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January 20, 2011

Tulsa’s Graham named head football coach

Tulsa head coach Todd Graham last week was named Pitt’s head football coach, following a tumultuous month for the program that saw a former head coach resign under pressure and his initial replacement fired.graham

Graham comes to Pitt  after four years at Tulsa, where he had three 10-win campaigns and three bowl victories. He compiled a 36-17 overall record with the Golden Hurricane, including a 10-3 mark this season.

In addition to Tulsa, he served as head coach at Rice for one season (2006), leading the Owls to their first bowl game in 45 years and earning Conference USA Coach of the Year honors. Graham’s career head coaching record is 43-23 and includes four bowl bids in five seasons.

Under Graham’s direction, Tulsa led the nation in total offense twice (2007 and 2008) and ranked fifth this year. While he has a reputation for devising high-octane offensive game plans, the 46-year-old coach built his career on defense and also has served as a defensive coordinator and position coach.

Graham was introduced Jan. 11 by Steve Pederson, director of Athletics, who said he was thrilled that Graham had accepted the coaching job.

At the Jan. 11 press conference, Graham introduced five of his new assistant coaches: Calvin Magee, offensive coordinator, who comes to Pitt from Michigan’s coaching staff; and fellow Tulsa coaches, Tony Gibson, secondary coach and recruiting coordinator; Keith Patterson, defensive coordinator; Paul Randolph, executive associate head coach/defensive line coach, and Mike Norvell, passing game coordinator/co-offensive coordinator. Graham is expected to hire another four assistants.

Terms of Graham’s contract were not announced, but according to multiple media reports, he was earning $1.3 million a year at Tulsa and will receive $2 million a year from Pitt over what is believed to be a five-year contract.

Graham succeeds Dave Wannstedt, who resigned under pressure Dec. 6, and Miami University of Ohio’s Michael Haywood, who was hired by Pitt on Dec. 16 then fired on Jan. 1, following a Dec. 31 arrest on charges of domestic battery. (See Jan. 6 University Times.)

The co-Big East champion Panthers finished 8-5 this past season, including a 27-10 win over Kentucky in the Jan. 8 Compass Bowl.

—Peter Hart

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