Only 11 months after he arrived at Pittsburgh promising to lead the Panthers back to national prominence, head coach Todd Graham has resigned, leaving his players and the community shell-shocked.
Graham announced his decision to step down on Wednesday to take over the head coaching position at Arizona State. Now, for the second straight season, an interim coach will lead the Panthers into their season-ending bowl game.
The reactions from Pittsburgh players indicated just how surprising the announcement was for a team that finished 6-6, but closed the season strong, with three wins and two losses to West Virginia and Cincinnati by a combined four points.
If y'all say we can't get mad .. Y'all are crazy you grown men out there how would you feel if you been lied to and used— Devin street (@D_Street_15) December 14, 2011
Todd graham man u quit on a team that's about to take off ha it don't matter who the coach is PITT is on the uprise #h2p were a family!!!!!!— Russy Montana (@RushelShell) December 15, 2011
With Graham out the door, the Panthers will begin the hunt for their fourth coach in 13 months.
Meantime, one coach who a few years ago made his dedication to his players abundantly clear in one of the most memorable press conferencs of the last decade, was rewarded for his loyalty and his team’s success this fall.
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy earned the Eddie Robinson Award on Thursday, an honor given by the Football Writers Association of America to the national coach of the year.
The Cowboys finished the season 11-1, winning their first Big 12 championship and earning their first BCS bowl berth. Gundy’s third-ranked squad takes on No. 4 Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.
LSU’s Les Miles, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder; Michigan’s Brady Hoke and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney were the other finalists for the award.
In honor of Mr. Gundy, here’s another look at that famous presser. Gundy is now 44, and yes, he’s still a man. Todd Graham might want to watch this video, too...