Rivals.com just did a poll on its message board asking Pitt fans to vote for who they thought was the best Pitt head coach going back to Foge Fazio.  I didn’t vote because I was overseas for most of the 1980s and ’90s and couldn’t follow Pitt football except for the scores… but lots of Pitt fans did.

Here is the link if you can use it – it may be behind a paywall.

One of our readers who wishes to remain anonymous sent me a detailed email with his thoughts on this matter and here they are:

Today I spotted a poll on Pantherlair about the best Pitt coaches excluding the well known highly successful ones such as Sherrill, Majors, Warner, and Sutherland.  What world of ignorance or just too young to know why things happened was my reaction.

 Why is that people don’t understand as to what happened and why these coaches succeeded or failed?

 Foge Fazio:

 Very likable DC under Sherrill, everybody loved him plus he was a former Pitt player.  What Foge lacked was experience as a head coach so what he continued to do was be “everyone’s best buddy” and that didn’t work with the cast of talented and head strong team under his command. Players got into trouble as so many were destined to be in the NFL. He simply couldn’t handle offending and losing personal relationships. He was a great defensive coach and excellent lieutenant but not general.

 Mike Gottfried:

 Gottfried came from Kansas as head coach of all places.  By Pitt standards, he was affordable, younger, and a former QB who was known for offense. Frankly, he worried a lot of Pitt fans as being so outside of the Tri-State recruiting grounds that he might fall flat. He didn’t fall flat as a recruiter thanks to BUD RATLIFF, the recruiting director. Ratliff was ranked as one of the top five recruiters in the country!! Imagine if Ratliff had been with Sherrill, Pitt would have made dust of Ohio State, PSU, and USC.  Look at the talent that Ratliff brought to Pitt.  So many of those recruits went on to the NFL.  Gottfried’s teams were three deep in potential NFL players. 

 What people forget was the game day coaching by Gottfried.  He didn’t overwhelm teams despite all the talent at hand. There were issues with his coordinators including one from Michigan that almost got Pitt noted by the NCAA.

 The real undoing of Mike Gottfried was his emotional makeup. He would walk in the rain for hours after a loss or being out of communications if upset. Then there were the rumors about a little unsavory fraternization (edit note: true) .  Put together and MG was no longer what Pitt’s administration wanted.  Of course, there was a betrayal by OC Paul Hackett who wanted to replace Gottfried asap.  That didn’t turn out well for Pitt.

 Walt Harris:

 Harris clearly saved Pitt from ending football by finding ways to keep Pitt competitive. No one seems to recall that his only head coaching experience was at Pacific University which disbanded football. He was Ohio State’s QB coach, not Offensive Coordinator, when he was hired to Pitt. He stayed with Ohio State for their bowl game and never got out of the gate with choosing assistants or recruiting until after the game, a la Todd Graham type of start.

 Yes, Walt Harris had good passing and QB coaching abilities, but he never had strong rapport with Western PA coaches when Western PA still had a lot of talent. He made some mediocre quarterbacks look far better than they were but he also distained the running game for the passing game. Also, his defenses were mediocre, not able to stop teams. Now, he is the Gold Standard to many Pitt fans.  Give me a break.  He is a nice guy and he also had a problem at Pitt that went beyond his agent mouthing off about Harris’s better opportunities elsewhere.  There were many stories about his marriage that didn’t help him with the administration.  As for his recruiting, he appealed to those wanting a strong passing offense but that was it.  He was not a natural recruiter.

 Dave Wannstedt:

 People don’t recall that there was a lot of controversy about Pitt hiring DW.  He was disliked in Miami and never had a good relationship with his Hall of Fame QB, Dan Marino, a Pitt guy. What made DW attractive to Nordenberg was his strong love of Pitt, donations, and hosting fund raisers for Nordenberg.  Oh yes, he did have some National Championship rings plus a NFL Championship ring.  Dave definitely is and was a likable guy who loved Pitt and his home town of Pittsburgh. That alone made him very unique for Pitt.

 Game day coaching for DW was mediocre to be kind, but he could make a huge splash in recruiting with his rings, love of Pitt, NFL experience, media exposure, and being a Pennsylvania kid.  Give him all the credit in the world for being the type of guy who might have remained at Pitt until retirement. I might add that there were no bad stories about DW or his family at any time. He was just a damn good guy and had the local accent to a tee.

 What the fools voting forget is how rude and insulting Pitt fans were to DW’s family. One bragged about getting into an elevator at Heinz and bad mouthing Wannstedt with DW’s wife and kids in the elevator. Pitt fans were evenly split on getting rid of him and his game day coaching or loving him to stay forever.

 What undid DW was the actions of those he recruited, not his game day coaching. Players being arrested and Pitt getting horrible press about the police reports and bar fights was the final straw for the administration.

 Paul Chryst:

 When PC was hired, no one could figure out why other than Barry Alvarez recommending him to the administration. Alvarez wanted the Pitt job at one point in his career, so the administration knew him and knew how well he had done at Wisconsin, so why not take his recommendation.  Plus, the price was right after the mess in coaches after DW’s exit.  PC wasn’t a controversial figure or showboat.  He was quiet with a good sense of humor but hardly what someone would call “pushy” in the age of flamboyant head coaches.

 What PC knew was offense and he knew that Pitt needed line talent badly so that was his strength. PC never recruited bad actors or kids with character issues. He cared deeply about a kid’s family, his respect for his family, and loyalty to a commitment. PC was an all around good guy if not an exciting head line grabbing coach.

 When PC left, he didn’t leave the cupboard bare. He didn’t leave problem players. He might have been a multi-decade coach at Pitt if his alma mater and Alvarez didn’t call for him to return to Wisconsin to lead the program. He sure didn’t hurt Pitt other than the departure before people wanted.

 Pat Narduzzi:

 Nobody was whining when Pitt had two back to back eight win seasons, despite having a less than stellar defense. Last year was a big disappointment and I won’t sugar coat it that “if and what if” might have been the difference.  A staff shakeout was needed and give credit that it was done. This year we’ll see how that works out.

 Recruiting wise, we still have to wait to see what happens this year. If enough people who know Florida say that the kids who committed are really good, then many of them will get an additional star in their senior seasons. So, what is missing?

 Yes, PN is more clandestine than his predecessors in preparation for games. Ok, maybe that was how they did things at MSU, maybe not. While it makes the life of some sports writers more difficult, that doesn’t mean that he dislikes them or that he is trying to be difficult. 

 There are no bad faith or bad acts by PN or his players that he doesn’t address. This administration is very happy with him.  He is doing things the right way.

As of 8:00 pm the results were close with Gottfried, Harris and Wannstedt in the top three spots respectively.  I won’t write on this but will say I agree with most of the above… some not so much though.

186 thoughts on “Rivals’ Pitt HC Poll; Who is the Best?

  1. Only coach to win 10 in my lifetime, best recruiter aside from few exceptions got who he wanted from Wpial. He was likeable and open viewed Pitt as a destination job. Make fun of me all you want wish he was still the coach.

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  2. Walt Harris will always be a favorite of mine for the turn- around he orchestrated. I mean the Majors II era was really bleak…

    My memory of Gottfried’s teams was them effortlessly moving the ball down to the 20, then struggling. But I was a fan.

    Ran across this article on verbal commit Brandon Hill. He was ranked as the No. 11 player in central Florida in the Orlando Sentinel’s Super60… Not bad.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/spor…0701-story,amp.html?__twitter_impression=true

    Go Pitt!

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  3. Gottfried gets my vote.

    He didn’t have three-deep talent but was certainly was building a good program. Some head-scratching losses in 1987 but he was 2-2 versus Holtz and Paterno. Gottfried was also 2-2 versus Temple, thus the frustration.

    Mike had a QB in Van Pelt and a coordinator in Hackett to really build a strong program around that still had to face difficult schedules tough.

    Wannstedt gets my vote for second place and these two men should have been the only two coaches at Pitt since 1986 if the university treated football like a business and not a toy. Wannstedt would have been No. 1 on this list had he landed Thaddeus Lewis in 2006. He was the type of QB who would have won more games for Pitt and taken Pitt to possibly four-consecutive BCS games.

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  4. It will be interesting to see the final tallies! I agree with the top 3 listed in the above article, just not sure what order I would place them.
    Reed, thanks for the article.
    PM4

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  5. I graduated from Pitt in 1985. If I was forced to vote with a gun to my head, I’d choose Wanny. But truthfully, Pitt has not had a good FB coach since I was in school.

    That is a very sad statement.

    Oh, and Pitt tore down their OC stadium in the processional of poor coaching choices.

