On Wisconsin

This article suggestion was submitted by frequent reader Donald Georgis

Per Donald, it’s relevant to Pitt because, “Many on the POV blog often offer comments on Wisconsin’s football program, but I don’t know if any of them really know who is responsible for its success.  Without a doubt, the credit goes to Donna Shalala who was instrumental in the resurrection of the football program at UW.  The program was in dire shape when Donna was hired as Chancellor of UW around 1990.  There was little interest in the program as evidenced by low game attendance averaging around 30,000 or so.  I am enclosing an article about the resurrection of football at UW that pretty much explains what it takes to establish the groundwork for a solid program.  Prior to her arrival, the UW administration was pretty much like Pitt’s BOT.  I would appreciate it if you would publish the article on the POV blog since it would help POVerts better understand what it takes to build a sound athletics program – at least in the view of UW.”

Here is the link to the article, and I’ve pasted the full text below.

BY MIKE LUCAS
UWBadgers.com Senior Writer

MADISON, Wis. — Donna Shalala is naturally competitive.

“I have a fierce sense of winning,” said the 77-year-old Shalala.

She can’t help herself. It’s in her DNA. Her mother, Edna Smith Shalala, a 1933 Ohio State graduate and a nationally-ranked tennis player, is in the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.

“I didn’t beat her at tennis until she was 70,” Donna once “joked” to the Miami Herald. It helped to have a good sense of humor when “Mother Shalala” wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Beyond blazing trails as the first female attorney of Syrian-Lebanese descent to practice law in Cleveland, Shalala willed her competitiveness to her twin daughters, Diane and Donna.

At age 9, the girls were teammates on a youth baseball team coached by George Steinbrenner, then in his late 20s and working for a local shipping company.

Steinbrenner went on to become the powerful owner of the New York Yankees.

“I don’t like losing at anything,” confirmed the Boss’ shortstop, Donna Shalala.

Because of her attitude, she was in for a rude awakening and culture shock years later after leaving Hunter College in New York City to be the chancellor at the University of Wisconsin.

Losing was synonymous with the Badger football program in the late ’80s.

“It was a world class research university and it was a chance to go back to the Midwest,” said Shalala, who replaced the retiring Irv Shain and was the first women to guide a Big Ten school.

“It was an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to lead an institution of the quality of Wisconsin … in a middle-class state that knew what they had and really cared about the future …”

But she confided, “I didn’t know very much about the athletic program. To tell you the truth, I read the college football issue of Sports Illustrated on my way out there.

“I was actually mortified when I read it. I had no idea (how bad it was). Except I figured it out after the first year because I was going to the games and there was no one there.”

But there was something she couldn’t figure out.

“I couldn’t figure out how we were financing the athletic department. Everybody kept telling me, ‘It’s fine, it’s fine, don’t worry about it.’ I thought, ‘Hmmm, I better take a look at this.”

The subsequent turnaround was so dramatic and impactful — spawning decades and decades of success — that Shalala, the linchpin of the renaissance, will be inducted into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame.

“I still run into Wisconsin people today,” said Shalala, a member of the 2018 HOF class, “that come up to me and say ‘Thank you for what you did with the athletic program.'”

• • •

Prior to interviewing in Madison, where she had some old friends, Shalala’s frame of reference of what she might be inheriting on the Camp Randall gridiron was limited and not very flattering.

Michigan president Harold Shapiro had invited her to attend a game between the Wolverines and Wisconsin and she said, “It was really embarrassing. We looked like a high school team.”

Shalala had done her graduate work at Syracuse. So, she knew what a good team should look like. When she arrived on the UW campus in 1988, she was very attentive to everyone around her.

“It was just a matter of listening to people,” she said.

Traveling the state, she recalled talking with farmers who would listen to the Badgers on the radio while working their fields. “They were really disappointed with the team and program,” she said.

In visiting with alums, she realized, “More than anything, they wanted a winner again.”

