It's quickly becoming clear that this coaching search is by far the most close to the vest of any recent search in Pitt history. No one on the Pitt side of things seems to have any legitimate sources. This makes sense since it seems that with Steve Pederson's removal, the athletic department is shut out of the search on some level considering who comprises the search committee.
There seems to be three generally agreed upon occurrences:
1. Pat Narduzzi has been interviewed by Pitt, there's mutual interest, and is perhaps the leader at this point.
2. Doc Holliday has possibly been interviewed.
3. Joe Rudolph was given an interview, and the players campaigned for him to Chancellor Pat Gallagher.
The thing to remember at this point is that if sources at Pitt are being tight-lipped (all indications are that this is the case), then all the information being leaked is coming from the candidates' agents and parties. It's not coincidence that Matt Campbell of Toledo had his name floated out last night, and then received a contract extension today. Yes, I know extensions at these schools don't mean anything if a big school comes calling. It does indicate, however, that the coach doesn't feel he's a candidate at other schools. There'd be no point to them signing it early. This tells me he's not being looked at by Pitt at this point. But you might say, "Yeah, but we know about Narduzzi." You're absolutely right that we do, but Narduzzi loses nothing by having his name be out there. Michigan State will take him back in a heart beat, and they know he's been looking to get a head coaching gig for a while. Dantonio has gone on record saying he's been grooming Narduzzi to be a head coach.
The other side of the coin is people saying there are other people interested but not saying their names. To me, this tells me these are the serious candidates. They aren't just floating their names out to get extensions. They're legitimately interested in the job, and contacted Pitt discreetly. One of the outlets suggesting there are candidates of this ilk are Football Scoop. They specialize in the crazy world of coaching changes, and have built up a legitimate news outlet of coaching change rumors. They called Bo Pelini to YSU a full week before it happened.
Last night, they had their weekly show and discussed the Pitt situation. The link for the segment is here, but I've transcribed it below.
Host: What do you hear on Pitt?
FBS: Pat Narduzzi, I think everybody understands, is a tremendous candidate, and would do a great job there. Pat has been interviewed, and I think they would be happy to hire Pat. But they are also looking to get some potential home runs, who they might not be able to get, but they believe they can….some big big name head coaches.
Host: And with the uncertainty in that job….they want some stability there also, right?
FBS: They do, and there are some guys, some big names that approached Pitt. That’s kinda what happened here is some big names came to Pitt and said "Let’s talk." And Pitt said "Really? Wow"
It’s two things, we could hire this guy, but could he hire this guy and will he stay? I think that’s what they’re looking for.
He goes on to say he does not think this will be wrapped up quickly. Considering Narduzzi is probably out of the Colorado State search based on some reports, I think Pitt has time to wait into this weekend.
The obviously frustrating part of this is Football Scoop doesn't name names. The reason for this could be that the reason he even knows these names is the coaches let him know they were interested, but didn't want their names released. Pitt could have also asked him to keep quiet as YSU did. I highly doubt he would just say something like this just to get views for his website. It's not like the Pitt fanbase is Notre Dame or Michigan with hundreds of thousands of fans that scour the internet for rumor. Football Scoop is also very well respected, and them throwing things out all over the place doesn't help their reputation. This is also the second instance of Football Scoop claiming Pitt was trying to go big with the hire. They're sticking to their story. Also, I would take "big names" to be ones bigger than Narduzzi, and implying Narduzzi is the baseline. Again, this is all on the word of Football Scoop. Don't get excited just yet.
At this point, I'd look for Pitt to make their hire by Monday. That's just my opinion. After that point the NFL will start making some advances on coaches, and Pitt could start to get more competition for its targets. At this point, it seems we still have a little bit of drama left before Pitt does announce its coach.