|Boise State’s Chris Petersen said he has no interest in coaching another program. (Charlie Litchfield/Ap)|
Todd Graham has agreed to leave Tulsa and become Pittsburgh’s third football coach in a month, a move designed to quickly bring stability to a program rocked by former coach Mike Haywood’s arrest last month.
Graham told his Tulsa players of the move at a meeting last night, and Pitt made the hiring official shortly after that.
Graham had a 36-17 record in four seasons at Tulsa, going 10-3 this season. He is expected to be paid about $2 million per season at Pitt after making $1.3 million at Tulsa.
“Pittsburgh is a tremendous football city with great fans,’’ Graham said in a statement. “We will work diligently every day to earn their respect and build a program that competes for and wins championships.’’
Graham is the only coach known to have had two interviews with Pitt officials, and he met with Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg — a requirement for any finalist. Nordenberg became involved in the search after athletic director Steve Pederson’s hand-picked choice, Haywood, was fired Jan. 1 following his arrest on a domestic violence charge.
Haywood was hired in mid-December to replace the fired Dave Wannstedt, but his arrest became a national embarrassment for the university and led to a more thorough search for Pitt’s next coach.
Graham won’t have the services of some big contributors to Pitt’s offense. Sophomore running back Dion Lewis, a second-team All-American in 2009 whose numbers slipped this season, declared for the NFL draft. So did junior wide receiver and All-Big East player Jon Baldwin, and fullback Henry Hynoski, a redshirt junior.
Graham is expected to drastically alter the system at Pitt, where Wannstedt employed a pro-style offense that featured a fullback and a traditional defense. Graham prefers a spread-type offense, and his defense borrows from the three-man stack employed by West Virginia, with whom he was an assistant from 2001-02.
Petersen staying put Boise State coach Chris Petersen squelched chatter linking him to the opening at Stanford, saying he has no interest in other jobs. Petersen is one of the nation’s most successful coaches over the last five years, compiling a 61-5 record and two undefeated seasons.
“I think [Stanford] is a very special place,’’ he said. “I just thought it was worth having a conversation about, but that’s about as far as it went.’’
Petersen also filled two openings on his staff yesterday, including bringing back Brent Pease to coordinate the Broncos’ high-scoring offense. Last month, Pease accepted the same job at Indiana, but was lured back after former Broncos offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin moved on to Texas. Petersen also said Robert Prince will return to coach wide receivers and serve as passing game coordinator.
Miles has meeting An LSU spokesman said coach Les Miles met with Michigan officials about the Wolverines’ coaching vacancy last night in Baton Rouge, but would not say who represented Michigan at the meeting. Earlier in the day, Miles, an former player and assistant coach at Michigan, said he is “extremely happy’’ at LSU and his family likes the area . . . Clemson announced Tulsa’s Chad Morris is its new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach . . . Mississippi named Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach David Lee offensive coordinator.
Stars out for draft LSU star cornerback Patrick Peterson, projected to be a top-five selection in April’s NFL draft, will forgo his senior season. “I pretty much achieved all my goals here,’’ said Peterson, who won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and the Bednarik Award as the top defender in college football . . . Sophomore tailback Ryan Williams is leaving Virginia Tech. An NFL advisory panel projected him as a first- or second-round draft choice . . . Oregon State junior tailback Jacquizz Rodgers is headed to the pros. Rodgers, a 5-foot-7-inch, 191-pounder, is the No. 2 rusher in team history . . . Illinois middle linebacker Martez Wilson will skip his senior season and jump to the NFL . . . Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins and Ohio State center Michael Brewster will return for their senior seasons.
Marecic most versatile Stanford fullback-linebacker Owen Marecic won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, given out by the Louisville Sports Commission to honor the most versatile player in college football. Marecic beat out Kentucky wide receiver-kick returner Randall Cobb and TCU wide receiver-kick returner Jeremy Kerley . . . A group of football and business leaders have established the College Football Assistance Fund, which will financially support players who sustained serious injuries on the field.