As for the overall welfare of the Badgers athletic department, she noted, “It had a very substantial deficit ($2.1 million) and it didn’t have a strategy for getting better.”

That prompted Shalala to take bold action — she fired athletic director Ade Sponberg in mid-November of ’89 and summarily tapped into the expertise of Don Canham, the successful Michigan AD.

Canham was known for his business acumen. Collegiately, he was a rare money-maker; rare because few others nationally had adopted his aggressive, bottom-line mindset.

“Sports is a business now,” he advised Shalala, “so if you can find a businessman with ties to the university, preferably athletic ties, that’s the way you want to go.”

Shalala took Canham’s words to heart, along with those from Roger Formisano, a professor in the School of Business. Formisano was Shalala’s choice to lead the athletic board.

Wisconsin not only needed a businessman, but Canham suggested the athletic director had to have strong ties to the Badgers to excite the fan base; what Formisano labeled, “The Ooh, Aah factor.”

“The only person I knew with those characteristics was Pat Richter,” Shalala said. “But everyone told me, ‘You can’t get Pat. He’s got a big job and gets paid a lot of money.'”

Richter was the vice president of personnel for Oscar Mayer Food Corps. A legendary athlete at Madison East and Wisconsin, Richter had wide-spread respect in the community and the state.

“He cared a lot about the program and he had given me a lot of advice on what he thought the program needed to be turned around,” she said. “But he was reluctant (to take the job).”

Shalala didn’t get her man initially. But she was undaunted.

“The real person I had to get was Renee Richter,” she said of Pat’s wife. “Once I went to work on her, I think we both convinced Pat that it was the right thing at the right time.”

Pat Richter, UW Athletic Director, speaks at a press conference announcing his hiring as Chancellor Donna Shalala listens.©UW-Madison University Communications 608/262-0067Photo by:  Michael KienitzDate:  1989     File#:   8912-507

Meanwhile, in late November of ’89, Shalala made plans to fire head coach Don Morton, whose signature Veer offense failed to produce any desired results (6-27) and emptied the stadium.

In mid-December of ’89, Richter was named athletic director and entrusted with putting the “W” (winning) back in Wisconsin sports. His first hire was Barry Alvarez, who executed the turnaround.

“The only skill I had,” Shalala said, “was going to the right people for advice and listening to people in Wisconsin about their concerns and what we should do.

“And, then, I put the coaching decisions in the hands of Pat, who knew what he was doing. I never tried to substitute my judgment … and I have a lot of judgement.”

Alvarez can attest to her resolve.

“She saw the big picture,” he said of the compatibility between athletics and academics, “and realized having a strong athletic department, particularly football, is meaningful to the total university.

“The thing that I always admired about her was that she was right in the middle of it; she worked very closely with me and she came to every recruiting weekend.

“She talked to the kids and parents and if there were issues on campus, political issues, she’d cut through the red tape. She was a tremendous leader.

“When she made decisions, it was what was best for the program, what was best for the student-athletes. She never worried about how the media or people were going to respond to it.”

In sum, Shalala’s fingerprints were on everything, including the athletic board.

“I asked the provost at the time, David Ward, to pull a list of full professors or senior members of the faculty who had at least two season tickets to two different sports,” she said.

“It turned out that we had some very distinguished faculty members, so we redid the athletic board from that list and they had one responsibility, and, that is, we had to be financially viable.”

Shalala continued to be a good listener even after reshuffling the deck.

“I never hesitated,” Alvarez said, “if there was an issue to pick up the phone and call her.”

He also never hesitated to tell the “House Guest Story” at speaking engagements.

“You do know the famous story that Barry tells?” Shalala posed rhetorically.

And then she told it herself.

“Barry and his wife Cindy stayed with me (at Olin House) for a couple of months while their house was being finished. I wasn’t there for part of the time.