    Thank you sirs, may I have another?

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  6. Wannstedt.

    I can live with some unsavory characters, if we are winning football games. No murderers, rapists or thieves. But, the occasional bar fight, or throwing someone through a glass window on the Southside, I can live with. After getting the talent back in place, he was always going to get 8-9 wins and the occasional 10-11 wins. I’m not sure what else we can ask for.

    His losses were heartbreaking. Half of it was because of the way that we lost, and the other half was because of what was at stake. But at least something was AT STAKE.

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  7. Gottfried for me too. He was the coach during my school years at Pitt and I had the pleasure of seeing in person, his Cincinnati team beat PSU in a shocker at Happy Valley in the early to mid 90s. Too bad his time at Pitt was so short !

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  8. Nate above mentioned AVP as the QB for Mike Gottfried but I also remember John Congemi, who was a pretty solid college QB.

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  9. If DW had signed Tom Savage out of HS he would still be coaching Pitt. For all his recruiting power he was never able to solve the QB issue.

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  10. No. 1 Gottfried. No. 2 Wannstedt. No. 3 Harris.

    Allusions to Gottfried having an affair with a co-ed used to bounce around; allusion about a conflict with Pitt administration raising academic requirements and raising Mike’s ire, leading to his firing; allusion in this fine article about Hackett being disloyal to Mike and spreading tales to get him fired.

    How about Harris allegedly having an affair with a woman who worked in one of the Pitt offices that got so blatant that whatever his coaching frailties the affair cinched his firing?

    Are any of these stories true? I have read in the past that after leaving Pitt and becoming a TV football commentator, Mike got religion and was very public about it. I read now that Harris is still in the Pittsburgh area and still seems interested in what goes on at Pitt.

    Any truth to any of this stuff? Or are these stories like what Macbeth utters when he says, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

    Sometimes when I hear the talking heads on sports radio and TV going on and on, I am reminded of these words. If truth is being uttered, I can handle it. When innuendo and rumor persist, then I remember these words of Macbeth. And my head aches and aches and aches….

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    1. They are true and Pitt, as we have seen, has a very low tolerance for off-road bad behavior.

      You have to remember Rule #1 as it pertains to Pitt football – “Do not embarrass the University”.

      Other schools may have overlooked some of the above indiscretions but Pitt doesn’t put football on a pedestal as other schools do.

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  11. One thing that stands out to me is that other than Paul Chryst, Pitt is where head coaching careers go to die.

    Only Fazio followed up with a brilliant DC career in the pros. Harris was a disaster at Stanford. The others just faded away.

    All of these guys had their strengths, but will mostly be remembered for their failures and weaknesses while at Pitt.

    Wanny probably wins by comparison for the 10 wins, but will be remembered for kicking to Gilyard and the SI article.

    Chryst with the only success as a head coach after Pitt.

    Narduzzi is the only guy who’s story is yet to be written, most are on the fence of whether he will succeed or fail.

    History tells us it will be an uphill battle.

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  12. The article on the best ACC players tells me how little I know about the ACC and how poor a job the ACC does at marketing, not many household names in that group. Really need an ACC Network.

    Maybe it is me, I don’t follow sports like I used to but it seems like I knew our opponents players much more in the past. Part of it was that PSU and WV are local, but I also knew the Big East guys much better than I know the ACC.

    Also the fact that Idowu is our marquis player really supports the point that Narduzzi has not recruited the elite players. Hopefully Pickett and/or Ford can change that this year.

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  13. Looking at the candidates is it any wonder we are mediocre? Each has severe flaws.
    1) Nicest guy. Foge, hands down. If there was one guy I wished would have succeeded it was him. I think he really needed a Jackie Sherrill type assistant, someone who would be the hatchet man.
    2) Wanny. Well he loved the school and could recruit, but honestly, that deer in the headlights look on game day should have shaken anyone’s confidence. And he never seemed to understand the college game. Coached like the NFL, ultra conservative.
    3) Gottfried. I really didn’t like the hire, but he won me over after one PSU game we lost. He was so pissed off after one of Joes stunts that he could be heard saying we will NEVER lose to that team again! No buddy buddy with the Pedo master.
    4) All the rest. All of them were somewhat knee jerk,reactions to fix the previous hire mistakes. Hackett to appease the “We are a football factory academics. Johnny lol to fix the we stink Hackett mess. Walt to save the program from Johnny Walker Red. Wanny to put a fence around Western Pa. and have a Pitt man in charge. Fraud to…. well, not sure exactly what reason other than we needed a warm body with somewhat of a name after the Peanut Head Freddy Kruger mess. Chryst to clean up the Fraud debacle,and the Duzz to,continue the lineage of successful BiG assistants in the ACC. Like I said, any wonder??

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      1. Yes, excellent summation. I was Majors’ bartender at the Encore in Shadyside (I worked there for 18 months while I was 20-21… Different times back then) and, yes, he was quite a lush… But always the southern gentleman.

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    1. Re: Wannstedt, my uncle was also a big proponent of the idea that his gameday demeanor (somewhere between pre-panic attack and pre-heart attack, it appeared most games) was a big problem, likely affected the psyche of the team, and probably was one reason (among many) that they had so many problems winning close games with him at the helm. I have to say, I don’t think this theory was without merit. He probably could have managed to beat Notre Dame a time or two if someone had had the foresight to slip him a Patton biography and then make sure he actually read it.

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  14. Gottfried and Wanny could really recruit but neither were very good game day coaches.
    Foge had a great defensive mind and could really coach D
    But the best coach goes to Walt for saving the program
    Without Walt, Pitt football wouldnt exist today in the ACC
    Imagine another 4-5 year run of 3 win seasons like Pitt had under Majors 2
    No coach would want to come here and Pitt would be lucky to land a 3 star recruit
    Most likely this would have forced Pitt’s hand and Pitt would have relegated themselves to the MAC

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    1. Pitt fans don’t realize how close Pitt came to either dropping down to D2 or disbanding at a couple of semi-recent historical points.

      I’ll say this – if Majors II had the same problems with off the field issues with his players that DW had things might be very different today.

      It would take a major or criminal scandal to do that now that we are established in the ACC, but back in ’96 with Pitt stadium never going to be remodeled that decision would have been much easier than it would be today.

      But lets don’t kid ourselves that football is untouchable here – after all we fired our two winnings coaches in recent history because of off-field issues.

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  15. Depressing thread. Lack of good coaches and lack of play making QB’s are two big reason why Pitt football hasn’t been any good for a long time.

    Pitt Admin got what they paid for…………

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  16. Walt would get my vote mainly because of what he did in his first 5 years. He did let the program slip in his last couple of years despite the fact Pitt had its only BCS Bowl in his final year (winning a 4-team tiebreaker in a watered-down 7-team league.) I would say 2002 was the best Pitt team in the post Foge era followed closely by 2009.

    wwb

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  17. As I mentioned previously, with Pitt mired in the middle of the AC pack, they see is no need for loyalty or commitment to any one coach. They could replace Narduzzi and be right back in the middle pretty quickly. It would be a different story if they had a succssful coach like JoePa who pretty much ran the university and they couldn’t get rid of him. Wanny is my choice for best coach because he could recruit and sooner or later would have figured the college game out. The problem is that Pitt has never shown any of these coaches (except maybe Majors II) sufficient loyalty to get past one indiscretion and move on. If they had, there are several of these coaches who could have done well long term.

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    1. Id bring Wanny back. Under the pretense he takes it witha hometown discount and is figure head and gets the 4-5 stars. Stud OC that runs show and takes chances. Under that formula we could be in running. No one else recruited like him.

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        1. I agree with your sentiment in theory. Its one I had hoped he would have followed during his time at Pitt. The problem was that he couldn’t fully cede control of the offense to his OCs. Lets say he was willing to hand over control of the offense – what stud OC would want to come work for a guy with a propensity to punt the ball on 4th and 1 than go for it on the opponents 40 yard line?

          How about flipping it around? Go find the stud OC, make him HC and hire the Stache as DC and make him Assistant HC so you can pay him more than just a DC?

          His star has fallen enough since he was here that perhaps he’d consider it. A different AD, Chancellor than his first go around.

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  18. Who knows, will Pitt try to get into the Ivy League again, or is the ACC money too good?

    Wannstedt had Pitt in his heart.

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  19. Reed – although I agree with your 9am post, I shake my head when I hear that Pitt was thinking about folding a program with a rich history because of off the field issues. My sense it was more financial. If you think that there is not research misconduct, student misconduct, sexual misconduct and ethical violations and other embarrassing anomalies currently going on at the university, I have some land for you. Those things happened and continue to happen in higher education (Dairy College, Michigan State, USC, etc.) and many other institutions. Those things just don’t hit the mainstream news.

