As I reported last night, Tulsa coach Todd Graham and Pitt officials are talking about the framework of a contract to make Graham the next head coach of Pitt.
And late last night for the first time since this process began, a source told me that Graham believes Pitt may just step up enough with its offer to get this deal done.
And while I'm told the job hasn't officially been offered to Graham yet, that is more semantics than anything else because they aren't going to officially offer the job to anyone until they are sure he is going to take it and right now they are trying to finish an offer that they know he would at least consider taking.
People ask me -- why would they do that?
It is simple. They want to be able to take the podium with whoever they hire and boldly declare "this is the only coach we offered the job to" like they did when the hire Michael Haywood and in the most legally accurate sense, yes that was the case.
But it wasn't totally true because we know from several good sources that they talked contract, money for assistants and the other important details with Al Golden first, but since he was already down the pike with Miami they were late to the game. So yes, they didn't officially say to Al Golden, we are offering you this job, but he was the first choice.
Yet, they didn't have to lie at the podium when they said Haywood was "the only coach they offered the job to", they just didn't tell the truth, either.
Like I've written before, it is sort of like the first time a teenager asks a girl to a dance. He asks everyone around her what she'd say if he asked before he asks her. So if her friends say "she thinks you are a nerd and would never go with you" he says OK, and starts to work on someone else and all the while can say "She didn't turn me down because I never asked!" And yes, Joe D., that happened to me all the time if you must know
But back to Graham --I stress to you, it is not a "done deal" by any stretch as they had these kinds of discussion with Golden, and well, you know where that ended up -- but it certainly is, for the first time since the end of the Michael Haywood era, legitimate movement towards Pitt getting a deal done with someone.
I'm told if it doesn't work with Graham, the next guy would be Tom Bradley (who is interviewing with Connecticut today but I'm told would be able to quickly get a deal done with Pitt) but that it is right now centered on trying to see if Pitt can work out the money with Graham.
The deal is, according to a source, "close on money, closer on assistants money" which means if they want to get this done with him they are now at least in the same ballpark (whereas the first time around, Graham asking price eliminated him almost immediately) but they obviously still have some work to do.
Again, Graham could also be playing Pitt for more money from Tulsa, I've been told that he is good at that spin game and using other jobs to get raises and get raises for his assistants, and that is why I am being extremely cautious in my reporting here about how close he is with Pitt and it is why I am stressing to you that Pitt does NOT have a coach yet nor have the officially offered the job to anyone, yet.
But they appear to be closer today than they were, say Friday, and with the final group of first interviews taking place today it would only stand to reason that this thing is going to be wrapped up shortly regardless of who is ultimately named the coach.
Now one other caveat -- a source told me there is - and with Pitt there always seems to be -- one major hitch that could develop with Graham that has nothing to do with Pitt -- if Les Miles leaves LSU for Michigan, Graham would be a very, very strong candidate to get that LSU job for a variety of reasons. He is also mentioned in the Stanford search but a source told me that isn't a likely destination for a variety of reasons.
I'm going to be traveling back home all day today (through a snow storm of course)-- as many of you know I don't fly unless I absolutely have to and that's mostly because I'm tall and it is very uncomfortable for me plus I'm not crazy about the idea of being five miles about the earth in a little iron tube -- so my updates on this blog will be far and few between unless something major breaks, like, they get a deal done or they aren't able to get a deal done.
Then I suppose I will find a truck stop that has wi-fi and get something up about it. Other than that, I'll have a late night update of the days proceedings.
Remember, they are expected to talk to Greg Roman from Stanford and Teryl Austin today and then move forward to the finalist stage.
One thing to remember about Roman, however, is he is the leading internal candidate to get that Stanford job -- and that is according to various published reports and I obviously can't confirm or deny that but in those articles the athletic director is quoted so I'll take him at his word-- and so he may be off the board already and this interview with Pitt is just sort of a courtesy interview on both sides.
So be patient, the end is in sight and might even be near and then we can all rest......well, rest is a relative term considering the new coach will have to hire assistant coaches, then there is signing day coming up, then spring football......