“He then went to the Big Ten coaches meetings and when they went around room, everybody complained about their chancellors or their presidents, except for Barry.

“He said, ‘Well, I’m getting along with mine because I’m living with her.'”

The Badgers have been living a charmed life since that first Alvarez Rose Bowl in 1994. Shalala cited the sustainability: the Badgers have been to 16 straight bowls, the Big Ten’s longest active streak.

“The key is not whether you have one good year,” Shalala said. “It’s whether you have quality student-athletes and quality coaches year after year and whether they graduate and you win championships.”

Shalala made the most of her time as Wisconsin’s chancellor: a little over five years.

“If it hadn’t been for the President of the United States who got me out of here,” she said, “I’d still be here because I loved the state and I loved the university and I loved leading.”

As far as returning for the Hall of Fame weekend, she said, “I’m thrilled. It’s Wisconsin, it’s a place I love … I’m in the middle of a political campaign but I told everyone I’m leaving for Madison.”

 


82 thoughts on “On Wisconsin

  1. Thankfully, Pitt students have more manners than Wisky students. We housed a some of band students visiting Columbus a few years ago as we often did and they did not leave a good impression. This goes to the administration of that party school.

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  2. well, she’s one for two. In fact, Miami won its last national title in 2001

    But it also tells you that what works in one setting doesn’t necessarily work in another. Wisconsin is a large school in a not so large city. It is the only pertinent FB school in the entire state. There are several other difference between UWM and The U. Remember, Miami deals with a lot of the same issues that Pitt does …. with one GIGANTIC difference. Local FB talent

    Donald, thanks for the article . It was very interesting and informative, and comparisons of Pitt and UW are certainly a big part of the POV.

    Shalala definitely made a great AD hire who in turn made an even better hire, IMO Pitt made a good AD hire in 96 followed up a by a good HC hire. But that is where the comparison ends. I have to believe that the UW coach got a lot of things he asked for especially after reaching the Rose Bowl, whereas that wasn’t the case at Pitt. Heck, even after Walt was given a raise in 02, the AD had to block potential interviews with Bama and OSU (yes that happened), And 2 years later, there was a mutual parting of ways

    Then after a few so-so years, Wanny reaches the 9 win level … and is awarded with a recruiting budget cut (not to mention that he was the lowest paid coach in the BE …. that’s BE Football!!)

    However, another difference to be realized is that UW and B1G FB is a money making venture. Massive crowds, large TV revenues, a captive audience … none of that happens here

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  3. Donna was horrible at Miami. Miami is far more similar to Pitt.

    But I guess it proves that if you want something bad enough, it can happen. Here’s to consistent top 20 finishes in football and invites to the big dance for basketball. Along with top 50 in the directors Cup.

    Will need a new AD and football coach first. Donna would not have been a good fit at Pitt. I’d take cornhole 1 over her any day.

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    1. Nerdball that is.

      That whisky BoT didn’t have Michigan or tOSU on it

      She might have somehow got whisky turned around primarily through good hires and treating sports as a business. But she was an utter failure in government and at Miami.

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  4. I previously outlined the uprising of UW. It wasn’t just athletics that was horrible. It was also academics and research grants. You can have it all. With Alvarez, UW immediately began to play a very easy schedule as they began building a brand. They were in a historically weak conference, the western side of the big15.

    The academics fully supported the athletic program because the academics knew that f the athletic program soared, it would attract more applicants in the pool, which meant better students, which meant more talented researchers. Each side of the university supported and helped the other, including the board.

    Shalala is not a good leader as “No Tex and Drive” alluded to above. She presidencies at universities did not last long because it is hard work as you have multiple decentralized leaders that believe their work is more important than everyone else’s. Pitt has not figured that out or how to fix the internal politics.

