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Everybody is Lying

Written by Paul Zeise on .

That is the beauty of a coaching search - I wrote this on Day 1 in my blog and I will continue to stress it in these coaching search stories -- "Assume everybody is lying to you" -- because in almost every case -- they are.

And if they aren't flat-out lying, they are usually trying their best to be "legally accurate" (there is that phrase again) without answering any question directly or divulging any information while making sure the light shines on them as positively as possible.

And that is especially true when it comes to the people doing the hiring and the people trying to be hired - nobody tells the actual whole truth, at least publicly.

Speaking strictly in general terms (and this is my fifth major coaching search I've had to cover):

A candidate's name comes out and he claims "I had no contact" even though it is clear he had some contact, or least someone did on his behalf.

Why lie about that? Because that way if he doesn't get the job, he can claim he was never a candidate or didn't have any contact.

Why lie about that? Because he is presumably under contract at some school somewhere and he'd like to continue to get paid.

Why lie about that? Because he has to recruit players and explain to them why his name was involved with jobs elsewhere.

Why lie about that? Because he has current players who he needs to make sure he can continue to coach.

Then there is the opposite of that - a candidate's name comes out, he gets a job elsewhere or simply stays at whatever spot he was at and the school claims "we never talked to him" or "we had no contact with him" or "our interest in him was vastly overstated."

Why would a school lie about that? Because it doesn't want the perception out there that it got turned down by anyone.

Why would a school lie about that? Because it does want the perception out there that whoever it does put up at a podium and celebrate as its new coach was actually its first choice all along.

Why would a school lie about that? Because it wants to make sure that the perception out there is that everybody knows the guy they hired was the only one who was offered the job.

Then there are the agents - who want to get leverage for the clients, people around certain coaches with an obvious or not so obvious agenda, people who know a piece of information and make leaps of logic - or try to get a message out there about their guy - or negatively affect the candidacy of another guy that is not their own.

So you have a lot of stuff swirling both before, during and after this process and you have to try and sort through it and know who is lying and who is telling the truth or more to the point - who is being honest, who is not being honest, who has an agenda and who has good information - it is a very tiring process for all involved.

And here is the best part - we will never know the truth about anything because it will always be spun in a way that makes whoever - be it candidates, the agents or the school in question-- is doing the spinning look good.

Which brings us to the Pitt coaching search, which lost one of its top candidates when Al Golden went off the board to Miami yesterday.

And today we get some real confirmation about Dana Holgorsen and his candidacy and that it was not nearly as far down the tracks and he was not nearly as close to the top of the list as was being reported over the past few days in a number of different outlets.

I was told today he won't be considered. I was told it wasn't he pulled out, it wasn't the school pulled out, it was that he won't be considered and that he wasn't necessarily at the top of the list to begin with - Golden was.

Again, whether that is 100 percent true or not, I can't verify it because, all together now, "everybody is lying to you" and everybody is spinning tails to suit their agenda -- but I am fully confident in the accuracy of the information that Holgorsen is not going to be considered for this job.

So where does that leave us?

Back at square one.

Pitt didn't get its man, but that happened yesterday, not today.

Like I wrote yesterday, the only other people we know that Pitt has had some kind of contact with (again, they are using Parker Executive Search in Atlanta so that they can keep this thing as secret as possible and contact candidates and gauge interest without actually contacting them or gauging interest) are San Diego State's Brady Hoke (who has denied any contact, not surprisingly) and Miami (Ohio) coach Michael Haywood and I doubt, based on conversations I've had, that either of these two guys are legitimately in the mix.

And so the coaching wheel turns and we will get back to pounding the pavement and seeing what it produces and see if we can't figure out who Pitt is targeting next.

I will say this - the last time we went through this it was about 15 days and there were plenty of twists and turns and that's just the way these things go - and it is what the interview process is all about -- getting to know people, getting a sense if they are the right fit and then figuring out if they are the best fit for you and your school.

There are thousands of really good coaches out there and some I'm sure have talked to Pitt and we don't know about it yet. Just because they didn't get Golden and just because Holgorsen is not going to be the guy for whatever reason, it doesn't mean the search is a failure.

It just means it is a coaching search and it is a process that is not always easy, not always fast but it is usually thorough.

I know it easy to say but I said it at the start and I'll say it again - you cannot get emotional about any of this stuff, you can't get angry and upset and happy and excited through the ups and downs of it all because you will drive yourself crazy.

At the end of the day, Pitt will end up with a coach and the only thing that will matter next year at this time is what his record is and how Pitt has played over the course of the season.

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