Ah, Steve Pederson. So often, he's played the role of human pinata. For a while, it seemed fair, but is it time to reconsider?
Pederson, is on a bit of a roll, in my mind. Sure, he didn't exactly make a great hire with Michael Haywood. Even beyond the domestic disturbances, Haywood simply didn't have the credentials in my mind to merit getting the job. Then there was the failed Todd Graham experiment. And we can go all day about playing road games at Akron and Buffalo. But if we're looking at him objectively, I think he's done some good things.
For starters, Pederson helped get the Penn State series back up an running. Post-Sandusky, we can look at that now and ask if it's still a great thing, but at the time, it was huge. Pederson was able to work with Penn State to get something accomplished for the first time in more than a decade.
Pederson has also worked diligently to secure a long-term deal with Notre Dame. Even if you hate the Irish, it's pretty easy to see that they're a huge draw at Heinz Field and playing them on a regular basis is great exposure for Pitt.
Then, there's the big fish, obviously - the move to the ACC. Pederson surely didn't work alone to get this done, but it happened on his watch. And not only that, but he helped negotiate the early exit to leave after this season. That exit came with a reasonable fee of $7.5 million as well.
Pederson's stance with West Virginia should be equally lauded. While West Virginia has made it clear they want to continue to play Pitt, Pederson seems to be taking his time in making that decision. That's probably the right move when it comes to football. The non-conference schedule is so limited, Pitt really needs to strategically think about what they want to do and who they want to play. The rush move would be to sign a long-term deal with the Mountaineers, but Pederson's got it right by taking his time.
Like him or not, Pederson's done some good things lately. It's time he gets credit for them.