Skip to content

It’s official: Todd Graham leaves Pitt, takes over at Arizona State

Todd Graham AP

UPDATED 3:33 p.m. ET: Arizona State has confirmed in a press release the hiring of Todd Graham as its 23rd head football coach.  As expected, the school attempted to put the best spin on hiring a coach who informed his players via text message that he was leaving for another job.

“Criteria for our head coach was established, and the word that was at the forefront of discussions was `energy’…energy towards promoting our program in the community and with former players. Energy towards instilling discipline, leadership and in recruiting. Energy towards representing our brand in every facet of the program,” ASU athletic director Lisa Love said in a statement. “In Todd, we have not only hired a young and sitting head coach, but one with a history of success on the field and in hiring top-notch assistant coaches. For the first time in his career, he will be taking over a program with a strong nucleus at the beginning. We are excited to watch Coach Graham take over a very well-positioned program and elevate it to the next level.”

“What we sought in a football coach was someone who would be in it for the long term at Arizona State, who would build and guide a program that would be competitive in the Pac-12 and on a national level year after year after year, who would communicate and connect with the community, and represent our University with honor. In Todd Graham we have that person,” says ASU President Dr. Michael Crow.

Be in it for the long term?  This will be Graham’s fourth head-coaching job at the Div. 1-A level in the past six years; at two of the previous three, he left after one year.

The coach may understand a lot of things, but commitment isn’t one of them.  Or how to leave a program and his players with dignity and class, apparently.

So, yeah, congrats on this hire, Sun Devils.


Less than one year after taking over at Pittsburgh, Todd Graham is reportedly on his way out and heading out west.

According to multiple media outlets, Graham has decided to leave the Panthers to take the head-coaching job at Arizona State.  Paul Zeis of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote on Twitter that “several players say Graham is headed to Arizona State“, while Yahoo! SportsPat Forde tweeted confirmation that Graham is leaving for the Sun Devils.

Neither school has confirmed the move, although Graham has indeed confirmed the move to his players — via email.

In what appears to be his lone season at Pitt, Graham went 6-6 overall and 4-3 in Big East play.  Prior to that, he spent four seasons as Tulsa’s head coach and one season as the head coach at Rice.

Graham was at least Pitt’s second choice to replace Dave Wannstedt; Mike Haywood was initially named as Wannstedt’s successor until he was charged in a domestic incident, with Pitt then moving on to Graham.

It should again be noted that players are forced to sit out a year of competition after moving from one school to another, while head coaches are free to move on to another job and begin work immediately.

UPDATED 1:09 p.m. ET:  As it turns out, Graham didn’t inform Pitt players via email of his decision to leave.  Instead, he sent a statement to his director of football operations, who then texted it to the young men.  Here’s the text of the, um, text.

“I have resigned my position at Pitt in the best interest of my family to pursue the head coaching position at Arizona State. Coaching there has always been a dream of ours and we have family there. The timing of the circumstances have prohibited from telling you this directly. I now am on my way to Tempe to continue those discussions. God Bless. Coach Graham.”

Stay classy, Coach Graham.  Stay classy.

Permalink 51 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: American Athletic Conference, Arizona State Sun Devils, Pac-12 Conference, Pittsburgh Panthers, Rumor Mill, Top Posts
51 Responses to “It’s official: Todd Graham leaves Pitt, takes over at Arizona State”
  1. woebegong says: Dec 14, 2011 12:59 PM

    Well, at least it will be warmer. Maybe more ways than one.

  2. ancientcougar says: Dec 14, 2011 1:06 PM

    Is this guy married to his first wife?

  3. blastfurnaceknows says: Dec 14, 2011 1:07 PM

    Todd Graham is, and has always been, a self-serving, disingenuous scumbag. Any parent who would allow their son to commit to play for the man should have their competency checked.

  4. blastfurnaceknows says: Dec 14, 2011 1:07 PM

    Also, he is a lousy coach.

  5. drummerhoff says: Dec 14, 2011 1:28 PM

    Didn’t a bunch of his assistance just jump to Arizona?
    Should amp up the rivalry in the desert.

  6. lawmanpgh says: Dec 14, 2011 1:29 PM

    The AD should get fired over this. Graham was his two million dollar man. It was plain to see over the season Graham is full of himself and all talk. Take the “high octane” with ya.