    Pitt has a conservative culture when it comes to running their business and it shows through their hiring of key individuals. Safe hirings instead of the best hirings. Hopefully things change. Noone ever got rich by saving money. You invest it. Pitt has gone 35 years without investing in its sports teams and as such, have not enjoyed the success and opportunities a solid sports program brings to a university.

    Another reason you invest in a multi-purpose on campus stadium. Another reason you invest in the best coaches. I wonder how many basketball season tickets have been purchased since the hiring of Capel III.

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  20. I think Not My Fault Walt gets too much credit for saving the program. Pitt FB was so bad any decent coach would have been an improvement. Walt lost me when Pitt lost to Texas A&M 14-12 because they couldn’t successfully line up correctly for the Swinging Gate extra point not once but TWICE, and then had to kick a 30-yard extra point which naturally was wide. And you can’t disregard the horrendous job he did at Stanford.

    And Wanny never won a conference title in six years (plenty of time to do so) in by far the weakest, smallest (at the time Power 6) conference. If he was such a good recruiter how did we consistently lose to the likes of UConn and Cincinnati?

    None of the coaches should win this award as all had many more blemishes that not.

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    1. DJ, in Wanny’s time at Pitt, these were his rival BE coaches

      WVU – Rodriquez
      Rutgers – Schiano
      UConn – Edsall
      Lousiville – Petrino
      USF – Leavitt
      Cincy – Dantonio / B Kelly

      and if you at the FB history of these programs, they all had their best success within the time period of 2005 and 2011.

      In 2006, the BE had 5 teams finished ranked with 3 of them in the Top 12 ….. WVU, Louisville and Rutgers

      wwb

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      1. proves to me that the Big East wasnt as week as everyone thinks. I’d argue it was tougher than todays Coastal in the ACC

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  21. Reed. Did you know a guy at the encore named Bobby Davis? I worked at Heaven as a bar keep and he was my manager. Encore had good jazz

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  22. Seems that many have the feeling that this list is nothing much to write home about. What’s interesting is that all of them had rather short stints as PITT’s head coach. All except for Foge the coach was let go while the team had begun to have some success. Most of the time the coach had something to do with the decision that prompted the dismissals. I realize 5-8 seasons is not real short but when the team is playing ok to good seems like the wrong time to me. I point this out because all the clamoring and projections if Narduzzi doesn’t break 500 again this year.

    First off, Narduzzi is not going anywhere for at least two to three years, he will be allowed to have his own home bred QB to lead the team and decisions will be made at that point. This is my opinion as I don’t have a dude telling me this, just a gut feeling that PITT may have wised up and figure it’s time to ride a head football coach out for a while.

    Wanny
    Gottfried
    Harris

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  23. Fast forward 3 years and retake the poll and Narduzzi wins. First as Dan says “none of the above” should be have included in the poll and second coaching with an All American QB running the show makes all head coaches look better.

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  24. Reed, are you saying that Pitt didn’t believe Majors could win the second time around, but hired him anyway? Wasn’t the drinking issue pretty well known at the time of hire because UT dumped him for the boozing?

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  25. Walt got a bad hand as the Big East was just starting to fall apart. It killed him on some decent recruits. If Wanny had the ACC to sell he would bring in plenty of good players.
    If they kept Wanny Pitt would be a solid top 25 program. Boy did he screw some games up, but in looking back it would have been much better to stick with him.

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  26. I was living in Boston and they had Tony Dorsett on WEII radio. They asked him if he was surprised UConn beat Pitt the night before and he answered that he did no even know UConn played football until he put the game on.

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  27. Walking down the gold lot last year going into the game after Frans tailgate with all the guys and gal when I see none other than Johnny Majors walking in the parking lot. Full suit on and he was walking in what looked like to me a determined gait. I spoke with him as we continued to walk. It was hot as hell that day but Johnny kept on marching on. Well that is until we got to this one tailgate that recognized him. They all gave him a wonderful greeting as I kept on marching to the stadium. The interesting thing that struck me is that he wasn’t in Tennessee but at a PITT game. Yea I know he may still be employed here at PITT but he was a big hero down there at one time. Wonder if he would have won more national championships if he stayed at PITT?

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  28. Reed — are you certain that Wanny was pushed out for “off-field reasons?”

    The reason I ask is that I remember a lot of consternation back then about Wanny’s coaching staff. If I recall correctly, one focus may have been the OC position. Anyway, I remember rumors of SP wanting to have some influence and wanting Wanny to make changes in the staff (something that I didn’t blame SP for pursuing at the time).

    When Wanny refused, I think it progressed to ultimatums – probably because tempers flared, especially Wanny’s (which was understandable given his connection to Pitt and his dislike for, and lack of respect for, SP…)

    Anyway, I thought the magazine article and incidents were excused for getting rid of Wanny, not the real story…

    Anyone else remember the dust-ups about Wanny’s coaching staff and SP trying to pressure Wanny about making changes??

    Go Pitt!

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    1. I do know that Wanny and SP were at odds because of the FB budget, primarily the recruiting budget, was cut in 2009.

      I also remember an ESPN article showing that Wanny was the least paid HC in the BE, partly because he diverted some of his salary to his assistants

      wwb

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  29. M&M, here’s the version I heard back then and remember it this way. Yes Reed is right that the off field troubles were a big part of the reason Wanny was shown the door and the SI article was the last straw. What he and others don’t want to talk about is the complete undermining that was done by steve as there was a very big riff between those two. and yes, steve started to come into the locker rooms after the game with sill suggestions on how to run the football program.

    It was definitely Nordenberg that fired Wanny but from orders that were from even higher up. The one thing that is not talked about is that steve had a lot to do with that SI article. He was a rat behind the scenes that fed a lot of the information to the magazine. Embellished information.

    This is how I remember the situation and I was told much of this information from people in the know down there. You know from some dude in the know. ike

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    1. Ike – SP had nothing whatsoever to do with “leaking” info to SI because the SI writers started that article – not knowing which of the last season’s Top 25 teams was going to have most arrests – way before he knew what was taking place there. They used public records that are available to the public for free – I use them all the time. The article took six months to publish.

      SI started that piece in Sept of the previous year and didn’t call to interview anyone at Pitt until two months later. But the heat was already on Wannstedt because of the Sheard incident. The finding out about the SI article just another nail in his coffin.

      But the research and the facts it uncovered had already started and was well underway way before SP even knew what SI was doing. Read the article again – all the info on SI’s text on Pitts arrests were taken almost directly from local media sources. He didn’t “leak” a thing to them.

      Seriously Ike – your complete hatred for SP leads you to make statements that just are not true and border on the little bit crazy..

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  30. When Pitt realizes no one in the world cares about off-the-field issues then I’ll believe it is serious about winning.

    Using that as a reason to fire a coach is just absurd. Listening to whiney alums who think their degrees are being soiled because of negative press will lead to even more embarrassment, which happened after Wannatedt was fired.

    If Lyke is pressured by fans to pull the plug on Narduzzi because he isn’t winning titles then brace for more mediocrity.

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  31. None of the above does not apply. You can’t compare to what you wanted.
    If you are a fat,poor slob and you only dated other fat chicks you can’t put Kate Upton on your list.

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  32. Hey Austin, you’re 100% exactly right. PITT could have easily fixed the problems in house as it’s done all the time. The problem was steve, there was a mammoth power struggle and Dave lost. If “the steve” put forth the same effort he did in undermining Wanny into helping him PITT would be a much different football program today. Strictly in my opinion.

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  33. But I can put Jackie on the list as a write in because I once dated Kate Upton. Now about that land..

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  34. From a different Anon reader:

    “Who is the best of a mediocre lot? There have been some good guys as HC, but in terms of success, the last 36 years overall have been fairly dismal. Foge Fazio took over a talented Jackie Sherrill team and went 9-2 and 8-2-1 in his first two regular seasons. No complaints there. This was followed by a 3-7-1 season and a 5-5-1 season. Mike Gottfried took over and went 5-5-1 in his first season.

    In 1987 Pitt began scheduling cupcakes, games that were supposed to be automatic wins against lesser competition. It has scheduled from 1-3 of these each season since. If you do not consider the bowl games (most of the minor bowls hardly deserve to be called that anyhow) and eliminating the cupcakes, what do Pitt’s “regular season records” look like?

