Well the story has broken of our Athletic Director Jeff Long moving onto Arkansas. I thought I would put together some ideas as to what the new Athletic Director needs to do for the football program. Cat Basket readers you can thank the most boring class in the entire world Astronomy for the length of this article but I'm going to like that pretty much guaranteed A from the class.
1. Pitt-PSU rivalry has to be restarted, no matter what the cost. Everybody knows that the reason the game isn't played anymore is Joe Paterno. What the new AD needs to do is get an offer together that can't be turned down by Penn State. I'm not saying give into all the demands that PSU wants but give up enough to get this back on the schedule. We all know that the game will restart once JoePa is no longer around but why wait, he is seemingly never going to just go away.
2. Scheduling quality non-conference opponents needs to be a priority. This means that we are going to have to play tough games on the road early in the season. Teams that win National Titles test themselves out of conference to get valuable wins over ranked opponents. I'm totally for a season opener where we travel to a difficult place to play a ranked team. To win like a big time program our schedule needs to reflect a big time program out of conference.
3. High expectations need to be in place for the team every single year. Coach Wannstedt has been given adequate time to turn this program around. Winning seasons have to start this year, no excuses. Wannstedt has done an amazing job at rebuilding the team on the recruiting trail but the results need to start to show on the field. Another losing season and there needs to be consequences handed down to the coaching staff, maybe a shakeup in the assistant coaches.
4. Improve the aesthetics of the uniform and the team logo. Whatever you do don't bring back the script and the old colors, we aren't the Steelers and our jerseys can change to look modern. Work with Adidas to give the team a look that combines the past and present into a pleasing design for the team. I have wanted to buy a jersey since I got to school but I couldn't imagine wearing any of the designs we have had for 5 years. New attractive jersey's can give the team a new identity and give the fans a new perception of the team.
5. Continue to keep the athletics department accessible to the student. As DPJ has said Jeff Long always acknowledged and engaged us in discussion whenever we talked to him. The students need a voice in the decision-making of the athletics department.
I personally think that Jeff Long did a great job and I'm sad to see him go. I hope the new AD is ambitious and ready to continue the growth of Pitt athletics. Oh and I hope he is hired before the basketball season is over so somebody doesn't come in and steal Dixon and his staff.