  7. pabstman says: Dec 14, 2011 1:37 PM

    I feel sorry for spitts fan base…all two of them.

    Well that makes 5 coaches in 12 months…

    here are a few tweets from some current players:

    p*tt QB Tino Sunseri. RT @sunseri12: WOW!

    p*tt ‘s Brandon Lindsay. RT @B_Lindsey7: Fake ppl make me sick

    p*tt ‘s Taglianetti. RT @Andrew_Tags: So birmingham will be the EXACT same as last year. This is crazy

    Another p*tt player. RT @Adam_Lazenga51: All I can say is wow.. Talk about committed hahah

    p*tt player Brandon Lindsey in the wake of the Todd Graham/ASU bombshell RT @B_Lindsey7 Ok so this is the “The p*tt Way”

  8. tonystrong says: Dec 14, 2011 1:41 PM

    I think what Graham did was low budget but in his defense, he was Pittsburgh’s second choice. If Mike Haywood didn’t have to many beers and go ape on his wife, Graham is leaving Tulsa for Arizona St. and no one gives a crap. But aside from Graham, what about Arizona St.? Has any school ever botched the hiring of a new head coach more in the history of college football? I mean there was 20 names linked to the job, a bunch of obviously meaningless interviews, the hiring and then un-hiring of June Jones, and now this debacle where a guy basically leaves his team via text message/letter to his players? Looks to me like these 2 are a match made in Hellven!

  9. wvucolumbus says: Dec 14, 2011 1:53 PM

    To Pitt faithful-

    As a die-hard WVU alum and supporter, you ARE better off with this decision by Graham. The unfathomable manner in which he notified his players of his departure speaks volumes of the character of this “head coach”.

    Rich Rod, Graham, Calvin Magee, and many others under the Rodriguez coaching tree moving to Arizona =

    Coach Whis, Russ Grimm, etc. moving to AZ

    Both groups will be second fiddle to whoever leads the Mountaineers/Panthers and Steelers

  10. killerstiller says: Dec 14, 2011 2:05 PM

    I hear JoePa is available!

  11. lemmam says: Dec 14, 2011 2:05 PM

    graham is a scumbag. when at rice (I know it’s rice) he agreed to a contract extension with a pay raise and then left the same week for tulsa. he’s a phony and knows nothing about commitment

  12. killerstiller says: Dec 14, 2011 2:06 PM

    This is the perfect opportunity to get a coordinator from an ACC team. Get the recruiting & team geared for the move.

  13. lawmanpgh says: Dec 14, 2011 2:16 PM

    Don’t know if a top oc or dc from an acc school would even want the job.

  14. blastfurnaceknows says: Dec 14, 2011 2:19 PM

    Paul Rhoads at Iowa St. should be the beginning and end of the Pitt coaching discussion. But, to get the right coach, Pitt has to fire the most wrong AD in its history. Good bye and good riddance to the colossal garbage bag that is Steve Pederson.

  15. udub says: Dec 14, 2011 2:22 PM

    I never understood people whining about coaches not having to sit out a year like players. Guess what coaches aren’t players. They aren’t equals just because they are both involved with football.

    So what do you expect. School A fires coach, hires School B coach, School A has to hire random coach C for one year while they wait for School B coach to be their head coach in a year?

    Maybe, just maybe its different since there are 85 scholarship players on the team a player is transferring to while there is just one head coach.

  16. killerstiller says: Dec 14, 2011 2:23 PM

    Russ Grimm? Tom Clements? Bud Foster?
    How about a new A.D.?

  17. killerstiller says: Dec 14, 2011 2:25 PM

    I think the AD will be replaced before the coach!

  18. imopen7 says: Dec 14, 2011 2:28 PM

    who’s todd graham? you mean that “opie” looking d-bag that would speak for pitt’s “football” program every once n awhile? haha. why would any school want him after he bails via text to his team? what a coward.

  19. makimaguro says: Dec 14, 2011 2:39 PM

    Both AD’s should lose their jobs on this one – Pitt & ASU.

  20. latrobe21 says: Dec 14, 2011 2:52 PM

    Another brilliant hire for Pitt by the incompetent AD Pederson. He should go, to0. Maybe the Post-Gazette’s recent grade of “F” for Graham’s initial year helped in his decision.

  21. teke184 says: Dec 14, 2011 2:54 PM

    Word is that Graham took his entire coaching staff with him to ASU, leaving no one at Pitt to coach the team in their bowl game.