    1987 7-3

    1988 5-5

    1989 6-3-1

    1990 2-7-1

    1991 5-5

    1992 2-9

    1993 2-8

    1994 2-8

    1995 1-9

    1996 3-7

    1997 5-5

    1998 0-9

    1999 3-6

    2000 5-4

    2001 4-5

    2002 5-4

    2003 6-4

    2004 6-3

    2005 4-6

    2006 3-6

    2007 3-7

    2008 8-3

    2009 7-3

    2010 5-5

    2011 4-6

    2012 4-6

    2013 4-6

    2014 4-6

    2015 6-4

    2016 6-4

    2017 3-7

    Mike Gottfried had a decent season in 1987, going 7-3 (again these are disregarding cupcake wins). Dave Wannstedt had a good season in 2008, going 8-3 (but began the season by losing to Bowling Green). He had another good season in 2009, going 7-3. Other than that? One has to wonder if adding cupcakes lowered the bar.

    The irony is that Pitt has lost a number of these cupcake games. (Hawaii in 1992, Toledo in 2003, Ohio in 2005, Bowling Green in 2008, Youngstown State in 2012, and Akron in 2014).

    Pitt football will not have “returned” until it starts having consistently winning seasons against non-cupcake opponents.”

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    1. I don’t understand, everyone schedules cupcakes. Some schedule three nowadays.

      Nothing cupcake about those schedules in the 1980s, or in 1990, which was flat-out insane.

      Then the school pulls the plug on football in 1990 and by 1993 you’re scheduling Ohio State, Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State for a group of kids comprised mostly not talented enough for D-1 football. The university has really been run by dullards for a long, long time.

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    2. I’m curious …. what was the cupcake loss in 2015 and in 2016?

      If Navy in ’15, they were ranked 21st and were favored

      If NW in 16, they were only 7 point dogs

      wwb

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  35. Reed, disagree and from what I heard at that time, steve knew that article was coming coming out beforehand and had contact with SI. You have your sources and I have mine. We will disagree here. Period. steve contributed info with sports illustrated before the story broke. It’s the very reason I despise the prick. Sorry for the difference. I had people closer to the PITT football program back in those days than I do now.

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  36. Reed, I’m not saying steve started the article, I’m saying he jumped on the pile after the research began and contributed while at the same time started undermining DW ahead of the article. SI probably contacting the cutthroat and not vice versa. This is exactly what I was told that happened. Kind of makes me a little upset you think this is a fabricated story by me. ike

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    1. But Ike – the only thing info was in the article was already made public by PGH media outlets and by public arrest records and arrest case reports – all public info. There isn’t one thing in that article that we Pitt fans and whoever else wanted to look it up would have found on their own – as the SI writers did.

      Believe me, I know exactly how they wrote that article because I’ve done stuff just like it and nothing SP could have said or done is reflected in it.

      Sorry if I offend, don’t want to, but what the public saw in the SI article is exactly what they would have found on their own if they wanted to.

      Here is the beginning text to that article:

      “Twenty-two Panthers players—the most of any team in the study—turned out to have criminal records, including four arrested for alleged violent incidents last season

      On Sept. 22, 2010, police responded to a 911 call reporting that a man was choking a woman outside a dorm at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. When officers arrived, they found Chatham student Donna Turner bent over on a porch, crying and vomiting. She identified her attacker as Jeffrey Knox, a freshman defensive back at the University of Pittsburgh.

      According to the criminal complaint, after Knox and Turner began arguing, Knox allegedly “open handed slapped Turner in the head with such force that she was thrown to the ground. Knox then jumped on her, grabbed her by the throat, picked her up by her throat and slammed her head into the wall. He held her against the wall, continuing to choke her.”

      When two female witnesses tried pulling Knox off Turner, the criminal complaint states, he threw punches at them and knocked them down. Turner later testified in a hearing that during the incident Knox threatened to kill her, a charge he denies.

      Knox was charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment. Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt promptly kicked him off the team. Knox, who will be formally arraigned on March 3, has denied all allegations through his lawyer.

      Knox is one of 22 Pitt players the SI/CBS News investigation found to have been in trouble with the law—the highest total among the 25 teams in the study. He was the fourth Panthers player arrested for a violent crime in a span between mid-July and late September of last year. On Sept. 18, redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Keith Coleman was charged with aggravated assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. Police records state that he beat up one man and body-slammed another who attempted to intervene. Coleman was suspended indefinitely. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is awaiting trial.

      Six days before Coleman’s arrest, redshirt freshman running back Jason Douglas was charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence. According to the criminal complaint, Douglas hit a male pedestrian, whom police found lying in the street, bleeding from his head and throat. After being stopped by police, Douglas stumbled from his vehicle and said, “Hey, I play for Pitt football … . Please don’t arrest me.” He was suspended from the team and has pleaded not guilty.

      And last July senior defensive end Jabaal Sheard was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest after allegedly throwing a man through the glass door of an art gallery. Authorities said that after police arrived, Sheard continued to punch the man in the face as the victim lay on his back, bleeding. Sheard was suspended from the team, but after pleading guilty in early August to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, he was reinstated for the 2010 season and had nine sacks and four forced fumbles.

      Before this rash of arrests Pitt had no formal procedure for screening football recruits. After Knox’s arrest the school implemented a policy requiring coaches to seek more detailed background information on potential players. “This evaluation is not a legal criminal background check,” the university explained to SI in a statement. “Rather, it is a checklist of questions that attempts to gain greater knowledge of behavior from a variety of people.”

      University chancellor Mark Nordenberg and athletic director Steve Pederson declined requests for comment. Wannstedt, who resigned in December for unrelated reasons, said, “Young players make mistakes, but when you’re wrong, you’re wrong.”

      What do you read there that could possibly have been ‘leaked’ by SP that the papers and radio stations hadn’t already talked about when they happened…?

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  37. I never liked Steve P at Pitt, at Nebraska and at Pitt again. The fact that Pitt hired him again was a complete joke. As I recall, there was a power struggle between Wanny and SP and SP found his power slipping. I can’t confirm that SP leaked the information for SI, but it would not surprise me. That said, SP duped the Chancellor into thinking that SP held the cards with the ACC expansion and that Pitt could handle Wanny going but would not be able to get into the ACC without SP.

    That was complete bunk, but SP sold that to the chancellor and then to sports illustrated. Wanny was the collateral damage.

    I liked Wannstedt as a recruiter and motivator, more than anyone on the list.At the end of the day, it all comes back to Pitt not prioritizing athletics, at all. That is the biggest shame. Pitt dominated for a 10 year stretch and had they used it wisely, should have formed long term relationships locally to keep the 4 and 5 star guys home, whilst expanding the recruiting footprint.

    No rich program saves money, they re-invest it to make things better.

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    1. I didn’t like SP either but feel if we are going to criticize him then lets do it on things he actually did wrong – lord knows there are enough of them.

      Lyke is head and shoulders above both he and Barnes…unless she’s on vacation right Ike? (He had her correctly pegged from Day One.)

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  38. After re-reading your comment Reed, it feels to me like you just called me a liar. Don’t tell me that steve did not know that article was going to come out beforehand and he didn’t talk with them. He did.

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    1. Of course he knew it was coming out before March because SI states in the article that they contacted both SP and the Chancellor for an interview and “they declined request for comments” before it was published.

      Now, whether or not SP talked to them after that, or even before, doesn’t matter Ike – because everything they used was already open and common knowledge. He could have told them what size underwear DW wore and how often he washed it… But it didn’t appear in print. So whatever case you are making about SP talking to them or not just doesn’t matter.

      They started the research for the article on their own anyway way back in September and no schools knew about it until they called for interviews – They didn’t start it because SP told them to do it just so Pitt would look like crap because again, they didn’t know until they did months of research who would occupy that #1 spot that Pitt ‘won’..

      You’re making it sound like SP led them in a certain direction from the very start and that isn’t the case. Not calling you a liar – just that it didn’t matter one bit if he did or didn’t anyway because it has literally zero bearing on the info they actually published in the magazine article.

      Those number of player arrests in all those 25 schools is fact Ike – that wasn’t hearsay but culled from court documents and Pitt having more that any other Top 25 school was a fact also – SP couldn’t have hand a hand it that whatsoever because it was the number of arrests that made them the subject of the article.

      SI didn’t just say “Hey, let’s write an article about Pitt’s problems!” – that wasn’t the premise of the article at all..The subject matter was which of the last Top 25 schools had most arrests.

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  39. Very good Huff the third. It was pure hatred between the two as steve didn’t hire the PITT alum head coach and Dave and Nordy were close. It’s why steve went over Nordy’s head working the athletic committee or the other official group of PITT people besides the BOT that controls the powers. Sorry I forget their title right now. I could say a lot more but I don’t have tangible proof that I could ever get my hands on.

