With the Mike Haywood experiment now over, what's next for Pitt? Well, right now only Steve Pederson and Mark Nordenberg may know, but I'm hoping Tom Bradley is at the top of their list.
I've got a feature scheduled to show up early this week over at SB Nation Pittsburgh that lays out my reasoning why Pitt should go with Bradley. In a nutshell, I think he offers instant stability (not so important), instant credibility (more important), and proven success (the most important).
I found it mildly amusing that Joe Pa is throwing the hat in the ring for Bradley:
"I think Tommy is a fine coach," Paterno said. "He has good, strong city of Pittsburgh contacts. He's got a brother [Jim] who is an orthopedic surgeon, head surgeon for the Steelers, and the whole bit.
"I think Tommy should be a very, very strong candidate. Tommy has done a good job. He is a good recruiter, a good coach, he's organized. And I think he certainly deserves some consideration."
To me, this screams that Bradley is not next in line at Penn State. At least not as of right now.
At any rate, even if Pitt hires Bradley, that won't clean up the mess entirely. The 2011 recruiting class is basically wiped out and Pitt could still lose some players to transfers. But Bradley will not need much of a learning curve. Yes, he's not been a head coach before, but I think he's probably helped Paterno with some of those duties at Penn State in recent years. If he can put together a solid staff around him, there's no reason why he can't be successful.
To that end and because I know this name is always the subject of much discussion in these searches at Pitt -- Pederson told me Tom Bradley would be a "very strong and very attractive candidate" for Pitt and someone he would strongly consider despite the fact that he is a "Penn State guy." He said Bradley has a lot of good qualities and that it wasn't his "Penn State ties" that eliminated him from consideration but rather the fact that he has no head coaching experience. Pederson said he really wanted to focus on head coaches but if the school was going to look at assistant coaches, Bradley would certainly get a long hard look.
Well, while I understand that logic, Mike Haywood only had two years of experience as a head coach (and only one of those was successful). So I'm a bit skeptical when Pederson says that's so important. After all, who would you consider the man with more experience?
Mike Haywood: 22 years of coaching / 3 years as coordinator / 2 years as head coach
Tom Bradley: 32 years of coaching / 11 years as a coordinator
Sounds like Bradley to me. So for Pederson to hide behind the experience thing is probably a bit off. I don't think that's the reason he wasn't given a strong look the first time around.
Bradley knows the area, has recruited out east (where Pitt now needs help with the loss of Jeff Hafley), and has a history of success. For Pitt, I think he's the perfect match.