    And we all thought the Rice band was being over the top with their “Todd Graham’s Inferno” halftime show a few years ago…

  22. latrobe21 says: Dec 14, 2011 2:54 PM

    Pitt should just give up football. The 20-25,000 fans that show up for home games just don’t cut it for an alleged big-time program.

  23. wvuandsteelers says: Dec 14, 2011 3:05 PM

    Bill Stewart is still looking for a job. LOL

    I guess Graham and RichRod wanted to start Backyard Brawl 2 out in Arizona.

    And of course it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t end a posting about Pitt if I didn’t say Pitt Eat S**t!!!

    Go ‘Eers

  24. steelers4life says: Dec 14, 2011 3:34 PM

    This is the best news I have heard all day. Todd Graham is a low budget Lane Kiffin. I am glad he is gone. He is always looking for the next job. An earlier post says it best. A parent that would let their kid play for him is out of their mind.

  25. centexhorn says: Dec 14, 2011 3:46 PM

    As a Texan (like Graham), I have to think this is a good hire for Arizona State, but I feel sorry for Pitt. Could things get any worse there?

    And *of course* he’s a phony guy. That’s the personality type of almost all football coaches. It’s practically a job requirement. You have to have two faces. You have to be able to tell a guy you like how he’s playing and then cut him the next day. Lying gets you recruits. It gets you success. Hate to say it, but it’s true.

    I don’t think his personality-type fit in too well at Pitt. It’s a Northeastern place with a Northeastern style, and he’s from the Southwest. He stuck out like a sore thumb, but he still tried to make it work.

    His style will fit in much better at Arizona State. “High octane” offense is just what they need to compete in the conference.

  26. killerstiller says: Dec 14, 2011 4:24 PM

    Todd Graham never impressed me in any manner. He gave me hope, but that didn’t last long. Good riddance, assbag!

  27. texbornlsufan says: Dec 14, 2011 4:50 PM

    Idiot fans of ASU complained and they didn’t hire June Jones but know they hire some fool who sends a text to his players. WOW you get what you deserve ASU! Don’t start crying in a couple years when this joke belly’s up!!!!!

  28. alskdj1005 says: Dec 14, 2011 5:04 PM

    The NCAA has to do something about coaches being pulled away from teams in between the regular season and bowl season. What are the players suppose to think and then play in a bowl game. There should be a rule that universities can not talk to any coaches until after the last bowl game.

  29. csuxrr says: Dec 14, 2011 5:07 PM

    I feel that it was real classy of ASU AD to go out of her way to put down PITT, TULSA, and RICE in one sentence.Not saying that she is right or wrong but that the statement was uncalled for.

  30. woebegong says: Dec 14, 2011 5:10 PM

    That would be nice if it could be done, however, most H.S. kids finish their football season at about the same time, and are ready to commit, to a college then. They need to know, that the guy recruiting them will be there for next season.
    You could of course fix that,to some degree, by having the time between the regular season end and bowl games, as a no recruiting time, but kids are still going to commit verbally during that time. At least this way, they know that one way or another, the coach will or will not be there, if the reason they are going to that college, is the coach.

  31. jmb795 says: Dec 14, 2011 5:14 PM

    Why do we idolize these lyin’ (Urban), disingenuous (Weis), bunch of clowns?
    They ought to be arrested for muttering the words loyalty, family and team to recruits.

  32. tnazvol says: Dec 14, 2011 5:22 PM

    Pitt’s been Kiffened!

  33. steelers1981 says: Dec 14, 2011 5:32 PM

    Pitt is better off without him

  34. steelers1981 says: Dec 14, 2011 5:39 PM

    latrobe21 says:
    Dec 14, 2011 2:54 PM
    Pitt should just give up football. The 20-25,000 fans that show up for home games just don’t cut it for an alleged big-time program
    Pitt has had a fair amount of success, even within the last few years. Yes, they should have better fan support but I’m guessing attendance really only matters in terms of revenue and if they can get by on that money, more power to them.

  35. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Dec 14, 2011 6:18 PM

    Pitt & their Alums, should have done the right thing to began with and hired Tom Bradley last offseason. Now with the scandal he’ll never get the job & with Pitt moving to the ACC their chance of winning a conference title just went down again. Don’t worry a year from now Randy Edsall will be available.