    There are politics in all corporations, but typically a corporation is mainly focused on their respective widgets and how to grow the widget business. Not so in higher ed. Every unit / college in higher ed only cares about their own, decentralized unit. Pitt is too cheap to get the right people to fix that and ladies and gentlemen, that falls squarely on pitt. My 3 cents (inflation).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I thought it was an interesting article and shows the detail that needs to be followed to get a winning program at a major university. At PITT we constantly seem to keep looking in the rear view mirror which I can understand given what’s transpired here. We have to learn that we can’t do anything about what’s gone but only work on the future. We can learn to not repeat past mistakes and we need to implement new things.

    I personally think we’re on the right track with the Gallagher and Lyke combination. I know they’re both interested in winning. Lyke did a good thing in extending Narduzzi from the get go . Being constantly on the coaching carousel wasn’t getting us anywhere. Understand Narduzzi is not perfect but he has provided some success.We just won a bowl game, had 8 wins, and came up with one of our best recruiting classes in a while . All in all quite a year in football given the depth of our decline. We may have to hire someone else if we don’t regress but I think he still deserves some time

    Capel’s hiring is another success story. He seems to be exactly the right fix for that poor program.

    Lyke also as hired numerous other coaches and some sports, notably Volleyball and Soccer, seem to be on a good track. Women’s basketball just a got a new coach so it will take some time to evaluate that sport. She has also revamped the entire back end of the department.

    After all that, the Pitt athletic program will embark on the construction of several new facilities with the Victory Heights program.

    Yes there are still issues with football attendance, fundraising etc. but I think we’re heading in a positive direction.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. She also didn’t fire them like she did the other bum PITT coaches that previous AD’s wouldn’t do. Keep turning over the stones and looking and looking, sooner or later you’ll eventually find something. Boy do I have a song for this one. I’m gonna have to get myself a subscription to YouTube.

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  6. PG tweeting that Jurkovec is transferring to BC. Looks like Hafley can still recruit. His OC is Frank Cignetti, Pitt’s OC in 2009-10.

    Also, being reported he will apply for a waiver so he can play this year. I assume that this may have been a factor for him not considering Pitt …. although I certainly don’t know any inside info

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  7. PS – I re-read that article/ puff piece on herself. I hope somebody interviews me about my work history so i can say how great i am too…..priceless. I appreciate this post as to meit shows how poor leadership in executive roles can take a football dynasty and trash it.

    She had a very short stint at Wisky (one contract/not renewed), 4/5 years. At Miami, i think she canned Butch Davis, Larry Coker, Randy Shannon, Jeff Stoutland, Al Golden and Larry Scott. Two of those were interims, but if we count our interims, we should count theirs to be consistent. To give her the benefit of the doubt, 4 new coaches (at a destination program) in 14 years. Not good. Sound familiar.

    She was their president during their worst football performing years since the early 70s, except a championship 3 months after starting at miami so unsure what she had to do with it. I am not a fan of her ability to support and let an athletic program thrive. She may have made one good hire in Wisky, but she didn’t stay long enough to actually build the brand. In fact, based on her history at miami, she probably would have ruined wisky.

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    1. First off, Butch Davis left Miami to coach the Browns. Next, Paul Dee was the AD at Miami from 1993 to 2008 … so he oversaw the good times and the bad. Dee was hired to clean up the mess that Jimmy Jackson started and Dennis Erickson elevated …. Miami came painfully close to getting the Death Penalty. Dee hired Butch Davis who would bring Miami back to the spotlight.

      Shalala should be credited with a good AD hire and creating a conducive environment for athletics at UW …. whether you like it or not. Nothing more, nothing less. At Miami, she kept AD Dee in place

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      1. Shalalalala didnt go to Miami until 2001 and immediately the turnover started. Excuse away the employee turnover all you want. The numbers are the numbers. She fired Coker after going 60-15. Stupid move! They still haven’t recovered from her ineptness to oversee athletics.

