The Firing is the Easy Part

Should Narduzzi Continue to be Head Football Coach at Pitt or Not?

By Bill Aloe (formerly WWB)

I am going to start this article with the correct answer to the above:  I have no idea and neither do any of you.

Here are how two prominent college sports publications rated the top college head coach football hires when Narduzzi was hired in 2015:

Athlon Sports                                                             CBS Sports

  1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan                             1.  Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
  2. Gary Anderson, Oregon St                         2.  Tom Herman, Houston
  3. Tom Herman, Houston                               3.  Chad Morris, SMU
  4. Chad Morris, SMU                                       4.  Mike Riley, Nebraska
  5. Lance Leipold, Buffalo                                5.  Gary Anderson, Oregon State
  6. Jim McIlwain, Florida                                  6.  Jim McIlwain, Florida
  7. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt                                         7. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt
  8. Mike Riley, Nebraska                                  8.  Mike Bobo, Colorado St
  9. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin                               9.  Phil Montgomery, Tulsa
  10. Mike Bobo, Colorado St                              10.  Paul Chryst, Wisconsin

Note that of the eleven coaches listed above, the following six, Gary Anderson (7-22), Chad Morris (14-22), Mike Riley (19-19), Jim McIlwain (22-12), Mike Bobo (28-35) and Phil Montgomery (31-38) were let go or forced out.   Herman was hired by Texas where he is now in limbo, and only Harbaugh, Leipold, Narduzzi and Chryst remain at their schools. (Editor’s note: Herman was relieved of his duties at Texas yesterday. The article was sent to me a few days prior)

You are probably surprised that Narduzzi was rated higher than Chryst, and I’m sure every current poll would now rate Chryst the far better coach.  However, please note that Anderson, Chryst’s successor at Wisconsin, was rated higher than both of them but failed miserably at Oregon St before being forced out. 

I believe this may reinforce the concept that in many cases, the programs make the coach more than coaches make the program.   Chryst was hired to a program that was winning 10 games per year while Narduzzi was hired to a program that was winning 6 games per year.  Chryst slightly improved Wisconsin’s program and Narduzzi has done the same.  And note that both programs had undergone coaching changes just previous to these two coaches as Anderson was at Wisconsin for only two years.

Statistically, Wisconsin won 50 games in the 5 years prior to Chryst’s arrival, and 52 games in the 5 years since.   In that span, Pitt has gone from 32 wins to 36 wins.  (This shortened year is not included since Wisconsin finished at 5-4)

The Firing is the Easy Part

There certainly has been a few great hires in the years since 2015.  Matt Campbell at Iowa State has been exemplary.  Luke Fickell has rebuilt Cincinnati’s program so that program now can boast that 4 of the 5 last coaches have reached the magic 10-win season mark.   And Matt Rhule did such a great job at Baylor, he is now coaching the Carolina Panthers in the NFL.

But these appear to be the exceptions instead of the rule.  There were a few other good hires, but consider what has happened to what were recently deemed as ‘sure-things.’

Back in 2016, the ACC Coastal Division alone had 3 ‘hot’ hires; Mark Richt, Justin Fuente and Bronco Mendenhall.   All three were successful in D1 programs; Richt at Georgia, Fuente at Memphis and Mendenhall at BYU.  But Richt is already long gone, Fuente is certainly now hanging by a thread, and Mendenhall’s record at UVa is 30-32. 

As shown above, Harbaugh (the 8 Million Dollar Man) was the ‘can’t miss hire’ of 2015 but he is trending downwards fast despite leading a program that checks all of the blocks for having an elite program.  And of course, he has yet to beat Ohio State; in fact, his defense led by the one of the highest paid defensive coordinators around, has given up 62 and 56 points to OSU the last 2 years.  That DC, Donald Brown, has just been fired.

Jeff Brohm, who is the 2nd highest paid HC in the B1G behind Harbaugh, was the ‘hot’ hire in 2017 but is currently 19 and 25 at Purdue. 

The 2018 ‘hot’ hire was Scott Frost who had taken UCF from 6-7 to 13-0 in two years.  He is currently 11-19 at Nebraska.  

It seems to me to me that with the exception of Smug Steve’s actions back in December of 2010, the firing is the easy part.  It’s the hiring that keeps ADs up at night.  After completely botching the hiring of a new coach back in 2017, the Tennessee AD was axed.  The new AD hired Jeremy Pruitt who has done a really good job of recruiting.  Problem is that the NCAA announced last week that UT is being  investigated, so coupled with Pruitt’s 16-19 record, it’s 50-50 whether we will see a new coach on the sidelines when Pitt plays the Vols this coming September.

But take heart … Kirby Smart at Georgia, Ryan Day at Ohio State and Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma are recent hires that have stepped in and have not skipped a beat.   But note that none of these three were previously head coaches which may only reinforce the concept that the programs make the coach.  

But as for non-elite programs, I believe the point is pretty clear … there are no real guarantees.

Is Pitt Really It?

Can Pitt do better than Narduzzi?  Sure.  But the real question is … will Pitt do better than Narduzzi?

Note that both the aforementioned Campbell and Fickell have turned down interviews with two Big 10 programs that would have offered much more money that what they are currently making.  The same goes for Louisiana’s Billy Napier, who turned down a Mississippi State offer last year and wouldn’t even come to South Carolina this year for an interview.  Again, these three hot prospects turned down Big 10 and SEC money.

Sadly, the way the Pitt administration has handled the last 30 plus years has made the Pitt program unattractive to attractive perspective coaches.  As you know, Narduzzi was the 4th HC hiring since Wanny was fired in 2010.  And we all know all of the shortcomings of trying to sell this program to others, whether it be perspective recruits or coaches. 

And I find it interesting that in the past 30 years, Pitt has fired its two most successful coaches, the only previous ones with winning records    The turnover of coaches (even the successful ones) cannot bode well when one is considering an offer from Pitt.  At least at Cincinnati, there is a history of success where coaches have moved to big time programs after only a few years.

Yes, Pitt is now finally paying its coaches competitive salaries but will that alone be enough to get the real attractive, proven candidates?  And what proof is there that the alleged attractive, proven candidate will succeed here anyway?

My ideal scenario would be for Heather to hire Oregon’s OC Joe Moorhead (a Pittsburgh native) while keeping Partridge, Bates and Beatty as assistants.   Is that asking too much?  But even so, Moorhead only lasted 2 years as Mississippi State.   Which of course once again brings up the question …. Does the program make the coach, or does the coach make the program?

Conclusion

Once-proud programs Nebraska, South Carolina, UCLA, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Purdue (to name a few) appear to have reached a level of mediocrity … and Michigan State, Florida State and Virginia Tech seem to be heading in that direction.  And all of them have had more recent successes than Pitt.

John Michelolsen rebuilt Pitt’s program in the mid 50s but won only 3 games in his last two years.   And of course, Johnny Majors rebuilt the program in the 1970s by signing an initial class of 80 players, having one the best high school recruiting regions in his backyard.  But since the early 1980s, nobody has come close to pleasing the Pitt fanbase.   Should Pitt continue to hire / fire, or should expectations be  modified?

It appears many here are holding out for another Johnny Majors (1st stint) or a Matt Campbell.  As for me. I would be perfectly content with a Don Nehlen or a Kirk Ferentz.  

295 thoughts on “The Firing is the Easy Part

  1. Great article. Been hoping you would write a guess article. (Actually wrote a reply comment suggesting that. But it is hung up in word press limbo.)

    Are you sure about Montgomery at Tulsa? I think he is still there. He was on the hot seat for 2020 season.

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    1. you are correct. Have no idea why I have had him as fired; in fact, I had the correct record for him when I did the research for this at 31-38 … he is now 31-40. Maybe that is a lesson here. Tulsa made the conference final this year

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  2. Great read MM. Absent an absolute collapse next year (i.e. a 3-4 win season…or worse) I just don’t see Duzz getting fired. So debating is some what of a mute point.

    Having said that, I think faced with the scenario Pitt would be very attractive to an up-and-coming star coordinator or lower tier HC. Decent salary, P5 program, etc. Names? I don’t have a clue, but I’m confident we could attract a host of good candidates. The bigger problem would be holding on to them if they had success here.

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    1. Lumbergh: “Yeah, um, I’m going to have to go ahead and sorta disagree with you there.”

      I don’t see Coach Narduzzi being lured to a better program, meaning the opening could only happen if Pitt sent him packing. That just adds another data point to tell prospective hot shot coaches that you better be certain you are going to succeed at or higher than the level of expectations at Pitt. Otherwise, you will certainly be dismissed and your career might never recover.

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  3. Good stuff Bill. I like the Moorehead idea. Since it seems that Narduzzi delegates his responsibility for offense and that is putting it nicely, he shouldn’t have a problem with the concept. Heather needs to find the cash and encourage this approach. If as he appears to only be half a coach we need to address the other half.

    A solid offense would make his defense all that much better.

    As you point out, firing and hiring a new coach is a total crapshoot, and has been a complete mystery to the decision makers at Pitt.

