Friday, December 16, 2011
Chryst, Fickell reportedly in mix at Pitt
By Adam Rittenberg
Pittsburgh is scrambling for a new coach after Todd Graham left the program high and dry, and the school reportedly will consider two prominent Big Ten assistants for its vacancy.
Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and Ohio State interim head coach Luke Fickell are in the mix for the Panthers job. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise reported Friday that Fickell already has interviewed for the job and Chryst will interview Saturday before returning to Madison for Rose Bowl prep.
Chryst also was a candidate for Pitt's head-coaching vacancy last year, and was under consideration for recent openings at Illinois and Kansas. He's one of the nation's most successful offensive coordinators and seems ready to make the jump to be a head coach, although he's not the most charismatic personality and seems to thrive behind the scenes.
Fickell will coach Ohio State in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against Florida and then become a top defensive assistant under Urban Meyer on the Buckeyes staff -- that is, if he doesn't get a better gig elsewhere. Thrust into an extremely difficult position this year, Fickell impressed a lot of folks with how he handled himself. He certainly seems ready to be a full-time head coach, and has recruited western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh area well over the years. If Fickell stays with Ohio State, he'll make the defensive calls next season and have coordinator in his title, Meyer said this week.
Pittsburgh also is reportedly considering several sitting head coaches, including Iowa State's Paul Rhoads. But both Fickell and Chryst are intriguing candidates for a program that needs to act in a hurry.