Let me start off by saying I did not like how Todd Graham left Pittsburgh University. I felt that Graham had a lot of leverage and could have spent one more day in Pennsylvania and told his team face to face that he was leaving for ASU. That being said, considering where the ASU coaching search was one week ago, ASU made an outstanding hire. Here are my reasons why.
I want to adress the issue of loyalty in college athletics. The face is, there is no loyalty in college athletics anymore. If Graham had stayed at Pitt and went 4-8 next year there is a good chance he gets fired. Where was the loyalty to Dennis Erickson when he was 6-2? College football today is all about what have you done for me lately. There are no more four year plans in college sports anymore.
Graham has been asked multiple times by the media how can he establish trust with recruits that he will be at ASU for the next four years. How can any coach nowadays? With so much influx in college football the only coaches that can guarantee recruits of their job security are Nick Saban and Les Miles.
What about Urban Meyer? Meyer left the University of Florida because of "health reasons." He then spent most of this past college football season traveling around the country calling games for ESPN. Then, after 11 months, his health is fine and he takes the job at Ohio State?
Graham has had success every stop he has been. In 2006 at Rice, Graham went 7-6 and took the Owls to their first bowl game since 1961. Graham left after one season because he was offered a better opportunity at Tulsa.
While at Tulsa, Graham took the Golden Hurricane to another level. Graham had three 10-win seasons and won the C-USA Western Division three times in four years.
In January of 2011, Graham was named the head coach of Pittsburgh. Graham took over a Panther team in disarray, head coach Mike Haywood was fired less than a month into the job because he was arrested on domestic violence charges.
On the surface, Graham was ordinary while at Pitt. He went 6-6 in his first season. However, Graham did not have the players he needed to run his system effectively at Pitt. Graham runs the spread, and Pitt had been in a pro-style offense. Graham also lost his best offensive weapon (Ray Graham) and his two best offensive linemen during the season.
Graham left his position at Pittsburgh for a better situation for his family. That is something people do everyday. I know people who have left their job after one year because they got offered a better one. At the end of the day, Graham owes it to his family to take the best position that he can.
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