    Unfortunately right now they need to focus on keeping Beatty and Partridge or we will trend downward.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great article, Bill! Very well stated and your data thoroughly supports your contentions. Your write-up rivals the excellent work MM provides on a regular basis. Kudos!

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  5. Bill Aloe, you write great wisdom. Mainly because you think exactly as me. It is unreasonable for us PITT fans to expect the program to produce consistent top ten ratings. However we would all like to see more wins and higher bowls each season.

    College coaching needs a high energy type. It means a great recruiting. Usually a younger guy. (with the exception of Mack Brown). That’s why I am so high on Boston College’s Jeff Hefley. There are others out there. And the good AD’s know how to find them. The high energy, intelligence, and enough experience. The formula is not always the same.

    Bottom line, Narduzzi is not getting the recruiting done to where we need/want to be. So I am sure Lyke is doing her job and collecting the resumes. I like most of her choices for head coaches with the exception of Capel. I don’t think he is discipled enough.

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  6. The conclusion to the article was predictable given the author, however I commend “wwb” for citing great examples in support of his thesis. I truly believe that the Pitt job is one of the most difficult HC jobs in the country, and let me take a few minutes to cite the obstacles that must be overcome:

    (1) Weak local recruiting area, with a diminishing child-bearing population base
    (2) One of 5 worst football stadium constructions in the NFL & NCAA
    (3) Playing in a pro sports town with rabid winter-sport fan bases (hockey/football)
    (4) Off campus facilities, which is unfortunate but unavoidable re Oakland
    (5) Substantially limited number of students living on-campus
    (6) Terrible winter weather for southern kids, i.e., where the talent is located
    (7) A conference which clearly favors it’s southern “elite” programs
    (8) Football tradition which has sadly faded into obscurity
    (9) Terrible support from an administration torn between athletics/academics
    (10) Campus that only appeals to recruits favoring an urban atmosphere

    I stopped at 10 because I didn’t want to belabor an obvious point.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Let me respond

      Yes the local area is weak with recruits but there are plenty of solid recruits within a 500 mile radius. And Pitt has a Florida pipeline since the walt Harris days.

      Pitt plays and practices in state of the art pro facilities with all the amenities. Problem is that Heinz is just too big for pitt. Yellow seats don’t help hide it.

      I don’t see college football and pro football competing against one another. Two different experiences.

      Off campus facilities do present logistical challenges but it’s not the reason why pitt fails

      Pitt has far more on campus housing units than in my day. It’s a urban myth that Pitt is a commuter school. Do you consider me a commuter since I lived on north Craig in non university owned housing? Thousands of students were like me. We didn’t commute.

      Weather does stink but actually most football games are played in decent weather. You ever played any sport in 100 degree heat in September or in real high humidity. Believe me that sucks far worse than 50 degrees and cloudy.

      Yes it’s a southern conference. DWI.

      Pitt still has tradition. Young kids know shady. Everyone knows AD. Kids will get to know weaver and jones to.

      Pitt football is well supported. It has the budget. Top third in ACC. It has the facilities.

      Everyone has different tastes. I’m a small town country boy yet loved the urban vibe and city atmosphere. Don’t stereotype.

      For every excuse or limitation or constraint, there are multiple solutions. And what one considers a weakness can become a strength.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Quick technology question for MM, PittPT (taught me how to unlike an inadvertent like) or anyone else who might know. Is there a view or setting in WordPress or outside it, that allows you to see new comments as they occur without having to hit a “back” arrow, refreshing the site, then scrolling through the hundreds of comments within a post to get to the new ones? If not, is there a way to jump to the bottom of the comment string without scrolling with your finger or thumb?

    I know, it’s just a minor annoyance but “they say I’m lazy but it takes all my time, life’s been good to me so far.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. However, with all of that said, I favor sending Nardummy packing after 2021, if WMG performs at the same pathetic and incompetent level. “The 90’s called and it wants its offense back”.

    Dink and dunk with no deep passing or OL opening running lanes = mediocre record.

    Even Saban got the message that in the NCAA and NFL, offense wins football games, having an outstanding defense only gives you a mediocre record and close losses.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have a theory that most incoming head coaches have no idea what they are walking into. They may mistakenly believe that knowing the Xs and Os, and being able to recruit are the most important skills, when in reality the PR aspect and negotiating with the existing administration may be most important. How many incoming HCs, especially those who are assistants at their current colleges, believe the BS they are told by administrators? The recruiting budget and staff salaries should increase next year, for example. But next year never comes. Or instead they are cut.

    There is no way that Herman gets fired at 90% of the P5 programs today. Anyone who would take such a job is in it for the money, pure and simple. A couple years’ salary and a fat buy out should set them up for life. This is reality at the top programs, and it is ruining college sports..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Texas was more than justified in firing Herman. Mediocrity is not tolerated in Austin.

      Longhorns don’t make excuses like 95 percent of Pitt fans and 99 percent of the posters here.

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        1. Texas has the money to take risks. I would have hired Franklin at $8 million and surrounded him with $3 million dollar coordinators.

          At Texas the goal is to beat Oklahoma and win national championships.

          At Pitt the goal is to win a participation trophy that every school has already won and overpay a coach for doing it.

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  10. No mention of Whipple? I think he is gone after KP. Everyone else stays. And thank you Clemson. You suck.

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    1. Lawrence was only a sophomore last year. He had to come back for 2020 season. Etienne could have went after 2019. Supposedly told to work on his receiving & (yes) pass blocking,

      Liked by 1 person

  11. After many broken hearts caused by Pitt sports, I’ve made my peace with mediocrity. Put me among those folks who think that Pitt is content with average seasons – 500 or a little better than that. Until Coach N. goes sub-500 a couple of times, I say keep him. Continuity is preferable to a carousel of mediocre coaches. The devil you know ….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How will he put discipline in when he is just as immature as the players committing damaging penalties and dropping catchable balls?

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  12. You know it would be real easy if Pitt ever listened to people like me. But I can’t stroke a multi million dollar check.

    Conduct a feasibility study for a MPC…not OCS

    Reinstate the Golden Panthers

    Scrap Victory Heights and focus on football

    Fire heather and hire Riddick

    Fire Narduzzi. Take out a loan for his buyout just like Pitt did with KS. Hire a coach from my candidate list

    It really is that simple

    Otherwise expect more stable mediocrity but I for one won’t enable it.

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      1. You have a few ideas I don’t agree with. However, the reinstatement of the Golden Panthers and MPC is something I could not agree with more.

        I just don’t understand why people would say that Pitt is still an unattractive job. It may have been in the past, but not now with the ACC money. Duzz is making at least $4million and has had 6 years to prove himself. If you told an your top choice to be the new head coach that he would get paid the same as Duzz, have the same budget for his assistants and the same 6 years to prove himself, I am sure the candidate would find that to be attractive. Why wouldn’t they?

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Tex, with all due respect, what you are saying about it being justified in firing Herman is totally insane. Was there a set number of wins built into his contract? Did he violate his contract in some way? And what kind of sleazy coach would accept a job before his successor is even fired? Did they tell Sarkisian “if you accept the job we will go ahead and fire Herman”? Maybe the same thing should happen to him. Look what happened to Nebraska after Solich was fired…

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    1. Texas has higher expectations. Again, your arch rival is Oklahoma. That’s the benchmark. I don’t expect 99 percent of Pitt fans to understand. 40 years of brainwashing will do that.

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    2. Well, Sarkisian is no saint and very used (up) goods. He just accepted offer given him by sleaze bag Delconte who thought he could endorse Herman while whispering sweet (and unwanted) nothings in Urban Meyers’ ear.
      Methinks narcissistic delusional personality disorder.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Excellent article, Bill. I always wonder when people say that a new Head Coach has to have Head Coach experience to be successful. Lots of contrary examples out there – including Dabo.

    I found it interesting that the guy Cleveland hired had never been a head coach — and that’s the NFL!

    Seems like our most successful coaches have been offensive thinkers — Majors, Gottfried, Harris… Course there was also Todd and Paul…

    Seems to me tricky as hell to hire a new coach before you fire the existing coach. Sounds good, but tough to do in a practical sense, unless you have good and trustable inside connections…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great article. This is exactly what I have been saying as well. Narduzzi may never be the guy we want, we could do a whole lot worse. Schools with a lot more money and a lot more industry intel have hired failure after failure. I have no faith that we would hire some slam dunk coach that would win or stay if he wins.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. The cream always rises to the top///Narduzzi is skim milk. Duzzi has failed to surround himself with assistants who can help him recruit offensive talent. Whipple ( has been a recruiting bust) and
    Borbs has a terrible track record that would have had him fired at the majority of P5 programs.

    In addition, Whipple and Borbs are in my humble opinion bush league coaches who belong in the MAC (at
    best). The icing on the cake is an AD who is absolutely WAAAY over her head.

    Pitt football will continue to be mediocre as long as the Administration fails to recognize the value
    that it brings to “the front porch”.