        So the mess was cleaned up? I think it got worse. Here is an article about Miami football under “good AD Dee” and Shalalala from 2011, it reads in part:

        “Athletic Director Paul Dee, who heads the NCAA infractions committee, allegedly hid drug testing results from Erickson so players could avoid suspension. Furthermore, the Canes were convicted of Pell Grant fraud which provided money to players and their families. This landed Miami on probation for its actions in the 1980’s.

        The Hurricanes program has the challenge of dealing with a similar environment as the Trojans, living in a city where glitz and glamour are the norm. Though hamstrung by sanctions, Butch Davis was able to keep a Miami program alive despite its disarray. It’s questionable whether Davis was cheating though, after his recent ouster at North Carolina for extensive violations between players and agents.

        Everybody is aware of Miami’s current situation which could land it the death penalty, as numerous players have been named in a scandal which dates back to 2002. That scandal involved paying over a million dollars to Miami football players, including $50,000 to NFL athlete Vince Wilfork.

        With the recent scandal under the command of university president Donna Shalala, Miami makes a strong case to find itself at No. 1 on this list, but one program is more infamous.” She had no clue! She shouldn’t have been supervising an athletics program.

        https://bleacherreport.com/articles/824471-miami-hurricanes-football-scandal-ncaas-top-5-infamous-programs#slide1

        Baseball got jammed up in 2003 and of course Nevin Shapiro became a booster during the same year Shalalala joined Miami, 2001.

        Good stuff. Shalalalala and Dee were awesome! She is greattttttt! 🙂

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      2. Jimmy Johnson graduated almost 80 percent of his players. Erickson started the downfall with poor recruiting but Miami wasn’t close to the death penalty. The Pell Grant scandal was bad and that was concocted by the white players on that team. One kid involved was from my high school in Youngstown, Ohio.

        Anyone remember that ridiculous SI article in the mid-90s asking Miami to drop its football program? One of the poorest articles ever written with the 2010 article stating Pitt was essentially a thug program a close second.

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  8. Whether you like her or not, there are some elements of her Wisconsin story that are essential to a turnaround. Essential, but not necessarily sufficient.

    First, is a chancellor who is committed to winning. Not talking about winning, WINNING.

    Second, is hiring an AD who has a strong connection to the school and a solid business background.

    Third, leaving the coaching hires to the AD.

    And last but not least, having a leadership group – Wisky’s athletic board or Pitt’s BOT – that is seriously interested in sports.

    There may be more to it but this would be a start.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have no dog in the fight either Ike. I am critical of the facts versus the fan wannabe facts. Two different things. I tend not to write or think with my heart but how things really are after looking at the alternate view. Life would be boring if we all just got in line and believed everything the media tells us is the truth. It tends to be their truth, not “the truth”.

      Cowher to be in hall of fame…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I actually never liked her but I don’t know enough to judge. I’m real sure you know more about all this behind the scene stuff more than I do. I defer.

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  9. I regularly read on this blog that all you need to do to fill the seats at Heinz field is win. Oh if that were only true, how good life would be.

    I was a season ticket holder from 1979 – 1984 and there were some truly great years in this period before the Foge debacle (God rest his loyal Pitt soul). I remember many a game at Pitt stadium with is 56,000 seating capacity when the student section was half filled and the attendance was in the 40-45,000 range. That’s for a team that during this period averaged about 9 wins a season, including a 3-7 mark in 1984. During this period there were 3 11-win seasons!!!!!

    If Pitt produced that 6 year record it would be a miracle today, but thanks to its enrollment and % of commuter students, just like at Pitt stadium, it would not average more than the number of seats I mentioned above. Yes, ND, maybe Miami and possibly VT would be close to a sell out, but Miami (Ohio), Marshall, and Richmond would be closer to 40-45,000 because God forbid if Pittsburgh football fans wouldn’t have to be ready to support their 8-8 mediocre Steelers.

    BTW, I’ve been a season ticket holder for the past 10 years, so I feel the pain of all those pretending that Heinz field is anything but an expensive, ill conceived, poorly constructed HS football stadium.