  36. cubano76 says: Dec 14, 2011 7:02 PM

    Randy Edsal texted his players at UConn as well last year. How’d that work out for that jackass!

  37. brtndr4u says: Dec 14, 2011 7:36 PM

    Pitt ought to keep it in the family.Sal Sunsuri is a alumni and would be on the next plane if called home.Good coach,loves the kids,and you would steal Alabama’s 2nd best recruiter.

  38. dkhhuey says: Dec 14, 2011 7:39 PM

    Yikes – first Dick Rod comes to town and now this guy. I’m not sure the ASU faithful are going to be happy with this Linda Love (sorry – 70s porn music always comes to mind when I say/type her name) pick. Dick Rod must be smiling pretty large at this one right now!

  39. sundevil1982 says: Dec 14, 2011 8:05 PM

    Lisa Love better be fired after this next season sinks. The only thing I have to look forward to now is explaining why im not renewing my season tix next year when the call comes. Im just curious on the salary/contract details.

  40. dolphins4 says: Dec 14, 2011 8:14 PM

    They should have kept Wannstedt he was a good coach who was from Pittsburgh.Maybe they can go hire Bill Cowher.

  41. rcali says: Dec 14, 2011 9:50 PM

    This is just a pre-realworld lesson to the players. All you can do is work as hard as you can. The rest is out of your control.

  42. jmat40 says: Dec 14, 2011 11:31 PM

    Todd Graham needs his arse kicked. Don’t even come back to Pittsburgh you lying, low life, bottom feeder, snakoil salesman. Kick your wife and sons arses too.

    Karma is waiting for you Graham and family and Arizona State

  43. jmat40 says: Dec 14, 2011 11:33 PM

    I need to add gutless coward to Graham’s qualities for not being man enough to tell his players face to face. There are no excuses.

  44. mondzy805 says: Dec 14, 2011 11:43 PM

    Dirtbag. A text. SMH.

  45. neverwas1 says: Dec 15, 2011 1:20 AM

    Pitt’s AD didnt give him permission to interview so he had to resign. I bet the AD didn’t even want him on the campus after the resignation, hence the letter…that was then texted to the players by Pitt personnel. You should be mad as well with the Pitt admin for texting it out instead of gathering the team for cupcakes and warm apple cider to read it.

  46. neverwas1 says: Dec 15, 2011 1:24 AM

    Todd Graham hire means we are going to PAC 16 soon..
    Say what you will about LL but Michael Crow is a bright man. He is a business man and I am sure he can make an accurate guess at future revenue streams for ASU. If it looks like we will be going to super conferences soon, then Oklahoma, UT, T Tech and OK St are joining the Pac. If ASU don’t start developing connections and recruiting yesterday in the Texas, OK areas, we are going to be caught in no man’s land, getting table scraps from both west and east areas. The Cali kids will want to play in or around Cali and obvsiouly Tex and OK dominate recruiting in their area. ASU will need to expand their recruiting east to compete.
    The Graham hire makes sense if they do that within 3-4 years. I don’t mind the hire but I hate the thought of Pac 16 and ASU being put in the east division.

  47. wustlumdnj says: Dec 15, 2011 3:48 AM

    Cheers to your descent into irrelevance, Pitt

  48. steelerfan9598 says: Dec 15, 2011 6:37 AM

    Via Text? Low class.

  49. righthereisay says: Dec 15, 2011 9:49 AM

    Geez..and I was thinking it was cool that we had less head coaches than Penn State in the past few months.

  50. dogsaxon says: Dec 15, 2011 12:05 PM

    We had Todd at Tulsa and were glad when he left. He will not empower his assistants to coach, the kids did not respect him and he will jump ship quickly for the almighty dollar. He professes to be a man of God, then used the F word on national tv, cusses kids out on game day within earshot of fans, other players and coaches. He also does the same to his assistants under the same conditions. And he is the mentor of young men?

  51. crosberger says: Dec 15, 2011 11:48 PM

    Coaches do have the right to look for better jobs, but the way this guy handled himself is the epitomy of low class and dishonor.

    He make all kinds of statements of his commitment to building the Pitt program over a period of years – both during his recruitment and after taking the job. To take a very high paying job that involves rebuilding a program, and then leave in nine months for another job is despicable. Honor and integrity are not part of his character.

    I’d love it if the Pitt quarterback decked him with a good hard shot to the face on the way out the door.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!