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    1. The 4 OCs Narduzzi hired were … (1) Chaney, who was OC in the national title game in 2017 (2) Canada who became the highest paid OC in 2017, (3) Watson who oversaw two 1000 yard runners in 2018, and (4) Whipple who was a well respected passing guru. I don’t think it’s the hires as much as it is the talent … and we can only hope the uptick in offensive potential in the last and current class works out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would suspect that Whipple has always had red zone issues. I agree that he does seem to be able to get the passing game going though. Even with marginal talent.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Seems to me that we have picked up some offensive recruits since Coach Whip was hired. Addison is one. How about the QB Yellen – I’m not a big fan of his skill-set in college, but he was highly considered. And yeah, TE Krull didn’t do anything this season, but I’d bet he came to Pitt because of Coach Whip.

      Coach Whip has a history of giving QBs and receivers stats. Players love stats….

      Go Pitt.

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      1. Krull was an extremely bad movie as well. One star for the movie…..zero stars for the TE !

        Save your money folks, both Krulls are not worth with the money.

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        1. We shall see. Krull’s got the size and speed everyone is looking for in a TE; we’ll see if he can catch and stay healthy…

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  17. I appreciate the nice comments as well as the fine responses. As I began the article, we have no idea if Narduzzi should be fired since it mostly depends on who is hired.

    Since Sherill, there were a total of 4 winning coaches before Narduzzi and all were let go. If Narduzzi becomes the 5th, the AD better darn know who the replacement will be and he/she better have a really good resume

    Liked by 1 person

  18. MajorMajors – you commented earlier that you had mixed thoughts on hiring a former HC vs an assistant to be the Pitt HC.

    Here is my best explanation – you can have success with hiring an assistant when a program has an established system and a committed backing from the administration. Clemson, Texas, tOSU and Oklahoma have been recently successful with hiring an assistant.

    Pitt has neither and established program with a winning system nor an administration that is committed to winning. I was pushing hard for an established HC when Wanny was forced to resign.

    If you go back and look at the list of hires at Pitt, only Godfried and Wanny were HC’s with Stache coming from the NFL.

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        1. He and I scouted the Ohio state game together. Seriously. We both watched the game on tv at the pitt student union. Osu versus some team. The next week he went out and kicked the suckeyes butt at Pitt stadium. True story.

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      1. Johnny Majors was a below .500 coach at Iowa State when Pitt hired him.

        24-30-1. But it was a magical hire….to say the least.

        Cas liked the article…very nicely done. You get free pass to Heather’s box.

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      1. Another good choice by Pitt, proving my case.

        forgot that Walt was at Pacific. Remembered him as the QB coach at tOSU…

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  19. Pitt is not a commuter school, but the number of students who actually live full-time within walking distance of it’s campus does not come close or even belong in the same sentence with Norman OK, State College PA, Columbus OH, Madison WI, Ann Arbor MI, Clemson SC, Austin TX, and the list could go on an on.

    Face facts and accept reality, Pitt can not generate the same game day atmosphere as these other schools, it’s not a myth. I was a season ticket holder in the 80’s and there were plenty of empty seats (even in the student section) in the stadium even when Pitt was in the national conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good point. I would guess that game-day atmosphere is a big factor in recruiting — especially for the kids who the big schools are after…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Make him the co-offensive coordinator, increase his salary, and establish the proper amount of heat to the wrinkled old ass of WMG!!!

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    2. Game day atmosphere for the penn state game , 42-39, was in my top 5. And I’ve attended many a southern football game. And I’m told that Cincy game was special. Pitt fans know how to tailgate with the best of them.

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      1. That PSUX game was the best game day atmosphere I ever witnessed. Record crowd for and football game in Pittsburgh ever and the end of game noise level was deafening and electrifying.

        We (Pitt) were better!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. He’s a good coach. And he wouldn’t have made excuses if his squad lost. He would have run those guys until they dropped.

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          1. is that how you handle things with your wrestlers?

            or what sport was it? and what age level kids you handled?

            #toughdolls

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            1. Yes. I’m speaking as a former coach. I would have started practice with sprints. I’d stop after half the team vomited. I’m old school.

              And I never wrestled. I used my fists to settle things.

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          2. keep up the good work

            can’t believe you aren’t still coaching and at some super high level

            again, what sport? girls? age level?

            fists? ouchy

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            1. For your info, I’ve coached kids, young adults and old farts like you. I’ve coached male and female and coed. I’ve coached baseball, soccer, softball, kickball, deck hockey. I’ve played every sport imaginable.

              Grade school, Middle school, and rec leagues. Not college. They couldn’t pay me enough.

              My teams won. I’ve got more participation trophies than Narduzzi.

              And I was not a players coach. I was a respected hard arse.

              You might call me a mini bill Parcells

              With your attitude, you’d probably be benched for most games. Just being true.

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          3. you’re right about attitude

            but if I’m benched, you’d be releived of your duties for sitting your best

            i’ve tried to help you with this before, do not bring up your coaching past

            all you do is undermine any credibility you may have with the rest of your harangues

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  20. Michelson and Hackett were strangled by Pitt’s academic department chairs who undermined the program. Michelson and Hart’s recruits for forced to take a foreign language. Good article former Webb. No one assassinates a football program like the English, math, engineering, and other languages department chairs.

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    1. Pitt has always thought of themselves as an ivy.

      There’s a lot of dead wood within many departments that should be thrown into the fireplace.

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    2. Paul Martha was a lawyer, Eddie James a dentist (as was Generalovich), Medich a doc, Cindrich a lawyer … and this was the tip of the iceberg

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Certainly a different time and a different era. 2 players from the Naval Academy won the Heisman Trophy in the 1960’s. That’s how different it was !

        Almost like a different planet entirely. A more sane one for sure. Not many colleges masquerading as glorified CC’s back then ! And since professional football didn’t pay much, the players actually went to classes to get a degree.

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  21. OT – Commander Reed’s favorite Pitt coach from former HC Chryst’s staff is on the move –

    Wisconsin defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield is expected to take the same position at Vanderbilt, tweets Bruce Feldman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not to mention, reviewing what seems like every play…has effectively killed the natural flow of the
      game. And in a quite unintentional way (i presume) has affected the outcome of games in so many
      ways !

      The games are somewhat almost unbearable to watch, if you’re old enough to remember how
      good/great the game use to be.

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  22. New Pitt basketball game added to the schedule. At Syracuse this Wednesday at 4:30 pm on the ACC Network.

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  23. When I was at Pitt, teams had limited substitutions per quarter. Talk about exhausted players who played both ways and had to go to class. Also plenty of open liquor bottles in the stands. Times have changed big time.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Here are Texas’ higher expectations compared to Pitt’s mediocre expectations. There is the College Football National Championship team and everybody else. Since 1976 Texas has won one national championship in 2005 and Pitt has won one in 1976.

    So in this bottom line world, Texas’ higher expectations have equaled Pitt’s mediocre expectations.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Over the years, we have heard many prospective coaches say that they will not pursue a HC job unless the position is vacant. If a college like Texas has no integrity when firing/hiring a new coach, then how can it effectively oversee the activities of that coach? If he cheats, then UT has no moral authority to control it. Things will not go well for UT in the future with Sarkisian. He will either be fired or get UT placed on probation.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I also have no idea as to the Duzz, but as I said before, one thing we know is he will manage to lose at least 5 games per year. If the admin is satisfied with that we have found the long term solution. I suspect that there are multiple problems with Duzz, from poor hires to poor in game decisions to recruiting that still places us third in the Coastal. You can point to positives, but I keep having a nagging feeling you’re just reaching when you do. As far as KP, well, he is light years better than what’s behind him, but still no better than the 3rd best QB in the Coastal. That alone should scare ya.

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    1. I would like to remind you that Pitt has lost less than 5 games only 3 times in the last 30 years …. and half of those years were in a 11 game schedule. 8 different coaches contributed to this feat

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Having the third best QB in the Coastal should scare us?

      Speaking of Coastal QBs, Howell at UNC is really good. Can run some and has one of the stronger arms in college – plus he’s pretty accurate. Going to be tough to beat him.

      Go Pitt.

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      1. What I meant was if we are trying to win the Coastal as a first step, then being no better than third is not a great start. And that is with a 5th year starter,( well, 4 +).
        As far as only losing less than 5 three times, well, all of those failures are gone, so why keep this one?? Duzz has advantages no other coach in the last 40 years has had. His failure to lose less than 5 with teams that most thought were very, very good compounds the issue. To lose 7, yup, 7, takes a little shine off that Costal title doesn’t it??

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  27. Tex-UT has one 10 win season since 2009 despite having every possible advantage for a major cfb program. Maybe hiring and firing at the first bad sign isn’t the answer?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They have the money to take risks.

      Look at the best coaches. They have all had their ten win season by year four or five. That’s the benchmark.

      They all have proven they can beat their rival

      Texas has been mediocre for ten years. They don’t tolerate it. They make changes to break it. They keep trying.