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    1. Winning
      Having an exciting offense
      Having a heisman contender
      Being in contention for the title
      Good ticket value
      Venue protected from extreme elements
      Special one of a kind venue
      Competition for the entertainment dollar
      Large student body
      Engaged alumni

      All are variables and others in getting fans to attend.

      45k is the right size for a venue

      The trend in stadium design is actually to downsize

      The sooner Heinz is imploded the better

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  10. Appreciate the article — what Shalala did at Whisky was outstanding. (But even when thoughtful, intelligent people make decisions, some of them work great and some of them don’t…)

    BTW, speaking of Whisky, can we talk to their assistant S&C Coach… If we don’t hire him or her at least maybe we can find out what they feed their linemen…😊

    Go Pitt.

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  11. BC football fans have to be excited — getting a new head coach with a recruiting rep and then getting a 4-star QB from ND, no less.

    Too bad we don’t play BC for a while…

    As Pitt fans, we’ve had plenty of experience with the excitement of getting a new FB Coach…🤔

    Go Pitt.

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  12. Speaking of Athletic Director’s, I know it’s petty, but I’m not upset one bit when Scott Barnes’ Oregon State Beavers lose in any sport. Course maybe we don’t have Coach Capel if not for Scotty’s blundering. Timing is everything.

    But I thought it interesting that our boy Scotty gave his football coach a 3-year extension after two seasons with records of 2-10 and then 5-7. Jonathan Smith seems like a decent young coach, but I can’t wish him well…

    Go Pitt.

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  13. Those who thought Jurkovic was ever coming to Pitt were delusional. Think back to his recruitment, think of the things that were said, unnecessary,hurtful things. Shots at the program, that quite frankly weren’t deserved. A smug, condescending, arrogant attitude. I’m no big Duzz fan, but he could never forget that crap. Pride cometh before the fall. Kid was a talent, wish him well. Sometimes you must humble yourself before you succeed.

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  14. Joe Lunardi has the Duquesne Dukes as a 12th seed in the East region, and Robert Morris as a 16 seed play-in team.

    No sign of Pitt, who beat RMU and stands at 11-4 right now. Take a picture, because 11-7 could be real by week’s end.

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  15. Huff III, I find it interesting that on one posting, you suggest that Shalala ‘canned’ Butch Davis … and then do some research to find Davis left a year before she came to Miami. That was the reason I wrote what I did, And all I wrote about Shalala was that she kept the AD in place who oversaw Miami’s comeback.

    But the bigger lesson is this …. the 2001 NCAA title game was between Miami and Nebraska. Larry Coker vs Frank Solich. Miami returned the following year only to be jobbed vs Ohio St. Then both of these guys were fired a few years later, and both programs haver never been the same since … and after many coaching hires at both places.

    Maybe it’s not the head coach but issues within the programs …. or maybe the landscape of college FB changed which affected both schools. Coker was fired after a 7-6 season despite an overall 60-15 record. Solich was 58-19 overall but was fired after a 9-3 slate. (way to go Stevie!!)

    You are always huffing and puffing about Pitt FB and all that is wrong with it. And maybe you are right, I do think Pitt FB can be a bit better …. but it can be, and has been, a bit (and a lot) worse. And maybe it’s due to things that are beyond the coaches and the admin’s grasps.

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    1. football has been alot worse (see 90’s)

      overall sports hasnt been this bad since the 90’s (see directors cup)

      Pitt still has a huge budget deficit trying to run sports

      Pitt receives all this ACC money and promptly spends it leaving itself with no savings for investments or paying down what it borrows from the general fund to keep sports afloat

      Pitts main issue right now is one of revenues or lack thereof

      Pitt ranks near dead last among all P-5 schools in revenue generation

      without revenues, how is Pitt supposed to support 16 scholarship programs or grow new ones, how is Pitt supposed to hire the best coaches and staff, how is Pitt supposed to maintain facilities and invest in new capital projects?

