Per sources, Paul Chryst bolting Pitt for the Wisconsin job is a done deal and will become official Wednesday night at a 7 p.m. EST press conference in Madison.
With that news, Pitt chancellor Patrick Gallagher is presented with a golden opportunity, one that likely wouldn’t have come along if Chryst had stayed aboard.
He can hire his own man.
By that I’m not necessarily talking about a football coach, but more importantly Gallagher has the opportunity to start fresh with his own athletic director.
That means Steve Pederson has to go.
It’s time that Pitt blows it all up and starts from scratch.
Gallagher simply can’t allow Pederson to hire the Panthers next football coach, their fifth since 2010.
No one should have any faith in Pederson hiring the right guy. He simply hasn’t earned that type of faith lately.
Make no mistake about it, Chryst leaving is not Pederson’s fault at all.
But the program is stuck in mediocrity, doesn’t draw well and he is directly linked to the fact that Pitt goes through football coaches at an insane rate.
The time is now for major changes at the top to be made.
Gallagher has to want his own guy in place. That’s only natural and the time is right to make it happen.
He’s not the one who gave Pederson a five-year extension.
That was former chancellor Mark Nordenberg who did that and then stepped down two weeks later.
Not every hire Pederson has made has been a disaster. It just hasn’t worked out for the football program.
Pederson did hire Ben Howland, who brought the men’s basketball program from mediocrity to a near elite level.
He also hired Suzie McConnell-Serio, who has done good things for the women’s basketball program.
Pederson had a good run with Walt Harris in football as Harris took a miserably bad program and brought them to respectability for a brief time and even took Pitt to a BCS Bowl Game.
Finally Pederson hired Chryst, who despite his 19-19 overall mark as the Pitt head coach, has this Pitt program in pretty good shape. Like him or hate him, Chryst leaves the Pitt program in much better shape than it was when he got here.
But ultimately there hasn’t been enough success stories on Pederson’s watch.
It’s time to blow it up and start over.
What’s the worst thing that can happen, another 6-6 season and a trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl?
However firing Pederson now will have some negative effects as well.
It will mean an ever longer delay in hiring a head coach and will have a negative impact in recruiting right away.
But changes need to be made if this Pitt program will ever be anything more than mediocre.
Stability is needed.
That’s true not only for the next head coach, but should be the case for the athletic director as well.
Chryst is gone and that is a bigger loss than Pitt fans would like to believe.
Gallagher needs to make the decision to have Pederson follow him out the door.
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