      Pitt makes no changes and is happy with it

      Big difference.

      Like

  28. My biggest problem With Narduzzi is that we have not been winning the 50-50 winnable games over the last four years. The best thing about him his first two years was that he won all the games he should and looked pretty competitive in the games he lost. The first bad loss for him was the Northwestern game where we really looked horrible. Over the last four years the common theme has been bad offensive playcalling. If he can get the offense clicking he would be good to go.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Pa relaxing covid rules…restaurants and gyms open again.
    Maybe more fans at the Steeler playoff game?

    Nice wrestling win by the Pitt team v Navy.

    Bill, excellent article! Hope you can produce more down the line.

    Like

    1. Let’s hope. Cleveland had at least 15k in their stadium. And it still looked empty. And they don’t have yellow seats.

      Like

  30. GREAT article Bill, thank you! Just when you think a topic has been covered from every possible angle, you come up with fresh statistics to renew interest. Many nuggets in the article and it is interesting to me how we all can read the same info and come up with different views.

    In comparing Narduzzi with the other coaching hires made at the same time, it would appear that he falls right about at or just above the middle (what a surprise).

    After reading Bill’s info I find that I fall into the camp that as much as I hate saying it, I suppose Narduzzi should stay until he would have two consecutive sub . 500 seasons, barring any off the field embarrassments. Believe me that pains me to say and unless Narduzzi finds the right coach for the offensive side of the ball I would expect fan interest to continue to dwindle.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I guess to summarize my feelings …

    — Don’t blame Duzz (or Heather) for the state of program. If anything, he has improved the program, but of course not to the level where we would like.

    — Don’t fire Duzz just for the sake of firing him because there is no guarantee that a replacement would be better.

    — But even with above, I would not be against a firing if Heather was assured she had someone for a replacement that would be an upgrade. But the last thing this program needs is another fiasco … firing a coach then having the top prospects not interviewing or accepting an offer.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Smart programs have their guy already interviewed, offered and accepted before firing

      That’s why the Texas AD is ranked as one of the top 5 AD’s in the land

      He came to Texas from TCU and not some lowly Mac school.

      Like

  32. Bill, really enjoyed your article and lot’s to agree with. We are who we are and we continue down that path…some of us were blessed and maybe cursed to live through that very short period of time when PITT football was elite experiencing what the vast majority of Panther fans have only heard or read about. Most of our history has been mired in mediocrity and there have been a few years when the product was down-right embarrassing.

    I don’t see Duzz, who is a product of this administration, getting us to the elite status yet alone a consistent top 30 program. It takes a team effort and management leads the way. Don’t see it happening- not at PITT or a lot of other institutions. Times have changed with how these organizations fed by tax-payer dollars look at themselves…the elite few see the value in pushing sports to be fed by huge TV dollars and rabid fan donations to fund their organizations….that’s just my thoughts and with that being said….

    I wish Duzz could find a dynamic recruiter and leader on the O side of the ball…just seems that all of the RAH RAH is on the D side…all these D backs commiting in (7) I think and 3-4 going to the NFL this year plus Whitehead, Ryan Lewis, Avonte Maddox (did I miss anyone?) already playing there and Duzz can’t stop the deep ball not because of the talent but because he is stupid….that will continue to be what we see on the field with Duzz at the helm…but what the heck, Gallagher, Lyke et al are happy campers,,,SOP reigns forever….

    HAIL to SOP

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comments. I would argue that Duzz di find a dynamic recruiter for offense, we just haven’t yet realize the fruits of his labor. Only Addison and Turner have greatly contributed but he has only been here 2 years. Malik Newton, Rodney Hammond, Myles Austin, Jay Barden, Mike Stratham and Marcu minor are very intriguing prospect with big play ability … and he has also brought the likes of Naquan Brown, AJ Woods and Rashad Battle on the defensive end

      Like

  33. Hard to fire a head coach when:

    There is a very expensive buyout

    Covid whacked revenues and made a mess of the season

    The team only lost two winnable games by 1 point each

    Best recruiting class in a while

    Best NFL draft class in a while

    A survey said that 87% of fans gave the coach a passing grade (B or C)

    We are not Texas and never want to be

    There is no guarantee the next coach does better and easily could do worse.

    This was the first year that many had high expectations with quality players coming back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pitt doesn’t have to be Texas. First it doesn’t have the revenues. Texas generates 250 percent more revenues. That’s not a typo.

      But it can start acting like a business. That’s a first step.

      Like

      1. You could say that part of Pitt’s football program problems is that it is run like a business following the model of the Pirates. The goal is certainly not winning championships which costs lots of money and in many cases compromised ethics. Pitt is happy to run a clean relatively competitive program, which is actually better than the Pirates who don’t care if they hit bottom most years, as long as they make money.
        Pitt plays at Heinz because it is inexpensive with very low overhead, a sound business decision.

        And don’t reference the NCAA sanctions for some obscure and stupid violation where the wrong people were holding up signs, when UNC hasn’t been sanctioned for fake or non-existent classes.

        Like

        1. Pitt has the lowest donation rate in the ACC

          Pitt has one of the lowest revenues of any P5 school

          Pitt has one of the highest subsidies of any P5 school

          I’m just looking at the financial metrics here that are important for a sports business

          If Pitt acted like a business, these issues would be addressed

          And Pitt wouldn’t be overly focused on graduation rates, gpa’s and how many kittens were saved last month.

          Like

          1. No doubt Athletics are not as high a priority at Pitt as we would like it to be.

            They have many other lines of business that are much more important to leadership,
            and to the University’s constituents who have funded a large endowment and obviously don’t give a rat’s a$$ about football.

            So while many want to blame Narduzzi and some are critical of Heather’s attire the lack of will at the top has always been the issue.

            Like

        2. Don’t discount the effect on game day atmosphere in the equation. Narduzzi got a pass this year. If fans are back in stands en masse he won’t be so lucky next season. It will be a good test of how consistent Gallagher’s commitment to football is. He hauled Pederson over the coals for the pitiful low attendance at Heinz – I believe it was the fumblepalooza game – I wonder what his thinking will be next year. Hoping for the best next year but don’t believe the way Pitt shoots itself in the foot will change. Dropped passes and excessive penalties trigger the boo-birds.

          Like

  34. The fact that Narduzzi held the team together after a very poor start with the low point being Ford leaving the program seems to be discounted by most. Pitt trounced 3 of it’s last four opponents with good offensive production, even a much unexpected running attack in the last game. Pitt avoided a total collapse which would have certainly justified changes on the offensive side and really put Narduzzi on the hot seat.

    Of course these were against the conferences lower ranked teams, but Pitt was pretty low too going into those games. But unlike many POVers, the team didn’t quit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So I shouldn’t quit on Narduzzi? Is this a joke?

      I should give him credit because his team didn’t quit

      His team did quit when 90 percent said I want to go home instead of representing Pitt in a nationally televised bowl.

      Like

      1. I will argue with anyone that this year needs to be taken with a grain of salt. There is no precedent, much of the season was making it up as they go along …. cancellations galore, double byes, opt outs before and during, teams dealing with restrictions that vary by state, who had spring practice and who didn’t ….

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t think you could call regulars on this board quitters, especially since there are posters who were sitting in Pitt Stadium during the Dave Hart years. I don’t see disinterest. There is disapproval based on historical analysis.

      Like

  35. WWB – great article. Well researched.

    I think people forget the gamble involved in a coaching change. Pitt fans certainly shouldn’t. I think it is because the press usually goes to the successful coaches.

    A few thoughts…

    Watson was a terrible hire. Everyone likes to mention the two 1000 yard rushers but Pitt couldn’t pass the ball. Back then the OL couldn’t pass block. Now it is the opposite with Whipple.

    I am skeptical that Pitt is in the top one third in ACC spending. PN’s salary is accurate. The rest is speculation based on BS budget reporting by the schools. I say top one half at best.

    Agree with Tex, a good OC adapts his offense to the talent each year. Whipple is clueless. Pitt’s best RBs sat on the bench. While, the flea can certainly break tackle in the open field, he isn’t falling forward when getting hit by a DL when you need a yard or two. Pitt had two young RBs that could but rarely played.

    Watching CIncinnati’s bowl game turned my stomach. Spread offense, 3-3-5 fast defense. They were exciting to watch even though they lost.

    I honestly believe that if PN hired a good OC, the record would improve to an acceptable level. In his brain, he hired a guy to bring the Pitt passing game up to speed. Unfortunately, he lost the run game. Pitt hasn’t had a balanced attack since Canada. He needs to go out and spend the money to get a top OC with a proven winning track record and top stats like Miami, UNC and NC State did. We will never know if he has the budget to do so. I doubt it. He had to pony up for Partridge and now probably Beatty. University’s like Pitt have a balancing act to maintain. More money for top position coaches/recruiters subtracts from coordinator money. This isn’t Clemson. Harley left, shift that money to the O side of the ball. Whipple will be gone after next year and he will most likely take PN down with him.

