Update: Many sources now reporting that Chryst's hire is a done deal and will be reported shortly. More on this in a bit.
And this, boys and girls, is example 1A of why it's tough to rely on media reports for coaching hires. We saw it last year with the last search and this one has been no different.
For a while now, Florida International's Mario Cristobal seemed destined to get the job. You can find any number of reports stating he was the frontrunner, and maybe he was. But that's not the case anymore - at least that's what's being reported, anyway.
In a nutshell, Chryst interviewed for the job last weekend. It appeared that Cristobal was the frontrunner (heck, the PG even reported just last night that Cristobal would probably be the first guy to get an offer), but now both the Trib and the Post-Gazette are reporting that Chryst is the frontrunner. That's not meant to take a shot at the mainstream media, it's merely to point out:
1. How fast these things can change
2. How you have to take literally everything with a grain of salt when it comes to coaching changes
We're looking towards Chryst now, but as we've seen, that can change. But if Chryst is the guy, what do we know?
Zeise, who's done an excellent job covering the search, says that he's not a dynamic personality. Guess what, though? That's fine with me.
We saw what happened the last time Pitt hired someone with a dynamic personality. That clearly doesn't mean, obviously, that anyone who interviews well and comes off as affable should be dismissed. But it does mean that personality isn't everything. Pitt should look no further than to its basketball coach, Jamie Dixon, who could hardly be described as a vivacious sort. I don't think anyone's going to question his ability anytime soon.
So when might a move be made?I'm in the camp with Chas over at Pitt Blather - Pitt will want to get this done before Christmas in my opinion. All we heard from the start was that Pitt wanted to move swiftly and I can't imagine that's changed. I don't think they'll rush into anything, but I do think if it's a done deal, they'll close the book early rather than drag it out. This way a new coach could use the rest of this year to get situated and then hit the ground running right after New Year's.
Now, I'll start by saying I'm a fan of this hire. I wasn't all thrilled with Cristobal for various reason, which can be outlined here. I'm saying Chryst is definitely the answer, but the fact that he's run a top offense for one of the best teams in the country is definitely something to be excited about.
One thing I'm not so excited about? The fact that Chryst initially didn't get the job last year. As much as I said being a dynamic personality isn't the only thing to consider, it does count for something. That could be especially true when it comes to recruiting. Translation? If Chryst isn't the ideal recruiter, it means that his staff is going to need to be able to shoulder load.
Okay, so how will Chryst come off to Pitt fans? The ones that liked Dave Wannstedt will be probably be more supportive of him. He runs a pro style offense and as seen in Wisconsin and mentioned in the Q&A over at SB Nation Pittsburgh with Wisconsin's SB Nation blog, Chryst likes big offensive linemen and strong running games. The question you have is probably a valid one - can he get the types of players he needs at Pitt? That remains to be seen, but I remain cautiously optimistic. One thing Pitt's been able to do, despite the fact they haven't been a consistent winner of the past ten years, is still recruit talented players. If Chryst can sell what he's done enough at Wisconsin (and that seems to at least be a bit of question mark), then I think it's possible.
Lots more to come on this, but if this is the direction Pitt is heading, I'll be pleased with the hire if it happens.