      The football program isnt starving (top third spend in the ACC) but the other programs are besides mens basketball which makes a tidy profit each year

      what is Pitt’s plan to solve the revenue issue? what are the solutions?
      You know what my plan is – MPC

      donations are flat despite AD’s million dollar gift; alumni gifting rates are the worst among ACC schools despite having over 350k living alum, the 2nd highest in the ACC…Pitt is a big ACC school
      attendance was down this year (dont believe those fake numbers presented by Pitt, believe your own eyes…yellow seats dont lie). I know season ticket sales were down

      I see no progress on the revenue front

      I’m not personally on the ground to see if the culture has changed, if there is more school spirit and pride, if there is friendly competition between coaches, if everyone is one the same page and working in the same direction, if there is still animosity between academics and athletics (but the recent purge of BoT Nitters ad diversification of the BoT does give me hope)

      PS: Shalala belongs on the trash heap of college presidents and government bureaucrats.

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    2. What I typed was the number of coaches that came and went under her watch. Not dissimilar to Pitt. I typically don’t research much of anything unless it is specific wins and losses, years, etc, because many often jump on folks around here for the slightest error. I didn’t think it is necessary to type every record of every year but he was 53-9 and had one down year at 7-6 and poof. Shalalalala panics and fires him because she didn’t understand sport. Miami has paid for it ever since. I don’t put people on pedestals when they don’t earn it. But that’s just me. I tend to be more fact based, not emotion based. Just because she was a female president, doesn’t make her a great leader and decision-maker.

      Davis left in february of 2001 when the university did not extend him. He did not want to leave and clearly wasn’t being forced out as he had several years left on his contract. Shalallalala joined miami in 2001 also.

      I am all for people being elevated, when they deserve being elevated and praised. I don’t celebrate mediocrity most of the time. I do celebrate mediocrity when you pay mediocre money and get mediocre results. When you pay top 30, you should get top 30 results in recruiting and ranking. Pitt performs near the bottom of P5. Not so sure why you are troubled by telling the truth about it. When they win above their pay grade, I will celebrate.

      I do huff. I don’t puff! Never have. Never inhaled either. I am about metrics and performance.

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  16. BTW there was talk here about Pitt winning its first BB game at Chapel Hill. Yesterday Clemson beat UNC in OT, the 3rd home game in a row that UNC lost. But get this …. Clemson was 0-59 at UNC

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  17. So I guess Pitt still takes Parrish if he decides Pitt is it. Too much upside to pass on him.

    Pitt can still use Jurkovec as another example of why a local player might want to stay home.

    It is a very good thing to be a home town hero and more of your friends and family can attend more of your games. You can see your girlfriend on the weekends etc. If you are good enough you will still become a professional.

    Watching Henry last night, I’m with PittPT in wanting a power back. Too bad it doesn’t look like Davis at Gateway has any interest in staying home. He is as close to a can’t miss talent as they come.

    It would be awesome to add an Ironhead, Conner, or Randy McMillan type runner to the current cast. Although Davis may be more like Curtis Martin with a combination of power and elusiveness.

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    1. GC — Regarding your girlfriend comment, I don’t know if this is true, but I heard someone on the radio say that Jurk’s girlfriend is a lacrosse player at BC…

      Perhaps some things are meant to be…

      Go Pitt.

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  18. That might have been one of the biggest playoff upsets of all time last night.

    Raven Fans were talking dynasty which seemed possible with their roster.

    Just shows how much that turnovers affect outcome.

    Same scenario as Pitt -BC this year, turnovers and power running beat the better team, although not nearly the same magnitude.

    It also showed how an injury can hurt a teams chances, Ravens missed Ingram picking up those short third and fourth downs.