    Like

  36. That really was a refreshing and sobering article, Bill. Thank you. Yes, Narduzzi has his flaws and he is not going to make Pitt football into Clemson football. But I still believe that we can do better than what we have had with Narduzzi which is definitional mediocrity, i.e. a 50% won/lost record. My concern is that the drop from mediocrity which is as likely as a rise from mediocrity will be very difficult to rebound from. That is why if Narduzzi can achieve a 9 win season that would be the ideal time to transition from him because those 9 wins will be a false reality ala Syracuse 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I agree that Watson was not a good hire. And his hiring reflected the Matt House DC promotion … it took 2 months to occur. I just wonder how many candidates were asked to come in or turned down offers. Note that Watson was hired in Feb 2017 … and Heather was hired in March, three months after Barnes left for Oregon St.

    Does anyone see an issue here?

    Yet, within a week of Heather’s hiring, Stallings was fired and a few weeks later, Capel was hired. And then in the next year, Narduzzi’s salary was raised to be competitive with his peers … and then Beatty was hired

    Is anyone seeing a trend here?

    The trouble is that a program like Pitt’s just doesn’t change overnight ….. there is way too baggage

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Pitt’s core business is research and its graduate programs.
    Undergraduate programs are of a lesser priority and Football and Basketball are loss leaders.
    But overall, they are trending upward because of joining the ACC.

    Like

  39. Pitt will let narduzzis contract run its course

    It doesn’t have the money for a buyout

    Heather doesn’t want to admit her mistake and blemish her resume

    Pitts BoT is fine with stable mediocrity since it’s predictable. They are a risk adverse body.

    And most Pitt fans are fine with business as usual.

    Narduzzi will end up being a DC at a SEC school

    Heathers next career move is as AD in the Big 10

    Both can then retire comfortably

    Like

    1. While I don’t have a crystal ball like you, I would say that is a fairly reasonable prediction.
      However Narduzzi’s leaving his corners on islands, probably won’t work in the SEC with all their high powered QB’s and excellent receivers. Unless you have shutdown corners, which are in short supply, that dog don’t hunt no more. It was ok for the run first Big, but we have all seen what happens when you don’t get pressure on the QB.

      Like

  40. Holy crap! Doc Holliday is out at Marshall. He had the team as high as 15th this year at 7-0, but then an inexplicable shut out loss to Rice and 2 more losses (including in the bowl to Buffalo) left them with at 7-3.. His overall record is 85-54 over 11 years.

    The irony … Herman is fired at Texas after going 7-3 despite a $15M buyout.

    Holliday ousted at Marshall after 7-3 with a year left on his $755k contract.

    My guess is that he and the Marshall AD weren’t seeing eye to eye.

    Like

    1. Well it helps that heather owes her job in part to Narduzzi.

      Most schools don’t use that approach. Most schools would think that approach to be highly questionable as in a bad business practice and borderline unethical.

      Like

        1. That’s another good example

          Everyone owed their job to Joe

          But an AD hires head coaches. Not the other way around.

          No conflict of interest that way

          Like

          1. Watch how Boise State is going about hiring Harsin’s replacement.

            The AD position was vacant when Harsin left for the Auburn HC position. The school administration, which supports the FB program whole-heartedly decided to fill the AD position first and then let the new AD hire the next HC for football.

            That is how you build a winning support system & win FB games.

            Keep an eye on who the winning programs are and how they do things along the way.

            My guess is Boise State will hire a highly successful P5 assistant to be their next HC. The system is a proven winner.

            Like

        2. But it wasn’t official power, was it? It was delegated to him but as soon as Sandusky’s shower crimes were made public, Paterno was the first to go.

          Like

    2. Holliday said “I’m your huckleberry.” And the AD replied “You’re no daisy…..you’re no daisy at all.”
      “Poor soul, he was just too high strung.” “I’m afraid the strain was more than he could bear.”

      Like

  41. Holliday is a great recruiter and receivers coach. I’ll bet he gets picked up by one of the Florida Schools.
    Florida St. could sure use him.

    Like

  42. actually, it was the governor who had Holliday fired

    Pete Thamel@PeteThamel
    Sources: The decision to remove Doc Holliday at Marshall came from above the athletic director’s head, as it was orchestrated by the governor and board. Holliday made four-straight bowl games and eight in 10 years.

    Like

    1. You can throw out common wisdom in uncommon times. The governor was wrong. Doc deserved a better fate. I pray the governor gets his day.

      Like

  43. Hire Holliday fire Tim Salem. I don’t know if Doc can coach TEs but I am pretty sure Salem can’t. At least it would give Pitt another in house option to replace Duzz when that time comes.

    Like

  44. I agree with Tex on the fact that Pitt will let Narduzzi’s contract run its course for a while. He will still be here in 2022 no matter what happens this fall. Bill’s article does bring up the biggest objection to firing him. Will Pitt hire someone better?

    Are there coaches out there that can take Pitt to the next level? Of course there are. Pitt has the facilities and are in a Power 5 conference. Presently the only football team of note in the conference is Clemson and they are in the opposite division. Any coach of merit should have Pitt in the ACC championship game multiple times in any five year period. Heck even Narduzzi got them there once. Of course, he completely wasted that opportunity in getting the program to the next level.

    So do I believe that Pitt can hire a coach that will take us to the next level? The answer is, sadly, NO! If Pitt was interested in improving their football program they would have forced Narduzzi to fire Whipple this year. I do not care if Pickett would have left, it they had done that. If I was Lyke, I would have offered the assistant head coaching and offensive coordinator position to Moorhead and paid him whatever was necessary to get him. There are probably other offensive coordinators other readers of the blog would offer as well for such a move. This then gives Pitt the best chance of moving to the next level. With the way Narduzzi handles the offensive side of things in his program, something as drastic as this has to be done.

    Would Narduzzi agree to this? He would either do it or have to resign. Those would be his two choices. I do not see him walking away from his current paycheck. If I am the AD I do not give a darn how he feels. An added bonus of this option is that in the future you could fire Narduzzi and already have your next coach in place. The new head coach could then assemble most of his staff from those already at Pitt so there is some continuity to the program. Will this happen at Pitt, of course not!

    Like

      1. I’m sure that you earned your Pitt degree. Just the walk to campus from North Craig St. demonstrtes to me that you worked for it. Uphill both ways too!

        Like

  45. Gov Jim Justice.. graduate of Marshall…Prior to becoming governor he bought a huge piece of property down here in North Carolina that a farmer had to sell due bankruptcy…Heard some small talk from locals that wasn’t very favorable… Does not sound like a good guy…

    Like

    1. Well Doc peed off someone. Maybe sanctions are coming. Maybe not.

      I’d be worried if I was the AD. You never want your boss to go over your head or have some outsider do it

      These government bureaucrats need to stay out of sports.

      Like

    2. He also owns both the Greenbrier and Wintergreen resorts. At the Greenbriar, he lured the NO Saints there for training camp….built an NFL grade field and other facilities to pull them in. Got the PGA tour there as well.

      At WIntergreen, the pace has a been a little slower and the ski weather hasn’t been great the past couple years.

      Like

  46. Without reading all the comments I’ll chip in with this – Pitt’s football programs graduation success rate (GSR) and our Freshman Graduation Rate (FGR) have steadily risen under PN – so, for me at least, that is a mark in the positive column for him.

    I feel that we could do just as well in the long run with a younger, hungrier, HC that will work for less $$ and still get us .500 W/L record over the time he’s here. And who knows – maybe we catch lightning in a bottle and actually win 9+ games (or lose less than 3 games) in a season – with a new guy who can actually look at what a well-recruited and well-coached offense can do without sneering at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pitt will never take that risk. The Pitt administration is afraid to cross Fifth Avenue when the crosswalk light blinks yellow.

      Tex who prefers jaywalking.

      Like

    2. Where did you get the GSR & FSR data – NCAA, USA Dept. of Education, State of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh or someone else? Does it specifically breakout football players? Asking for a friend.

      My friend likes data and overall growth of knowledge not related to the best way to do yard work by the trial & error method.

      Like

      1. Seriously. What r u talkin bout.

        Are you one of the enablers?

        Go on and give money to Pitt. I don’t care.

        I donated to the jimmy V foundation instead. Yep. I did that today.

        So pound sand.

        Like

  47. Very nice write up, the administration is content with the culture of mediocrity, Duzz has a lifetime position at Pitt.

    Like

  48. I don’t think you can ever let a D1 Head Coach’s contract play out. When there are three years left and you haven’t extended him, you would begin a death spiral. Recruits and assistants would see the writing on the wall and bail. In this day of transfers you might even lose a number of current players. I think the only way to avoid a buyout is to find cause and get ready for your lawsuit.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. I think the one thing we all agree on here is that we all love Pitt. Our approach for what is the best course for the program may vary though.
    While I am very disappointed in the way the season went, and I don’t fully love Nardozzi, I think there are several reasons to keep him in place and I am saying that because I think it is the best thing for Pitt football. Not because I am settling or anything like that.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’ll take a different approach. As someone who ordered a Pitt is #1 t-shirt when our hoops time reached that pinnacle in 2009 and who stayed up all night writing in disgust about a Wanny blow out loss to Connecticut (2007?) my love for Pitt is seasoned and cynical. My father attended Pitt during the Jock Sutherland era and beamed with pride in 1976 but was quick to criticize the university for its disregard for winning football in the 1960s. When the penalties and incompletions start piling up, I can’t watch. I’m not a masochist.

