It has been a wild ride for the Pitt Panthers this offseason. After ushering out former coach Dave Wannstedt they brought in Miami Ohio's Mike Haywood. Haywood lasted all of 16 days into his five year contract after allegations of domestic abuse forced Pitt to cut ties.
"I love being here," he said. "I was very methodical and careful in my job search. I had a great job where I was [Tulsa], and we were in the top 25. I had other opportunities, and I was careful.
"I have worked 24-25 years to get to a place like Pitt. It's the best job I've ever had in my life. I'm very motivated. I love the town. There's a hard-edged fan base, and a great recruiting base. It's not a pro-style town, even though they love their pro teams. It's more of a collegiate style. There's a lot of excitement."
Graham, fittingly, plans to implement a style of offense that produces wildly entertaining stats. It's a complete 180 degree change in philosophy from what the Panthers and their fans had seen during the Wannstedt era.
In his one and only year as head coach of Rice in 2006 the Owls improved from a 1-10 squad to 7-6 and a bowl game. They improved from 21 ppg to 27 ppg.
In 2007 Graham took over the Tulsa job and Golden Hurricane improved from an 8-5 squad to 10-4. Their offense jumped from 28 ppg to 41 ppg and finished first in the country in total offense.
Over his four year tenure at Tulsa Graham's teams finished first in total offense twice and fifth another time. His team finished in the top six nationally in scoring in three of his four seasons.