    Reed, you’re wrong that I post these things because I dislike steve so much. What I’m posting is the reason I do dislike him so. See the difference?

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  40. Ya know Reed, sometimes we get much better pub from out of town papers than the local rags. Could you ever, I mean EVER see Cook writing anything close to that?

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  41. Reed, I take no offense to such a good friend. Please know I’m not talking about the arrests in any manner. I understand that most would have been for public consumption anyway. Lot’s of renegades back in those days and there definitely was trouble on campus with the players behavior. I’m saying steve abetted in the exposure process and I’ll stick with my story as I believe it to be true. steve should have been listed as a source….

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  42. I’v written this before here ……. since I began following Pitt in late 60s:

    Best Pitt AD: Steve Pedersen (1st stint)
    Worst Pitt AD: Steve Pedersen (2nd stint)

    Best Pitt FB HC: Johnny Majors (1st stint)
    Worst Pitt FB HC: Johnny Majors (2nd stint)

    (I can see an argument for Fraud being worst HC and Barnes worst AD)

    wwb

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    1. do you think PSUCKS would sell us one of their 4 star recuits? Maybe we give them the 43rd floor of the Cathedral.

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  43. My thoughts on Pitt’s recent AD history …

    SP was the AD that Pitt needed in the 90’s. The athletic department was run amok and very disorganized. SP’s strengths were as an administrator. He brought clarity and structure to the organization. He also recognized Pitt had an image problem. The ideology of Pitt being a derogatory term was a fundamental flaw of his first term. Despite what people believe, he was not the reason Pitt Stadium was torn down. That discussion had begun as early as the 80’s when Pitt joined the Big East … a basketball conference.

    By the time SP left, he had organized the athletic department and had hired well for football and basketball; bringing a level of respectability to both sports … Slightly above average. A comfort zone for our Chancellor at the time … I’ll address further down.

    Pitt was entering a new phase and needed an AD who could navigate the internal politics of the position … or, in other words, champion athletics as a key driver for the University. They hired well in Jeff Long who went big with Skip Prosser and got lucky by striking gold with Dixon. He also replaced an increasingly schitzo Walt Harris with the ultimate Pitt man, Dave Wannstache.

    Pitt athletics are trending well albeit incrementally … all the while essentially ignoring the “Olympic” sports.

    At the time, Pitt was competing for division titles in both football and basketball. They should have been set at the head coach position in both sports for years to come.

    What Pitt needed at this point was an AD who was a fundraiser who could generate a steady cashflow outside of the university budget and conference allotment and take advantage of the momentum football and basketball had.

    Instead, they hired an egomaniac administrator … again.

    In my opinion, Nordy did not like the attention athletics was drawing from academics and hired SP back when Jeff Long left to balance out the influence. An administrator could keep the lights running while walking the fine line of respectability.

    Pitt fans revolt. Football becomes a running joke followed, in short order, by the basketball program.

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  44. My thoughts:

    Foge was such an inept leader that two players (Ron Sams and Tim Lewis, I believe), held a televised press conference to complain that under Foge’s watch, starting players refused to practice and only showed up for games.

    Mike Gottfried sat next to me on a flight and offered a lengthy dissertation on how I should treat my girlfriend, a college coed. Little did I know he was speaking from firsthand experience.

    Paul ‘I can’t Hackett” not only tanked a ‘fair’ Pitt program, but torpedoed USC as well.

    Johnny 2 never should have happened. There are loads of demented has-beens inside every nursing home, sadly, and Pitt could have taken any of them at a fraction of the price and without the omnipresent stench of Weller bourbon. Talk about resurrecting a ghost. Zoiks!

    Walt Harris was an offensive guru who brought in the likes of Antonio Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald. His teams were mostly competitive, aside from the Fiesta Bowl where they were creamed by Urban Meyers boys from Utah. Now, Pitt barely squeaked into that game, but at least we played in a top four bowl game, something we’ve done once in like 35 years.

    DW – no one has done so little with so much. True, he won more games per season than anyone in the last three plus decades, and he is a Pitt man, but his game day decisions were not just puzzling, but downright painful.

    The turd from the desert, commonly called Fraud. Instead of Pitt shooting for the stars, they aimed at a stump, which they regrettably hit. He lasted one year which was one year too long.

    Potato Paul…as UPitt liked to call him, was a good guy, a decent recruiter, a great offensive mind, and had a much better defense than our current defensive guru. I doubt he would have tried to stop the run against OSU.

    Last, HCPN, with his horrid defenses, lackluster recruiting, clandestine practices and prickly, if not snarky, interviews. Yes, he won eight games his first two years, but lost bowl games to Navy, who crushed us, and Northwestern. Thus far, he has lived and died by way of the college transfer. I suspect if this season plays out like last year’s, his seat will be hotter than the current temperature.

    Now, I need a drink.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Potato Paul had much better defense here because his predecessors provided him with the players (and he didn’t have to rely om his own recruits.) Some of the players who were already here were Aaron Donald, EJuan Price, Todd Thomas, Shane Gordon, Nic Grigsby, Lafayette Pitts, Daryl Render, and K’Wuan Williams ,,,, all much better players than he recruited here, save for Maddox and possibly Galambos,

      Like

    2. The most embarrassing losses came under Chryst.

      The YSU game, a freaking 1-AA school.

      Akron.

      The Georgia Tech game in 2014 — five turnovers in the first nine plays. A defense that gave up over 500 yards on the ground to the Yellow Jackets! Five hundred!

      Then the awful bowl loss to Houston. Up 31-13 and Rudolph throws twice that stopped the clock and settled for a FG. How about running twice and taking another minute-plus off the clock and then kick the FG? Brilliant! How about Boyd up front to catch the onside kick, not behind Grigsby.

      At least Wanny knew to place the ball in the middle of the field to kick the game winner versus North Carolina in the bowl game. Oh, Potato Paul had Voytik run to the sidelines in the Duke game before Blewitt choked on his 26-yard FG. I think the kid was stunned at what his coach just did. Duke and Akron should have been wins and an 8-4 record in 2014. Paul at most should have gone 25-13 in his three seasons, not 19-19.

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      1. That’s a tough call to me. I’d call it a tie. They all had bad and embarrassing losses… Wanny — Ouch!

        Don’t want to think about them…

        Go Pitt.

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  45. @Gasman Well said. That pretty much is where I’m at. Looking back its hard to believe that Matt Freaking House had better defense statistically than Narduzzi. But it really happened.

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  46. Gasman, now I need a drink too. But I’m still on vacation so that’s ok…and the ND running back Holmes is a walk on at PSUx I believe.

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    1. PSUx upgraded Holmes to a 4 star.

      Is it possible that Miles Sanders is not the answer?

      And the beat goes on…

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  47. Oh how we forget those 4th quarter defenses under House and how the offense (top 5 TOP) was Pitt’s best defense … and how that TOP oriented offense couldn’t finish out games. This, three consecutive 6 win seasons.

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  48. Lovely – PSU has a 5 Star LB and a 4 Star LB all while we have a 23 year old Pontoon Boat First Mate LB starting. Keep Tweeting Narduzzi at least you are good at something.

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    1. Hahaha. What 23 wants to even be in college. Why did Narduzzi suspend him last year? Only panther who gets a sr. Discount on his coffee at McDonalds.

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      1. There are plenty of redshirt seniors in college who are 23. Plenty at that age want to be in college holding onto the best times of their life before the real world hits.

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          1. And he was dating a 14-year-old girl when in school.

            Yuck. If you’re going to lie about your age and go back to high school, do it far, far away from where you grew up so nobody recognizes you.

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  49. You’re getting closer Mark. Wirginis is not 25 and he’s not 23 he’s 22 years old and will be making money next year in the NFL. Make a little note of that

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    1. LMAO – IKE – He is 23 next year and at that age is a NFL veteran. He is to slow to be in the NFL. God Bless you Pitt glasses.

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  50. Happy Fourth of July to the POV nation…I watched a fireworks show in George Zambelli’s Hilton room in the Burg several years back. George whispered in my ear..”This is America’s greatest holiday. Never forget that !” (emphasis on America) That was the last shoot that George would witness as he passed a few months later.

    Get out those M-80’s,cherry bombs, bottle rockets, roman candles, carbide cannons and rock the 4th….In the
    1960’s North Apollo Pa sounded like a war zone on the 4th…those were the days my friends……

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  51. Chryst running Voytik sideways against Duke was one of the dumbest plays I have ever witnessed. Narduzzi not a having a deep kick returner probably ranks first though.