      Like

      1. Chris Dokish@ChrisDokish

        In his acceptance speech, Jimmy Morrissey had great things to say about the Pitt program, Pat Narduzzi, Dave Borberly, and Dave Andrews, and he cried when talking about his parents. Pitt athletics sure does produce great people.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. And it speaks well for Narduzzi’s relationship with his players, According to reports in the Houston Chronicle, some of Herman’s players bad-mouthed Herman to recruits.

          Like

  50. Having been following Pitt football since 1966, I can think of only 2 coaching hires that took (or maintained) the program at the to-be-desired “Next Level”. Forty years of Hire (1 step forward) And Fire (3 steps backward) leads me to have very little faith in Pitt Administration’s ability to find and keep a program builder. Sad to say, but I think we will rue the day Nard Dog is let go.

    To paraphrase Ike:
    “He all we got;
    He all we get”!

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Jimmy and George “ the Animal” as good as any Panther to don the uniform in the last 10 years IMO… they had a goal- put in the work and made the sacrifices… earned it the ole fashioned way!!! Hail to Jimmy!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  52. I’m over Duzz but until Pitt makes some changes in how it approaches athletics from the top, I don’t have much faith a 40th paid head coach will get you much more than 40th ranked results. Go spend top 5 money on a head coach and make the investments he demands … then you’ll have my ear on firing anyone.

    Like

    1. Pitt actually gets mid 50s results (per RPI) for a top 30 spend on the head coach.

      Facts matter

      But I’m with you Tossing.

      Appreciate your b-ball knowledge.

      Like

      1. I just looked it up and I didn’t realize Duzz was 27 in salary … Top 10 is $6M per year … need to get to that level of spending. I stand by the pay for what you get … they don’t spend top 25 money and don’t have a top 25 team. If Pitt wants to win consistently, pay someone $6M … that will turn heads and get coaches to Pitt.

        Like

          1. Narduzzi is ranked 27th at $4,075.994. Penn State’s Franklin’s actual salary is not listed so they are in the also ran section at the bottom. Use the sort feature provided in the chart.

            Like

        1. But that will only work if the recruiting is in the top 10. The dynasties ruling college football now all out recruit their rivals. When it comes to the success of the football program, Pitt lacks the will and the foresight.

          Like

  53. Bill – thank you for contributing – and a well-conceived post at that.. Enjoyed it and you made a compelling argument for your POV. I generally agree with your argument. To me, having a program that can make a coach successful is not just about insitutional mindset and financial resources. Its about using those two attributes and others to make smart decisions. Tradition, brand equity, yada yada yada… and lets not forget a bit of luck.

    Erie makes a cogent explanation as well for why and when hiring someone with HC experience is important.
    THe next chap who comes in should have that experiance.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. DT Keyshon Camp Returning To Pitt For One More Season

    The DL just got better. Here is hoping Keyshon has a healthy and productive 2021.

    H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t have too much beef up the middle. If he stays healthy he will make a difference.
      Got to give him a lot of credit. Sixth year at Pitt, he may be Dr. Camp when he leaves.

      Liked by 1 person

  55. Got a feeling (being a sage), that says a lot.

    Those that are still alive in 10 years….will be repeating the same stuff, that’s been repeated
    over and over again on here and the Blather…the last 10 years.

    And the beat goes on !

    Like

  56. With regard to risk taking, Pitt like most other colleges takes plenty of risk every day when operating a university. They just don’t want to add to that risk with sports programs that are not the main mission of the school. In these difficult times, I would think that most colleges would not want to gamble millions of dollars on new coach and staff salaries and commit to facility upgrades, recruiting budgets and other related costs that a top new coach may want.

    So Tossing has it right that it is politically better to just ride it out with the existing guy for the rest of his contract, instead of bringing in a new coach and then strangling him with budget cuts in other areas.

    Like

    1. Heather made her bed. We pitt fans have to deal with it. I hear you. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

      Indian jones movie line.

      Like

    1. THE Game is the Red River Rivalry….and Herman was 1 win and 4 losses, including a loss in the Big 12 Championship game in 2018.

      Like

      1. Maybe Texas should secede like they wanted to a few years ago. I’m sick of hearing about how things are in Texas. Pitt is in PA and our athletes are actually required to be students. Not sure the same can be said for Texas, based on your lack of respect for our players actually going to class and being good people (saving kittens and helping old ladies cross the street).

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Meaningless bowl games don’t matter. Your record against the territory of Oklahoma does.

      I wish pitt fans thought the same of the Hoopies, Nitters and Domers. But they don’t.

      They think how they compare against Syracuse matters.

      Pathetic.

      Tex – I don’t post for the likes.

      Like

      1. Meaningless bowl games don’t matter unless you are the HC at Pitt. Then the Narduzzi bashers like to trot out the bowl games details for the Pitt meaningless bowl games.

        Like

  57. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Pitt is incapable of managing a successful football program. The evidence is clear. And I’m not talking 11, 12, or 13 wins every year. But 9 wins, 10 wins, consistently and every 10 years maybe 11, and every 20 years maybe 12. Until Pitt has addressed its deficiencies they can fire and hire till the next ice age cometh and nothing will change. And Whipple is not the answer, but Narduzzi can’t get and keep a good OC. One of the deficiencies.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. True. I love my alma mater. But will NEVER support football. Real football gets my dollars. And funny thing is…soccer was ranked number 1 in the nation this year. Soccer coach doesn’t have excuses.

          Again, pathetic mindsets permeate pitt American football. Hence the mediocrity and utter abject failure.

          Not sorry for hurting feelings. I want you to hate me.

          Like

  58. Of course Narduzzi isn’t going anywhere. Taking action would require Lyke to get up and do something. She couldn’t even be bothered to make the announcement about no bowl and sent a note instead. She has her defenders, but she is one lazy AD. Narduzzi is here. Show your disapproval by cancelling season tickets or endure him as we are being forced to do. The actions by Auburn, and in the extreme Texas, show that Pitt is a second rate Power five team.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. OMG…i just saw wbb’s usa today link above. is Pitt really paying the Duzzy over $4 million per.

    That’s obscene for the results we’re getting. Blown out and humiliated on national TV, several times per
    season. QB’s that can’t hit a wide open WR if they’re life depended on it. Ok’d the coal miner uniforms.
    Among the ncaaf team leaders every year in Team Penalties. Not to mention the often and repeated
    game day coaching gaffes. No End of Season Top 25 rankings for $4 mil per….

    They could hire Jay Norvell of Nevada, get the same results or better and only pay him $1 million per.

    Like

    1. My pig works for slop. The pig from charlottes web would make a better coach. But the spider was the real star.

      Like

  60. Any mention of relatives makes my tail curl. Lot of points on both sides which seems to show where the Pitt BoT is at. There is no consensus. Everyone wants to believe they are more right than the other guy to the point that neither is right and a program flounders.

    I put a fish reference in there to change food group discussion from bacon…..

    Marshall Board and Governor pulled rank over Doc. The Mack Brown supporters ground swelled and got Hermann the boot. Noone cares enough either way about Narduzzi and Heather to even put pressure on winning. Pitt fans suffer. Better enrollment candidates suffer. Better future giving suffers. Pitt has lost a generation of future supporters. Most on here are older. They are not getting replaced. Wake up BoT.

    Heather and Duzz are slowly killing the major revenue producer, with nothing in the pipeline to offset the terribly mediocre results.

    Glad Morrisey won the award but candidly, we should never really be in that position if we recruited properly. When i won my first Patsy Award (true), I thanked a lot of animals that i just didn’t care for and believed they were putzes. Morrissey probably hd to get introduced to Narduzzi since nard never spends any time on offense.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. see, this is what tees me off the most. “Heather and Duzz are slowly killing the major revenue producer, with nothing in the pipeline to offset the terribly mediocre results.”

      Do not blame the current personnel. This program was not ‘slowly’ destroyed in the the late 80s and 90s … it was ravaged. It went from a national power in the early 80s to talk of going to D2 in the mid 90s. And then every time it made a comeback … a successful coach was axed or a budget was cut and winning was was not a priority.

      And now with the rapid decline of Western PA football talent, this program has lost its last advantage. Pitt has no advantage whatsoever over at least 7 or 8 other ACC schools when selling its program

      Liked by 4 people

      1. So let’s raise the budget now to stay ahead of other coastal teams before pitt gets leapfrogged and get rid of a mediocre coach. Most pitt fans agree. He’s a C student.

