Upheaval At Pitt, As Head Coach Chryst Moves To Wisconsin, AD Finished As Well

Wednesday evening was a busy time for Pittsburgh athletics. Just as Wisconsin was introducing former Panthers’ coach Paul Chryst as their new coach, Pittsburgh announced that athletic director Steve Pederson was out of a job.

That leaves vice chancellor of research conduct and compliance, Randy P. Juhl in charge as acting athletic director. A national search for a permanent replacement for Pederson will begin immediately.

That’s a tall order in and of itself, but taller still when you also have a major coaching vacancy to fill at the same time.

Hiring a football coach takes far less time than a search to fill a major administrative vacancy so expect Dr. Juhl to act swiftly.

FootballScoop.com’s Scott Roussel indicates above that plans are forming to make a lot of noise with this hire and “go big” as well as give the new head coach more resources to improve the program.

So just what qualifies as “big” in this case?

Schiano is an interesting name because he’s a great college coach with some baggage. His first coaching job was as defensive backs coach at Penn State from 1991-95. He later worked wonders with the Rutgers program as head coach, taking it from a laughingstock to a perennial bowl team. Of course he famously flamed out in the NFL, but he’s a great defensive mind and strong recruiter. And he will do nothing if not recruit “Schiano Men”.

I could actually see his tough guy routine playing well in a blue-collar city like Pittsburgh but it might bring criticism initially.

Bradley is a name that’s been tossed about but that sounds unlikely as head coach. He was at Penn State from 1979 to 2011 in various capacities under Joe Paterno including serving as interim head coach after Paterno was dismissed in 2011.

Doc Holliday is a very interesting name. He’s a West Virginia graduate and longtime coach there with stops at NC State and Florida before becoming the head coach at Marshall. He’s posted a 39-25 overall record with the Thundering Herd including 2-0 in bowl games. This season he lead Marshall to a 12-1 record.

The Pittsburgh players really like offensive coordinator and interim head coach Joe Rudolph. Supposedly they’ve been lobbying on his behalf to become the full-time head coach. That’s a pretty normal occurrence in this kind of situation, but it’s unlikely that Pitt will go with an assistant coach if they really want to make a splash.

We’ll stay on top of this situation as it continues to develop.

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