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    1. ^ OT About the Ravens? You can’t continue to fool NFL teams with schemes. It doesn’t take opponents very long to catch up to unconventional football. Jackson is good but he isn’t going to last long at the rate he’s running the football.

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  19. Tonight’s game is very big for Pitt, a team that looks beatable, but has their back up against the wall.
    With more tough games coming up, Louisville, almost a certain loss and the rematch with Carolina wanting revenge (hoping they don’t get their star back) and BC who is playing very well.

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  20. Since I seem to have the floor this morning I was surprised by a Varsity Letter Club awardee this year.
    Pitt is awarding a teammate and friend, Rev. Lowell Meek. Most if all of you will not know Lowell who was probably the greatest tumbler and floor exercise specialist that ever performed at Tree’s Hall.
    He was as smooth as silk and just a great individual.

    I can’t make the event, so if you do say hello to Lowell for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1st off, usually the team with better players win. 2nd, he didn’t have the better players in last year’s and this year’s FSU games. And how about Lousiville last year at home? And I’m not so sure he had better players vs Rutgers (12-4) this year

      Liked by 1 person

  21. there seems to be a misconception about Ironhead’s son. Connor Heyward’s stats this past season was 24 carries for 79 yards and 7 receptions for 52 yards. I’m not sure it would be an improvement over what Pitt now has … I may be wrong

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  22. Having Toney back is big. Pitt needs to come out aggressive and not turn the ball over. This would be a huge win on the road with two home games versus big-name schools.

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  23. You can say that about a lot of coaches, James Franklin, even Chuck Noll. The one coach I can think of that beat a lot of teams with better players was Jamie Dixon.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ike, history tells us that running QB’s don’t last in the NFL, but they sure are fun while they last.
    The moves that Lamar Jackson puts on make those d-backs look silly. He is a unique talent.

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    1. Which is why I’d like to see the Steelers move on from Mason R. I can’t remember a QB who entrenches himself so firmly in the pocket as Mason R. does.

      Mason could never be accused of having “happy feet.” Mason’s feet appear to suffer from deep depression…

      Find me a QB who can run some, or at least move around some to gain time, and has the instincts to know when to do it.

      Excellence at that approach has made Roethlisberger a Hall-of-Famer…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. gc, Baltimore lost because they only scored 12 points last night. Only 21 points lower than their season average. Stop Lamar and you stop the Ravens.

          Like

  25. Looks like Miami is a slight favorite today.

    Tough to expect Pitt to win on the road because you just don’t know what you will get shooting-wise from this team.

    Seems to all depend on how well McGowens plays…but now we have Champagnie added in as a wild card…

    🤞

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Yes but Conner Heyward’s 2018 stats are

    13 games played, 118 rushes for 529 yards for a 4.5 YPC and 5 TD’s, 32 receptions for 249 yards for an average of 7.8 yards but 0 TD’s giving him 150 plays from scrimmage for 778 yards and a 5.2 average per play and a total of 5 TD’s. I think he could help PITT, plus being a legacy is big.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I really can’t honestly answer that Mike, I have never watched Conner play but wouldn’t it depend on where and when they both carried the football on field? Heyward just might have been used in short yardage situations where I have watched AJ get some tough yardage but get stuffed many times for no yards as well. I meant he may be of help, never suggested he would or could be his dad.

        Another note would be that it would make for a great story.

        Like

  27. When a contract is extended such as for Narduzzi and Capel, do they typically reduce or increase the amount of buy out? I’m assuming there is a big salary jump as the incentive to sign.

    Like

  28. Enjoyed the article. Thanks for posting!

    My own takeaway from that is that she was in the right place at the right time.
    Whether she re-established the program or not, her valuing athletics is important and the approach she took upon arrival in Madison is exactly what great executives do.

    I’m not a Shalala fan – realy didn’t like the way in which she and Dee conducted themselves when leaving the Big East.

    Mr. Cowher goes to Canton. Really happy for him.

    Like

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