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  52. Hey Bernie, I told my family they could have Christmas, Thanksgiving or any other holiday, the 4th of July is mine. Anyone who wants to see me knows where they will find me. Pool side with a cold one as it’s a day I don’t get into trouble for drinking a beer aside from my PITT games. (I treat PITT games like the 4th of July)

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  53. I have no issues with Wirginis age. I just hope he’s completely focused after being suspended for a whole year, not sure what he did. Early in his career he didn’t start many games. Hope he turns it on this year.

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  54. The victory lights are nice after a Pitt win but they are a weak signal. In addition to them, we need a large display of fireworks to go off from the Cathedral top even if its daylight.

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  55. BJ, QW was suspended for the first three games only, the story was while in suspension he hurt himself in of all things a water sport. The rumor and I clarify, just what I heard from a reliable source it was performance enhancers that got him into trouble. Reed, if I overstepped any boundaries here feel free to delete the comment and or ban me. Not sure what I was allowed to say about this.

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    1. Ike – regarding Wirginis. Yes, that is the story circulating…that he tested positive for PEDs. But if so it was a Pitt administered test and not a NCAA mandated one because in that case he would have been suspended for the season… or was it? Here is a scenario for Player X…

      Let’s say that Player X was suspended on July 28th then two months later he was “injured” for the season. Now this isn’t verified in any way but I suspect that Player X would have had a NCAA mandated test in July and failed it, but the school would have appealed to the NCAA based on what type of “non-street drugs” were found in his system and was denied the appeal.

      Here is the NCAA regulation covering banned substances:

      The first step in the process is for an NCAA institution to schedule an exit test with the National Center for Drug Free Sport, Inc. (Drug Free Sport) by calling 816/474-8655. For student-athletes who test positive for a substance in a banned drug class other than “street drugs,” the mandatory exit test may occur no sooner than the 11th month of the minimum one-year period of ineligibility. For student-athletes who test positive for a substance in the banned drug class “street drugs,” the mandatory exit test may occur no sooner than six weeks from the end of the minimum 50 percent of a season of eligibility. The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff will receive a copy of all exit test results from Drug Free Sport. The student-athlete’s institution must then submit a student-athlete reinstatement request through the RSRO system using “Ineligibility for Use of Banned Drugs” as the sub-case type. Please note, the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement may impose additional conditions for reinstatement of eligibility or may conclude that reinstatement is in­appropriate.

      Note the sentence: ” For student-athletes who test positive for a substance in a banned drug class other than “street drugs,” the mandatory exit test may occur no sooner than the 11th month of the minimum one-year period of ineligibility.”

      Which means than if Player X tested positive for PEDs in July of ’17 then in June of 2018 (the 11th month of the year of eligibility) Player X had to have another NCAA test to be re-instated and X obviously passed it…if indeed that was the scenario. Not saying that happened with Wirginis just that I’ve wondered about it back when it was stated he was ‘injured’.

      But this is all just wondering if it went down that way – not firm info at all and of course due to student privacy issues Pitt can’t share any details of a player’s non-football related stuff publicly anyway so we’ll never know.

      Either way he’s back on the roster, healthy and starting at MLB so good for him.

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  56. UPitt — I suspect you and many Pitt fans will be pleasantly surprised by the play of Q. Wirginis this season.

    He’s big, fast, and tough like we haven’t seen since Scott McKillop, IMHO.

    GO Pitt!

    (I know, I know, so why didn’t QW beat out Galambos….

    Everything has it’s time.)

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      1. I thought I had beat you to it, Reed! 😊

        “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”

        The “season” will be here before we know it.

        Go Pitt!

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  57. @BigB – Spent a couple years back in the day in North Apollo, BigB!! It was when the links course was first rolled out. Nice track. The mention of M-80’s made me reflect on a time in my life that was quite carefree.

    Best July 4th party I ever attended was a small gathering of Penguin players, (mostly Canadians), that brought all kind of fireworks to the U.S. as well as some canadian beer. As the night grew long and the beers were consumed, the players started tossing fireworks at one another, each relying on their cat like reflexes to get away from the exploding crackers. One of the Penguins star players was clipped with a small firework and went in chase of the offending tosser, stopped, lit an M-80 and dropped it in the players open moonroof of his sports car, causing a large explosion and small fire. Police were called and party disbursed. There was stuffing flying everywhere! Nearly peed myself laughing. Could have been the canadian beer too.

    Be careful out there tonight and tomorrow night folks! We were lucky.

    Like

    1. Huff — we’re any of Wanny’s players there?

      Just kidding. Of course I’m a Wanny fan – he was a Panther!

      Go Pitt!

      Like

    1. I remember vividly Matt quitting on a play in the 56-28 loss to Georgia Tech in 2014. Tech was moving the ball right to left on TV. Not a knock on him since he was a solid player and did his best. I only mention it because so many say the players quit on Wannstedt in the WVU game, which I never believed. It was only used to help justify his firing.

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        1. Yes I did, here in Austin, Texas.

          Five or six turnovers did Pitt in, not quitting.

          So answer me this, Pitt didn’t quit the next week versus Cincinnati. Don’t tell me the Bearcats were a four-win team. Pitt has played down and lost to the competition plenty of times.

          Did the team decide to play hard because it was snowing and it would be fun to score TDs to make snow angels? That is the only reason then for not quitting in that game.

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  58. Looking back through Pitt’s history of coaches is fine, if you’re into that, but I’m looking at Pitt’s potential for our future. If only we could find an up & coming head coach who had the ability to put the pedal to the metal while taking Pitt out into the passing lane to the next level. Somebody that could evolve our offense into a high octane scoring machine with explosive plays time & again.

    It would be great if he had family ties to Western PA as well so that he’d look at the Pitt job as a longterm destination opportunity. If we could just find a guy like that we wouldn’t have to worry about hiring another coach for like,,,, forever. 😉

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  59. Young coaches are by definition risky. They have very little real track record, and must rely on recommendations and recent employers for insight. Some POVers may not be real optimistic but we must ride it out with Narduzzi for the next 2-3 years and hope for a breakthrough.

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    1. Not at a $3.3M per year contract you don’t.

      If Pitt “rides it out” at that price, or even thinks about it now, that AD needs to be canned tomorrow.

      If PN has another losing season you cut losses and get someone a lot cheaper…who will inherit a poor roster left to him.

      Like

      1. Don’t be a hater Reed. Myself, I’m holding Nard Dog’s feet to the fire with a bar set at 8 wins (hopefully with a bowl win THIS season). However four years is just too short a track record for firing a guy who has first cut his teeth as a HC here at Pitt & who has kept the program above .500 in the process up to this point.

        Narduzzi’s seat gets hot with another 5-7 type year for sure but until next season, when all of the starters are his recruits, the final thumbs up or thrumbs down verdict should be withheld.

        That is unless you enjoy watching the revolving door of coaching changes go round & round here at Pitt.

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        1. C’mon Tom – four years is more than enough time to get a real and accurate sense of how the program is faring under a HC – and I mean from the AD’s intimate position and perspective and not how we fans think and feel.

          If what Lyke sees, hears and knows about the HC and the state of the program and if the team is struggling on the field then the AD should make the decision that best benefits the university. If that is to cut our losses at four years and dump a rather hefty (for Pitt) salary then by all means it should be done.

          We fans don’t have to look at the 360 degrees of that situation but the AD does. I’m not advocating he goes after next year but he shouldn’t be teflon either.

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          1. The school cannot expect big results in Year Four when giving a coach what is considered the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. Throw in the ACC games and seven wins is no guarantee.

            Smart school administrators do not schedule three tough games.

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      2. You realize what the cost would be to pay off Narduzzi, his assistants, the buyout for the next coach, his salary, staff and facility demands? Pitt can only hire an assistant who doesn’t have to be bought out and can deal with the empty yellow seats.

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        1. Yes, it is called the cost of doing business.

          Pitt’s assistants don’t have buyout clauses.

          Pitt HCs have always dealt with yellow seats – Narduzzi is no different as our attendance hasn’t jumped much if at all since he’s been here.

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          1. Pitt assistants would not walk away empty handed. They don’t in basketball so why is football different?

            Pitt continues to show incompetence by firing coaches who have winning records overall while operating on the cheap, which is how Pitt does business while expecting top-notch results.

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  60. Narduzzi is from Youngstown, the folks over there think they live in a Pittsburgh suburb just like Stuebenville.

    Galambos lacks speed but more importantly he mostly took bad angles to make up for the lack of his speed and especially quickness. Jerry O comes to mind. Maybe quicker than MG but he had way better football sense.

