The Pitt Panthers coaching search is back to square one after the firing of Mike Haywood and it will be fascinating to watch how this process plays out once again.
At the top of Pitt’s wishlist is Tulsa’s Todd Graham and San Diego State’s Brady Hoke. Both were on Pitt’s radar during the 1st coaching search but the interest from both candidates was said to be lukewarm during the first go around.
They may have a shot at Graham but those inside the industry claim Hoke has no interest in Pitt and neither does Houston’s Kevin Sumlin who Pitt interviewed during the first process.
Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg met with Pitt players yesterday and claimed that the school is going to get it right this time.
While Pitt is gauging the interest from their previous small group of coaching candidates, they have expanded their coaching list significantly, with as many as 10 coaches on their radar.
A number of those candidates will either show no interest or be too expensive but it appears from the start that they are at least going through the process the right way and actually considering assistant coaches this time around.
According to Pantherlair.com, the Panthers shortlist of candidates is very long at this moment.
The candidates being discussed by the administration are said to be Marvin Lewis (considered unlikely), Florida Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, former BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jay Norvell who Pederson has close ties to.
Other candidates mentioned by the report, all in a sense considered pretty big longshots are Mike Leach, Boise State’s Chris Petersen (not happening), Shawn Watson, Paul Rhoads and Mark Stoops.
Mike Leach is a coach who Pederson is said to be drawn too but until he drops his ESPN lawsuit, word is no D-1 school is going to touch him.
It’s early but the buzz right now is really centering around Todd Graham, Teryl Austin, Tom Bradley and Brady Hoke if he surprisingly has a change of heart and shows interest in the job.
Bradley is the interesting scenario. He was said during the first go around to not fit what Pitt was looking for on several levels. However, now the school is looking for damage control and looking to save a lost recruiting year.
He’s now expected to get a look from the school and receive an interview. Whether the interview will just be a PR move, remains to be seen as Bradley appears to be the favorite among the fan base.
In other pitt coaching news, Frank Cignetti will be going to Rutgers to be their new offensive coordinator. He will be joining for Pitt coach Jeff Hafley whose an extremely good recruiter in New Jersey.
Cignetti will be a great get for Rutgers from a recruiting standpoint in Western Pennsylvania.
Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will coach Pitt in their upcoming bowl game. Players pushed for Wannstedt to coach the game but Wannstedt has decided against it.