The search is over as the Pitt Panthers have landed their top coaching target and will name Tulsa’s Todd Graham their new head coach on Tuesday.
Graham who emerged as the Panthers top choice immediately following the firing of Mike Haywood, finalized a five year deal this afternoon with the University.
A report surfaced last Wednesday that the Panthers were going to hire Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley but Graham was always the administration’s top choice with the one obstacle being money. In the end, Pitt has stepped up and will make Graham one of the highest paid coaches in the Big East.
The deal will pay Graham close to $2 million per season and the contract is worth close to $10 million over 5 years, university sources say.
Bradley who appeared to be a fan favorite to get the job, never received a second interview with the school but was considered Pitt’s fallback plan after Graham.
According to a contact in Graham’s inner circle, Graham believes he can win immediately at Pitt and feels this is a “10 to 11” win team next season. That drew Graham to Pitt and of course a salary pushing $2 million per season and a guarantee from the administration that more money will be available to bring in top assistants than Dave Wannstedt was given.
Graham is going to be bringing over a few assistants from Tulsa but sources tell me there’s a group of 2-3 coaches with strong ties to the area who have previously worked closely with Graham that are candidates to join Graham’s staff.
One name whose said to be a strong possibility to join Graham’s staff is former WVU recruiting coordinator Herb Hand. Hand was an original member of Rich Rodriguez’s staff in 2001 with West Virginia before leaving WVU for Tulsa to join Graham’s staff in January 2007.
Hand was an excellent recruiter in the area and is currently the offensive line coach at Vanderbilt.
Graham is expected to bring…
Tulsa defensive coordinator Keith Patterson to Pitt according to a report out of Tulsa. In four seasons at Tulsa, Graham went 36–17 in and posted three seasons of 10+ wins, including an 11-3 mark in 2008.
Graham led the Golden Hurricanes to a 10-3 record in 2010 and is 3-0 in Bowl games at Tulsa.