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  61. Now we’re firing the AD after a couple of years? I get the difference of what we all want to happen and what has an even slight realistic chance of happening. I think this must be where I get stuck. Narduzzi and Lyke are not going anywhere (except vacation) anytime soon. Well at least when it comes to a decision made by PITT.

    Actually, I’ve been following messages boards for a long time and I have never seen so much vitriol towards a head coach that really doesn’t deserve it. It truely boggles my mind… ike

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      1. You guys and your praise for a 5-7 Coach who won with Paul’s players. When he doesn’t go .500 this year remember your it takes 5 years junk.

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  62. Pitt’s got a tough row to hoe this season, facing 7 or 8 top 30 QBs (preseason QB rating according to CBS Sports). Still, the expectation has to be for improvement throughout the season AND more wins than last year.

    Concerns are numerous: Is the new D coordinator up to the task; the new D coordinator will run things a little differently – will players adjust quickly; is Watson the real deal; no experience or depth in several key positions on offense; difficult schedule early on, so no chance to break-in young offense; can we keep key players like our QB injury free; will the O-line be adequate; etc.

    This will be a fun, frustrating, interesting season for sure. The coaches – especially Narduzzi – will need to earn their keep if we are to win 6 or 8 games.

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    1. I dont dislike him. But he’s getting paid big bucks now. He should be doing a better job recruiting. And lets hope that 5 win season last year isnt the beginning of a new baseline. Personally, I dont see him winning more than 6 games this year. Mediocre results with decent pay gets one fired.

      Like

  63. Ike – that’s because you refuse to see certain things – one is the alienation of the fan base. Pitt fans haven’t’ had a HC who closed practices before and I clearly see that during the spring and fall camps the fans feel like they are being ignored. Which they absolutely are being.

    I’ve said many times that for a school that has such a precarious hold on their fan base’s interest and which sucks at raising alumni and fan donations it is exactly the wrong thing to do. Pitt fans aren’t stupid Ike – they know football and they know what makes a good HC and at Pitt the best HCs we have had embraced both fans and the media instead of keeping them in the dark.

    That bleeds over into other areas such as just watching a team win only five games first the first time in a decade… and for those who don’t have blue and gold glasses on all the time… the clear drop off in recruiting since he’s been here.

    Last year we didn’t have one player who played out the season in star fashion. And when you have three bona-fide star players on the roster who had fantastic years before 2017 – O’Neill, Whitehead and Henderson – it gets fans thinking there is something rotten in Denmark.

    Ever ask yourself why we have so many transfers, dismissals and those guys mentioned above who played like average kids then bolted as soon as they could under Narduzzi? Might be something worth thinking about. You know Whitehead and Henderson would have benefited with another year in college but… either they couldn’t or wouldn’t.

    You always see the bright side of things and good for you my friend. But for fans who look at the Pitt program is a more critical way – in the true sense of the word “critic” – there are a lot of very serious question marks not just going into the 2018 season but in the direction the program itself is heading.

    Two eight wins seasons are great…but when you go from that to five wins that is a huge drop off and makes fans wonder why… and the conclusion they come to is the lack of his own recruits stepping up and doing well. Or, in Narduzzi’s case, keeping his own recruits down with silly stop-gap measure transfers – some who Pitt shouldn’t even have considered bringing onto the roster in the first place.

    You seem to think just because he’s Narduzzi he’s untouchable and he sure isn’t. UPitt had it right when he said PN is a Yinzer from around WPA and fits the mold of what Pitt fans want – truthfully the exact opposite of Paul Chryst who fans disliked because he wasn’t that way. But if he’s not winning more games then he’s losing you have to get rid of him because that will be proof his recruiting is subpar and things won’t get better with him at the helm.

    So – yeah, fans want to see real solid results with his own players before they jump up and down about him being our HC as well they should. If he wins 7-8 this season and those thoughts will be tamped down and go more smoothly for him.

    But right now – tons of valid concerns about the team and the program.

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  64. Boy is this season shaping up to be a real emotional one for me. So at the risk of repeating myself with video’s . Which one of these will I be doing after this next season

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  65. I disagree Reed with most of your comment but especially the one when you say PITT fans aren’t stupid. That’s a false narrative in my book. Of course most all of us college football fans are stupid to some point. Winning 21 regular season games in three years for a brand new head coach and then constantly pointing out bowl losses and whining that it only happened with the previous coaches players reeks of BS and quite frankly sound like steve and his dislike of Wanny. This is the type of schitt that has gotten PITT into the football doldrums for years. ike

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  66. I am more optimistic about this years team than some, but if they win 7 games I’d be amazed. They could flame out magnificently. Think those who feel we’ll win 7-8 are wishful thinkers, but that’s why they play the game.

    The way the Duzz coaches they could peak for PSU, lose, and tank the rest of the year. As a typical Pitt fan, Hope for the best, expect the worst. That pretty much sums up the past 35 years.

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  67. Is Narduzzi really making $3.3M per annum? Hadn’t seen that.

    IF Pitt media was smart, they would buy an hour on Sunday mornings on the Sunshine Sports Network in Florida and have the Narduzzi show air every week during the season, highlighting our victories and double highlighting the Florida players so the recruits see that they will have the opportunity to be on tv back home….weekly! It’s brand and exposure.

    Rutgers bought billboards when Schiano and Gandolfino chummed around.

    @TX – I personally don’t mind bringing in a 4 or 5 star grad transfer at all, so long as it doesn’t stunt the growth or playing time of a potential contributor. If you are getting a 4 or 5 star that was beaten out by another 4 or 5 star from his prior institution, I take that gamble, again, so long as it doesn’t slow down the progress of the younger player.

    Max B. was a good gamble, given what we had as his backups last year. Browne lost out against Darnold, check. We had MacPittie, Dinucci and a true freshman, Pickett. Browne was the right choice to start, but I would have had Pickett start after Browne’s injury as the other QB’s were just taking snaps away from his development and the season was a wash if you are really playing for championships. Yes, technically, Pitt was still in the running for the coastal, but that is when the coach needs to realistically look out for what’s best for the team. Now, getting a 2 star or 3 star transfer is probably not a good idea at all. If they were that good as a senior, they would have been drafted.

    This year will be different and I am interested to see how Narduzzi handles the new rules on redshirting. Had Pitt’s AD scheduled better, we would have the chance to see Patti at QB for up to 4 earlier games without running the risk of burning his redshirt, should our current qb get injured. This is not a knock on Town because I like him alot, but if your season is a wash, why not play the new kid for up to 4 games without penalty. I sure wish that rule was in place last year and we could have gotten Pickett 4 games experience and this year would be his redshirt freshman year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If he is making $3,3, then his salary was nearly doubled since the USA article had him at something like $1.86M in 2017. I would seriously doubt this figure

      wwb

      Liked by 1 person

  68. I dont get the sense of any buzz or excitement this year. I blame it on the coach and AD.

    Is Pitt marketing any break out players?
    Is Pitt showcasing the team they have?
    Can we surprise everyone and win the division?
    Can we create something to rally around?

    I think most are expecting another mediocre and dull season

    It doesnt have to be that way

    I’ll take losing a game if we are competitive and its entertaining

    Pitt just does a very poor job ginning up its base

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  69. Tx— please don’t compare Pitt BB recruiting to Pitt FB recruiting. That just does not compute.

    Pitt offers a top BB recruit everything he could want — great school, great city, packed arena of fired-up fans, playing in a top league…. What’s not to like?

    FB, on the other hand, offers all the good stuff with one exceptionally bright yellow exception. You can’t convince me the typical Pitt FB crowd doesn’t keep the elite players away from Pitt. I mean, just watch when the team comes out of the tunnel…

    And the home town elites all seem to go to Catholic schools now and can’t wait to go to ND, since Pitt has been mediocre for their entire lives…

    Okay, Saban or Meyer could recruit in spite of the yellow seat obstacle. I propose we go after one of those guys.

    Go Pitt!

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    1. I understand but I think Capel could sell the color yellow to a ketchup vendor. He’s that good at recruiting.

      Narduzzi is trying to sell yellow snow to Eskimos.

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  70. I again1000% agree that after this coming season we will look upon PN with a more critical eye. My point has always been that the critical eye was cast upon him too early and unfairly just because someone doesn’t like his personality. Look at this topic for instance, which one of these coahsces would anyone consider a good public speaker. It just isn’t in there job description to be nice and speak like a professor of philosophy?

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  71. The Graham Hayward Chryst revolving door fiasco at Pitt Football has solidified Narduzzi’s position for many years to come absent significant off the field issues. Too many here are too blind to see why that scenario is in play at Pitt Football today.

