Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson spoke on Tuesday in a very limited conference call. Limited not in terms of what he addressed (nothing was off limits according to Paul Zeise of the PG), but limited in terms of media access. It sounds as if only Zeise and Bob Cohn of the Tribune-Review were the only media members on the call.
Pederson spoke about a variety of topics, several of which you can read in the Trib's story. He talked about recruiting, the current search, and of course, Mike Haywood:
"It's hard to account for the unfortunate circumstances that occurred on New Year's Eve," said Pederson, who has been criticized by Pitt fans, alumni and the media for his handling of the situation.
Pederson, the lone Pitt official conducting the search for Wannstedt's replacement, enlisted the aid of Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search to help form a list of candidates. Then he used New York-based Kroll Inc., a risk consulting company, to conduct criminal background checks.
"That report (on Haywood) came back clean," Pederson said.
While I've been hard on Pederson lately, I won't condemn him for Haywood's situation. But I will continue to criticize the firing of Dave Wannstedt, and worse, the selection of Haywood.
So you've got the Post-Gazette and the Trib on the call - the two print giants in Pittsburgh. So that should cover it, right?
Well not exactly.
Seems Pitt may have further alienated some folks - mostly at 93.7FM The Fan, the team's flagship radio station. That's right, the flagship for Pitt football games, basketball games, and post-game wrap-ups was nowhere to be found.
That just doesn't make sense to me. But even more than what I think, morning show host Gregg Giannotti (and from what I remember, Paul Alexander to a lesser degree) was audibly annoyed on the morning show when I caught it on the drive into work today. Not saying they're key decision-makers there, but if Giannotti was that bothered by it, I've got to imagine it offended other people at the station as well.
I don't know if Pitt figured they just wanted to limit it to print media, but they have a pretty sweet deal with The Fan. The Fan is, in my opinion, the local station that gives Pitt the most publicity. I can't imagine that relationship is even seriously strained by this, but it's just another example of Pitt maybe not having all their ducks in a row.