        The budget and facilities are already here

        Like

      2. Pitt could have hockey in the pipeline. Instead heather picked girls lacrosse. Cut the tennis team for that new sport. Bad move.

        Like

      3. Good point. Had Pitt really wanted to be on equal footing with Penn State football, the administration would have done everything they could to catch up.

        We recruit well enough for the occasional 10 win season and national ranking. But we aren’t there.

        Like

      4. You create your own advantages by working harder than your competition. All else is excuse making and allows mediocre talent to remain in place. Set your goals low enough and you will achieve them. It would be great for Heather to tell the fanbase that she and Duzz have put together resources, budget and strategy which should bring 9 win seasons. You now have a measurable goal. This is not an aspirational goal. It is the goal. Now measure his success against the goal.

        Expectations are set and you either perform or you don’t. Instead Heather says we will win championships here. Not coastal championships. ACC Championships and National Championships. She is her worst enemy when she speaks. That is why she disappears. Gallagher should do the same thing with her. We will see this when pigs fly.

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  61. Former Pitt DC and current Wofford HC Josh Conklin is a leading candidate for the Illinois DC position per The Scoop.

    “A former Broyles Award finalist with stellar defensive work at both Florida International and Pittsburgh as defensive coordinator, Conklin’s been a strong success as a head coach at FCS Southern Conference power Wofford. Conklin’s guided the Terriers to back-to-back Southern Conference titles, winning the league outright in 2019 after sharing the crown in ’18 while also advancing to the FCS Playoffs in each of those campaigns.

    Unsurprisingly, Conklin’s Wofford teams have played fierce defense. The Terriers allowed just 19 points per game in his debut season and just 22 ppg in ’19; against FCS peers, Wofford allowed less than 19 ppg last season.”

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Another interesting bit of news – Cuse just picked-up a 4 star dual threat QB from the transfer portal from Mississippi State while our favorite Orange QB “Danny” DiVito remains with at least one more year of eligibility, two if he cashes in on the +C-19 year.

    Like

  63. on this day in Pitt sports history ….. in 2009, Pitt MBB reached the No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll for the first time ever, and stayed there until a loss at Louisville on 1/19. They would later reclaim it briefly at the end of February and finished the regular season at #3. And they would get a No. 1 sees in the NCAA … and would do it again two years later

    Oh, the good old days

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The NCAA placed TCU’s athletics program on probation for one year after the Horned Frogs self-reported violations that included 33 football and men’s and women’s basketball players receiving payment for work not actually performed as university summer employees from 2015 to 2018.Dec 20, 2019

      Like

    2. The good old days, to be followed shortly thereafter by fans who decreed that Final Fours and National Championships were the “next level” and that they knew for a fact that Jamie could never get us there and had to go. They deserved better than NCAA tourney invites and Sweet 16 finishes.

      So how close are we now to the Final Four?

      Like

      1. Jamie was flaming out in his last couple of years at PITT…is he still coaching at his alma mater? I quit following basketball when Meadowlark retired….

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m pretty sure he is and has taken that program to levels it has never seen, including NCAA Tournaments.

          My theory on Jamie’s drop off at Pitt has more to do with losing key assistants. When you lose a Slice to a promotion or Orlando to Calipari, they can be very hard to replace. Big men coaches are hard to find and everyone is after them. And unlike football, you are not just competing against the huge universities for elite coaches and players. Little schools like Gonzaga, Villanova, Xavier, etc., can afford to put together great basketball programs and hang on to good coaches. But that’s a discussion for another day.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Agreed.

            That said, I think he had reached his ceiling at Pitt. His instincts as a defensive minde guy did not serve him or the team well in that Butler game. Tried to milk the clock with a one point lead with something like 45 sec left in the game. You go for a quick score to build the lead to 3 (or maybe even 4) and leave yoursellf a chance to get the ball back with 5-10 second left.

            Like

            1. And btw, I ate dinner with him at the pregame tailgate in Raleigh. We were both the last to dine so I had a nice chat with him. Really good guy.

              Like

  64. Dixon is 7-11 in conference play over the past four years. That’s his average

    His teams have won over 20 games three times

    His secret has always been to schedule 15 patsies to pad his wins

    I don’t see him at Tcu for much longer

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  65. The fact that Jaime was unable to recruit a point guard after Robinson and a center after Adams at the same time Pitt joined the ACC was the kiss of death. If Adams would have stayed one more year who knows what that first season in the ACC would have been like. A similar result to what happened with football this year.
    Pitt many times coming up short.

    It was time for Jamie to move on, unfortunately just like when Wanny left, Pitt’s total incompetence in hiring was on full display.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie never played Adams. He gave him every reason to leave. He should have started day 1 and left after the season.
      Jamie did not know how to coach elite talent.

      Like

      1. Agree with this. Adams only touched the ball when he got a rebound. Not the way to impress other center recruits. Opposing recruiters had the stats…

        Go Pitt.

        Like

      2. “never played”?

        he played in all but 1 game
        he had the 5th most minutes close behind Talib Zanna a rsJunior who was pretty good and who also statistically out-rebounded and out-scored him

        I totally agree they should’ve run more offense through him

        would love to hear from JD why that didn’t happen

        Like

        1. Late to the conversation, but regarding Adams…. Dixon caught a big break when one of his buddies who was coaching in New Zealand alerted him about Adams and a connection was made. Getting Adams to commit was a huge win for Dixon who- as I am sure all of you recall- never really brought in top guys consistently (notable exceptions being Young and Blair.) He mostly got those tough New York guys who would fly under the radar but were perfect for Pitt’s system. Dixon’s mistake with Adams (IMO) was that he viewed him as super talented, but nonetheless raw and a project. He believed Adams would need to be a 3 year player at PItt (2 if he really blossomed) and would leave after his Junior year and be a top 3 pick. As such, he brought him along slowly that year. Us Pitt fans were screaming all year for Adams to be more involved. I also remember media types like Pompeani also expressing similar thoughts. When Dixon would be asked about Adams, he would spew roundabout coach speak as to his progress. Adams started to be more involved late in the season and it became obvious how good he was (to become.) Then he shocked (Dixon) everyone by turning pro. It was obvious in interviews that Dixon, while smiling and saying the right things (because Adams supposedly was doing it to help financially some family members,) thought it was the wrong move for him to turn pro. This was a significant blow to Dixon, not only because he was losing a keystone player for the next season, but because Dixon’s recruiting (understandably) didn’t account for Adams being one and done.
          Khem Birch similarly screwed Dixon. First by reclassifying to a year earlier than expected (Pitt didn’t have an open scholarship for him. A commit- I forget who- decided that Birch’s early entrance made it a crowded room and decommitted (was shown the door) allowing Birch a scholarship. Then as you all know, Birch decides Christmas was the only holiday he cared to spend in Pittsburgh and transfers out- again leaving Dixon’s recruiting muddled. Throw in Pitt moving to the ACC. A move Dixon, though smiling the whole time- never wanted (even saying publicly he thought it was bad for Pitt basketball while acknowledging it was being done for football money.) At this point (IMO) Dixon almost seems to have given up in his recruiting efforts. Knowing he needs a different type of player for the ACC and going through the Adams/Birch setbacks, he most likely was ready to move on. TCU was the perfect job at the perfect time.

          Like

    1. GC – I have seen that Mathias is coming back on the fringes of various articles. I’ll try to pin one down and post it later.

      Like

  66. This blog would be good if we ever actually talked football here. Instead it’s just a constant debate about whether we should fire the head coach and the athletic director.

    It’s not Mike’s fault either. He could write a thoughtful post about next year’s wide receiver room, but by the 10th comment we’d be back to reading the same 3-4 overly negative, dramatic posters calling Narduzzi a dumb gorilla. It’s a tired act guys.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. You wanna talk about football? How many dropped passes did Pitt have the past two seasons? How many penalties? How many bewildering on the field coaching decisions? What did the Pitt players do wrong (that’s talking about football, isn’t it?) in blowout losses to Oklahoma State, Penn State, Clemson, UCF, Notre Dame, etc?

      Please enlighten us all: What do you want to talk about? Writing a criticism is easy…where’s your constructive comment?

      Like

    2. Football season is already over. Or haven’t you noticed. And it would be quite boring if this site was just a cheerleading section awash in Koolaid.

      Keep fooling yourself James…or whoever you are !

      Like

  67. We pitt fans constantly debate firing coaches while other schools actually do it.

    Listen if pitt had better coaches the talk wouldn’t be so negative. I don’t hear anyone bashing the woman’s volleyball, soccer or basketball coaches. Or anyone bashing the men’s soccer or wrestling coaches. Why. Because they are all good coaches who are getting results.

    And name calling is a sign of the times. Look at who has the most followers on twitter. You can’t tell me they don’t name call or aren’t provocative in some way.

    Imma follower of UPitt and some other creative handles because of their name calling and crass humor.

    If I wanted a serious discussion of Pitt athletics I’d become a booster and actually meet with heather in her basement.

    You can’t be serious all the time on blogs. All work and no play makes Tex a dull boy.

