Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Long also talks to Carolina's Sunseri
ESPN.com news services
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh was interviewed a second time for Pittsburgh's vacant head coaching job.
Pitt athletic director Jeff Long traveled to Baltimore on Monday
to talk about the job vacated this month by Walt Harris, who took a
job with Stanford.
A source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Cavanaugh likely will accept the job, if offered.
Cavanaugh -- who was the quarterback of the Tony Dorsett-led 1976 Pitt
national championship team -- was a front-runner when Harris was
hired in 1996, but he wanted more coaching experience before becoming
a head coach.
But he's added eight years of coaching experience since then,
including an appearance as offensive coordinator for the Ravens
when the team won the 2000 Super Bowl.
Former Pitt All-American Sal Sunseri was likely the final candidate to interview, talking to Long on Monday morning, according to the Post-Gazette.
Sunseri is the defensive line coach for the Carolina Panthers and was an assistant coach at Pitt from 1985 to 1992 under three different head coaches. He has the support of many alumni and boosters because of his reputation of being a top recruiter and a loyal Pitt guy.
He often has referred to the Pitt job as his dream job.
Long is now expected to return to Pitt and meet with Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and make a recommendation. If everything goes according to plan, a new coach could be introduced at a news conference by the middle of the week.
The front-runner for the job is Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who already has interviewed.
Pelini, a 37-year-old in his first year as an OU assistant, did not
attend Saturday evening practice and did not return phone
Long has also interviewed Pitt defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads and New York Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, a former Pitt player.
The Giants disagree with Pitt on what took place with Lewis, characterizing it as more a gauge of interest rather than an interview.
Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi said that if anyone asked to interview Lewis, it would be up to coach Tom Coughlin to grant permission before the end of the season.
Pelini, who is from
Youngstown, Ohio, about 70 miles from Pittsburgh, has been on Long's short list since Harris' announcement.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Saturday that he believes Pelini is ready
for a head-coaching job.
"I think he would be excellent," Stoops said. "He has all the qualities it takes to be a great one. He's very bright. He's got a track record of success. A lot of people have a lot of experience, but he's got experience and success. He's been
with a lot of excellent people.
"And on top of that, he's got the intensity and all that it
Pelini has said that, if hired, he would not leave OU until after the
Jan. 4 Orange Bowl.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.