sports or other) are important
      OCS (part of bigger victory heights plan) and rec center
      https://www.collegeconsensus.com/rankings/best-college-rec-centers/

      you need students to associate with campus
      you need students to live and play on campus
      you need students involved in the local community
      you need students engaged

      college experience is more than just an education

      but the university has to create those venues, those events and engage students. Involve them with fun things to do preferably on campus…events they can walk to. and then hang around afterwards

      build some fun, some excitement and some positive memories
      sports can help do that with bigger universities
      Pitt has done a poor job making students feel like they matter, instilling school pride, making them part of a unique family
      sports has been a divider with Pitt; every time Pitt becomes successful on the field, the university dials back

      so when I hear the bozos at Pitt saying than on campus facilities dont matter and football isnt part of the discussion, I know they are missing out on the big picture. And they have nobody to blame for poor donation rates but themselves.

      so change the culture first, build traditions second, build your venues last

      Heinz wont be around forever…start planning now.

      Like

  60. I’m rolling out of Latrobe right now and my sincere apologies that we are not heading east to Bolivar but west to Pittsburgh. I know you boys will have a blast as it looks like a beautiful day in downtown Bolivar. It’s a real bummer to miss the golf outing. ike

    Like

  61. Since Pitt is landlocked in Oakland, maybe they should look at their other campuses. UPJ has over 600 beautiful acres at its Johnstown campus. Easy access by 4 lane highways from Pittsburgh. Local businesses would love it for 6 or 7 games a year. Johnny Majors loved the seclusion for his training camps. Local PSU types might even attend.

    Like

    1. Franmd I agree 100%.

      A lot of PSU casual fans would get hooked and attend Pitt Games.

      Over the years I have taken many PSU friends to Pitt games. They root for Pitt when they aren’t playing PSU.

      I have also converted a few PSU fans to Pitt Fans over the years. Believe it or not a lot of Pitt Fans and Altoona converted to Pitt Fans because they loved Larry Fitzgerald.

      Like

  62. Thanks, Reed- I appreciate your AD perspective and the fact that you took the time to respond to my inquiry.

    1) not much we can do about the university’s financial support and philosophy, although I believe Lyke has been given a little more leeway and has established more of a focus on the progression of athletics

    2) I would love an on-campus stadium, and never got the opportunity to experience it, but understand the cost and the improbability of it happening. And so we tread on.

    3) I don’t know the landscape of Pittsburgh high school football like you guys do, but I completely agree that there should be a focus on establishing relationships and creating early ties to the area. If this isn’t happening, then this is my biggest problem with the head coach.

    4) I think this is where I disagree slightly. Right now, we have 4 out of conference games. I think it would be smart to schedule 2 cupcakes (guaranteed wins), one power 5 lesser opponent (that should be a win), and one power 5 top dog opponent (that could only help, but a loss wouldn’t hurt). This way, we should end up 3-1 heading into conference games. I read how much emphasis is put on bowl games and the impact on recruiting- why not set ourselves up for success with more likely wins.

    5) I’m not a religious guy, but I’ve been a pitt fan for long enough to question what the hell pitt did to the other worldly to deserve what we’ve had to endure.

    Again, thanks for your time and commitment to what I love the most (other than family), and I hope you fellas have a great time at the golf tourney.

    Godspeed!

    Like

  63. As usual lots of grist for the mill on POV. Agree with most of Reeds observations, unfortunatly, and have given up on seeing a turnaround in my life( at 79+) thats why I so hope Narduzzie can do something but so far I do not see it. I have looked at other ACC schools like Duke and Wake Forest with their small stadiums and crowds,I look at the resurgance of a Temple program and I think back to the 70s and 80s at Pitt . It all starts at the top. Gwyllum Price was Chairman of the Pitt BOT in the 80s and if not enough tickets were sold for a game he bought out the rest and donated them to his Westinghouse employees(for the unwashed he was also Chairman of the Board of the 2nd biggest electrical mfg, in the world at the time). You need dedication at the top for football to survive. In 1999 the Pitt football press guide had a Pitt football history. It read like a horror story to me . Pitt administrations have always had a love hate relationship with football and that is why they lost 2 of the greatest coaches and winingest coaches of all time ie Warner and Southerland. Can you believe they demphisized football because they had hopes of getting onto the BIG conference while Pitt was the football power of the country. Pitt has shot itself in the foot so often they have no feet.If they really wanted a progarm they would pony up to hire a top proven coach and give him a budget and a schedule to do the job. Heather should print us out and give a copy to each board member. Oh and by the way after paying for a stadium or field house at Robert Morris UPMC is out buying more hospitals to screw Blue cross and AGH systems using the advantage of their non profit status . But we can not afford anOCS.

    Like

  64. About merchandise and Pittsburgh- I routinely wear Pitt gear here in Richmond, and also routinely (50%) get asked how I think the Steelers will/are doing.

    Tom T

    Like

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