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  72. Reed — Strange but true —perhaps the worst thing that has happened under Coach Duzz was beating PSU. Pitt probably won that game because of Coach Duzz’s secrecy and the element of surprise in the offensive plays.

    I agree with you that I’d like to see a more fan-friendly approach, just because some fans enjoy following any information about the team and it’s development. And Pitt sure needs to cultivate more fans…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

    1. The fans don’t need to know anything. It won’t bring more fans to games, it won’t stop the constant complaining from fans, it won’t increase donations, etc. There is enough information to get a fix from than knowing who caught a nice pass in practice.

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  73. Reed, concerning your 12:17 pm post today, you state two things that are not debatable. Firstly, there are many valid concerns about this team & the program in general going into this season, secondly, Pitt definitely has it’s share of “critics”, & IMO, consider yourself a blue chip 5 star Pitt critic. Other than for those two points however, everything else you stated are prime topics for a “Point-Counterpoint” debate. And if I took the bait, counterpoints are aplenty for an alternative POV on where we stand with Pitt Football at this point in time.

    But as you so eloquently stated back on June 20th, while lamenting why so many fans who lack the “critical” vantage point that you promote, have distanced themselves from your blog, you informed all of your readers of these facts, “You knew all along exactly what you were and are going to get from me – yet you keep reading even when it pains you to do so.

    I sure as hell wouldn’t do it if it upset me the way it apparently upsets some of you. But you have to know that I just don’t care what other Pitt fans think or what the other media thinks or what Pat Narduzzi and Pitt thinks – I’ll do and write whatever I damn well please. Just so you know.” End quote.

    Well just so you’re informed as well, I don’t care either, so I won’t waste my time with those counterpoints.

    The warmer, kinder, less hostile Pitt POV apparently lasted about two weeks. My summer vacation away from it will last considerably longer. Maybe I’ll chime in when the boys are actually back in fall camp and into the season itself. Until then, stand your own ground Ike, knowing that you’re outnumbered on this blog by the pessimistic critics only because so many of us with dissenting viewpoints that are more optimistic simply no longer care for the vitriol.

    Hail to Pitt.

    Like

    1. I have to buy a damn revolving door for you.

      How about being a bit more discrete and just leave or whatever instead of announcing it to the world and then keep dragging the drama around here three or four times each year?

      My God, just make up you mind once and for all. No one gives a damn if you post or not, just make a decision and stick with it.

      Oh, BTW, in your referencing that June post I wrote… how about quitting the ‘look at how great I am’ filled “I’m always respectful to others on here” crap. Some of the crudest and most immature posts have been from you to others on here; to wit:

      https://pittpov.com/2017/03/13/take-semi-ownership-of-this-blog/

      Re-read your comment to Jay91 in that thread. That says it all right there …

      I can help with your problem of not being able to stay away…there are 12 step programs you can use or I can just hit a few keystrokes from this end.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Not one preseason publication predicts more than 5.5 wins this year. Vegas is down on this team. If Narduzzi goes 6-6, loses to North Carolina again, and puts on another bad effort in bowl game to finish 6-7 he will be on everyone’s hot seat list.

      I applaud Reed for shunning the cult of personality some blind-eyed Pitt fans have. The season’s final record is judgment enough on Narduzzi. Beat NC and win a bowl game.

      Like

  74. Mark about your problem with cocky people. I get where you are coming from there and I feel the same way about the cock on the block BS in general. I can agree with the premise but I hope you realize that it’s more of a personal problem that you and I may have. Over the years I have learned to let that crap go and judge more on merit. On top of that, it’s also, once again, very subjective. Becoming the head football coach of the University of Pittsburgh in some people’s minds may be a decent enough of a reason to be a little cocky?? I just don’t feel judging his personality in your mind with your own parameters is the right way to judge him as a football coach. Narduzzi is going to pull a Heather in the next two years… Just watch buddy. ike

    Like

  75. HCPN had closed practices in 2016 and he caught PSU so flatfooted that Franklin was in a fog for 3 quarters. The PSU spies were confounded. Maybe we should repeat that scenario again this year. Practice indoors with guards at the doors.

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    1. Every Pitt HC would close the last 30 minutes or so of the fall .camp practices to work on stuff like that. Then the last week is all game week practices and are always closed.

      And once the season starts the practices are all closed anyway so that had no bearing on the PSU game at all. That is a thought that just isn’t the case.

      He had a full 14 days to get ready for PSU under closed practices. No one has problems with that as it is game preparation.

      He needs to open up the first two weeks of fall camp and all of the spring drills.

      Like

  76. @Reed

    Great article as always. Getting back on topic here is my take on your question:

    Wanny had the most wins in a three year time period than any of the other coaches on the list. Must be a funny coincidence than that he recruited the best.

    He gets my vote as #1.

    I was too young to remember Foge or Gottfried but my father tells me Gottfried was something so he is #2.

    #3 is Walt. I think he was the best game day coach we had in this bunch but he was not a dynamic personality. If you combine Wanny’s off field skills (Recruiting & Fundraising) with Walt’s on field X’s and O’s we would have a coach that could win here and win big.

    #4 Foge

    #5 Paul H

    #6 Majors as it was as bad as it could get

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    1. I forgot about Chryst and Todd G. I believe that was subconsciously intentional.

      Todd is N/A and Paul C should go in as #4 with everyone else dropping down.

      Like

  77. Dr. Tom, many of us really value your comments, and hope you don’t stay away. I try to analyze the coaching situation in a more clinical manner, without the personal attacks on POVers or Narduzzi. Based on where we are today, Heather has just extended PN, and so she will be giving him more time and rope to develop into a good coach. If Pitt goes 5-7, 6-6, or 6-6 with a bowl game in 2018, PN will return for at least another year to save face. A 4-8 season could spell trouble for PN, but probably wouldn’t be fatal.

    Heather would take some responsibility for the tough OOC schedule, and PN would get more time to develop his players and win. If the 2019 team then goes 6-6 or 7-5, even with a subsequent bowl win, Heather will evaluate other factors such as is the program clean, are the players staying out of trouble and graduating, etc., and will give him another year to improve. Thus, the contract extension means PN will be here at least until after the 2020 season.

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    1. Agreed, not withstanding some unforseen negative event tied directly to Narduzzi that could spell dismissal on other grounds unrelated to wins & loses.

      Myself, this season:
      Anything less than 6 wins gets Narduzzi’s seat hot.
      7 wins, meh.
      8 wins spells success
      More than that, then just lighten the hell up on our football coach. Will ya?

      Like

  78. Just my opinion Dr. I really don’t think this season will put PN in any different light then he’s standing under right now administration wise. Next year will be the year he’s expected to produce more on the football field. Not saying that I won’t be pissed but this guy will get the time to prove if he’s good or bad and no jump the gun BS. Heather waited on Stallings and she will wait on Patty cakes. Right or wrong?

    Reed, I think you’re a little tough on the Dr. sorry but imo… see……. now I’m in big trouble..

    Like

  79. Given the schedule (gee whiz it’s the toughest on the planet) and the FACT that PN was not able to begin recruiting until after January of 2015 (meaning he really only has two years of his recruits on his roster), I think expecting a 7 win regular season is about the best we can hope for and if that were to happen I’d say that PN will have done a heckuva job especially taking into consideration the three astonishing victories over PSU, Clemson and Miami.

    On the other hand, given the atrocious Pitt defenses of PN’s first two years as HC that were national humiliations, his inability to recruit 4 star rated talent, his failure to coach-up so many players including talents like QH and JW, I’d say we have some real concerns—one of them being that we might win only 4 games this year and find ourselves SOPitting about the wholesale recruit deflections we see as the recruits ponder the bill of goods they were sold about winning championships.

    Do these two viewpoints fairly and concisely reflect the competing narratives that POVers are embodied in our comments? If you think so it’s because the future is truly unpredictable and none of us really knows where this season or the PN era is headed.

    Any one of us could write a critical disputation on a POVers who spout the narrative we don’t agree with. And because Pitt football is an avocation and not our professions (using that word broadly) our critical thinking and rhetoric is not as (ahem) polished as it might otherwise be. That’s just the nature of participating on a blog of this kind.

    Like

  80. According to Phil Steel’s computer ratings Pitt had the 7th toughest schedule(PS 55th) in 2017. For 2018 Pitt is20th and PS 28. Pitt is not ranked in his top 60 teams but it is because of the unproven ????His forecast is anywhere between 4/8 to 10/2 W/L for “18”. His computer system has been very reliable over the years.

    Like

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