    Like

  68. Reading the article about Morrissey and his Burlsworth award, it struck me that his main message was that when entering the locker room at Pitt, walk ons are treated the same as everyone else, that you can’t tell who the walk ons are. All have an equal chance to play if they are good enough, and walk ons are not singled out. This type of fair treatment is essential for team cohesiveness and success on the field.

    Then I thought of the current discussion about paying college players, and how disruptive that would be. There is no way to ensure team cohesiveness and unity when a few top players are getting paychecks while others are working just as hard for free. Would the OL block for a QB or RB who is getting a paycheck when they are not? Would paid players driving around in new cars be treated as equal team mates by unpaid players on scholarship only?

    No reasonable person can really think that a system that pays a few, but not all, college players would work at the college level. The NFL should solve this problem through a minor league system, and leave college football to amateur players.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They have a free system now. They won’t pay to create one. But players want paid. Hence the formation of that 30 school semi pro conference. Affiliated with colleges since the infrastructure already exists.

      Like

  69. Don’t pay them
    let the NFL pay them
    let them go play a 20 game season in Altoona for 2,500 a game
    Then eliminate the APR get rid of the tutors for every class and field a team
    With students.
    5 stars are welcome if they come for school
    Just like everyone else .

    Smartest guy that ever went to Boca Raton High had the unfortunate luck of rooming freshman year with my buddy from Pittsburgh.
    Full 4 year academic scholarship
    Kicked out after 1 year

    No fake outrage from the academic set about about reputation of the University

    Liked by 2 people

  70. I think Jamie’s descent at Pitt had to a lot to do with losing the NYC/NJ/Philly pipeline that had served him so well during his time in the Big East. Just like Florida 3-stars seem to be kind to Pitt FB, NYC area 3-stars had the same effect.

    But even with that, Jamie’s last year saw 23 wins, an NCAA invite, and 6 of the 7 top scorers returning. The cupboard was not bare … until a year or 2 later, that is

    Like

    1. I’m glad he’s gone. He’s TCUs problem now. And the honeymoon is definitely over for him there. I see him back in Cali within two years.

      Like

    2. Absolutely right wwb, PITT couldn’t get the metro NYC kids during the latter stages of Dixon’s term. And I don’t understand why. PITT had the reputation, Knight was an assistant recruiting the area, we were part of the ACC. Must have been something about Dixon’s personality himself. Knight is doing fine with Rutgers now. Rutgers went in the direction of the old PITT playing great defense. Harper is a Don Bosco kid same as Biggs; could have been a PITT recruit.
      I am not sure the NYC kids can relate to Capel. I certainly can’t.

      Like

  71. Jamie also never replaced his good assistant coaches that left for HC jobs or greener pastures. After 10-15 years as a head coach, Jamie should have been able to find good assistant coaches who could recruit ACC players. Jamie’s recruits were starting to slip, and even with the 23 wins it became obvious that there were recruiting deficiencies emerging.

    Like

    1. Herman is a much better coach than King Pat. He could get Pitt to top 25 seasons. But we fans are stuck in mediocrity for the next three years. Only fools think Narduzzi can break through his 8 win ceiling. $4 million is way too much to pay for a 7 win average coach. If that’s being negative, so be it. I call that being real and not living in fantasy.

      Like

      1. I agree Herman is a better coach but we shall see after his next job. I thought Sumlin was good at one time.

        Like

        1. Herman will need to go to a school with a winning tradition and an administration that supports the FB program.

          Boise State would be a smart move and allow him to land another big time P5 job in the near future.

          If he chose to go to Tennessee or Pitt or Cuse, he probably kills his head coaching future.

          I can expound if you want me to, but right now I will reframe from mixing into the Duzz conversation.

          Like

          1. why would Herman with his $15M buyout choose Pitt?… I’m pretty sure he will land at a better school in the next year or so

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            1. Bill – the word I used was “if” – it was a hypothetical example. So, if I was Herman’s agent, I would steer him away from schools such as Pitt, Tenn, Arizona & Cuse because they don’t have a winning support system. Texas has a winning support system, as does Clemson, Florida, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, tOSU and Boise State.

              Schools such as Pitt, Tenn, Arizona and Cuse need a strong personality for their HC to have consistent winning seasons because the administration does not support the two money making sports in FB & MBB.

              Companies are the same way – a great leader can make a mediocre business rise to record levels. A great company can sustain record levels sometimes with a mediocre leader.

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            2. I was joking about Herman but he really only had success at Houston for two years before jumping ship to Texas where he wasn’t nearly as good. He is kind of mirroring Sumlin’s career.

              Like

        2. Sumlin was good at Texas A&M because of their winning system and strong support from the school administration.

          He was burned out by the time he landed at Arizona.

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  72. No good HC in his right mind would come to Pitt. The word has been out…for a long long time. Minimal support from the muckety mucks and an administration that is just happy to be getting their ACC Welfare check, so that the Athletic Dept doesn’t have to draw even more schools funds to support it.

    So it’s Asst’s and maybe some retreads, has beens or never weres.

    Happy New Year and SOP !

    Like

    1. A good head coach would come to Pitt as a stepping stone.

      Pitt gives you a good but not great budget. Pitt has the money to pay coordinators one million per year

      Pitt has the facilities

      Pitt plays in a weak division with Syracuse as the cross over

      Pitt doesn’t have high expectations

      It’s a perfect job for a Mac or aac coach on the rise

      Liked by 1 person

  73. I think Steelers got a break in the playoff seeding. Bills finished No. 2 but have to play the Colts. Steelers could lose to the Browns, but Colts are going to be a tougher out, IMHO, (in spite of having Rivers at QB).

    Like

    1. The ravens are the hottest team right now

      I expect them to upset KC and the Steelers to upset the bills

      Ravens vs Steelers in the championship

      Like

  74. I agree John…plus the Brownies have coaches with covid.
    I think Van Pelt will be calling plays.
    And the Stillers HAVE to be fired up to play them again. I know I am…

    Shout out to I ❤ Iek…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure Boeheim wasn’t aware his assistant coach’s wife was sleeping with players… LSU has Wade, then there’s Sean Miller & Bill Self. The only thing those schools care about is winning, and the NCAA is a complete joke of an organization that is respected by nobody.

      Like

  75. LOL .. I can remember back in early 2011 when PSU fans were poking fun at OSU and Tressel for ‘Tattoo Gate’, and telling everyone how pristine Happy Valley was. Well, that didn’t last long, did it?

    Of course, Pitt fans can’t say anything now because of ‘Quality Control Coach Gate’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well there’s cheating on Minor stuff and getting caught. Cheating on major stuff and getting caught and the NCAA does little.

      And then there’s enabling child rape in showers. And no sports death penalty.

      It pays to cheat. So cheat bigly.

      Like

  76. You all have to understand who runs the NCAA. It is the P5 for the most part, especially in football. Similar to the NFL, Gooddell has 32 bosses. That is why the penalties are usually not too severe for anyone. The NCAA has more reach in basketball and actually runs march madness. The NCAA does not own the CFP.

    The NCAA relies on the individual schools compliance departments to do the heavy lifting and enforcement internally. It is not an independent body or independent decisioning body. This is really why I tend to roll in the mud laughing when you all say that the Pitt Administration wants a clean program. What happens to the not clean ones? NOTHING.

    The worst penalty ever handed out was to SMU back in the early 80s(?). The only reason that happened was because the NCAA at the time thought they had power. When they gave out the death penalty to SMU, the big school presidents and ADs got together and said no more. We do not want that to happen again. So it doesn’t. The NCAA will have to do something to Arizona because the enforcement came from the FBI, not the NCAA, so they will be in trouble.

    You need to understand what is going on. EVERY university cheats. Pitt needs to cheat a little more. It is never a black eye. Pitt has more cheating going on with research than athletics, trust me. You just don’t hear about those things because we are thankfully, not an academic blog. Back to the mud.

    Liked by 1 person

  77. Cheating on minor stuff could be inadvertent or sloppy, but does not necessarily show willful intent. Cheating on big stuff, like paying players, bringing in strippers, etc., shows willful intent and may even show that the AD was involved, which is a lack of administrative oversight and control. Also, multiple, periodic infractions can show that a university is not learning from its mistakes which is another lack of administrative control. Pitt was hit with 2 years’ probation for minor stuff. Cuse, Louisville, Arizona and others should be really slammed for their violations, but the NCAA enforcement is weak.

    Like

  78. If Pitt turns into another Syracuse or Louisville, I will quit following them. Some on this site don’t agree, but building athletic programs based on cheating would not be something to be proud of. There is more to the Pitt brand than sports, and sports are a part of the university but not the core mission.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t believe they should cheat. I believe in playing in the gray areas or shadows. But Pitt was stupid for cheating and getting caught on something so Minor. Pitt can’t win at cheating or on the field. Pathetic. Shows me their utter incompetence. And both basketball and football cheated under heathers watch. Shows me how much they respect her. Shows me she wasn’t watching.

      Like

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