In my years in the Oakland Zoo I have had the privilege of working with many great people in the athletic department. Through creating those relationships with the athletic department staff, coaches, players, and trainers we have been able to report things which may have gone unsaid. Sometimes the people giving the information want it to be released from a source other than an officially released athletic department announcement. Other times we are given info that we are asked not to share and we always request those wishes.
With that said, I have to fully agree with Paul Zeise that getting information about the coaching search is like getting information from the Kremlin. One of the reasons that the information is not coming out easily is because Steve Pederson and Mark Nordenberg are doing a great job of keeping the search between them. Typically with other things in the athletic department, some staffers are given information which they need to complete their jobs. This time, Steve Pederson is identifying the candidates (along with the search firm), using the 3rd party to initiate contact, and then completing the interview. If the person passes Steve's interview, they will move on to Chancellor Nordenberg. This is the main area of the hold up. He has given the thumbs down to Bo Pelini and Dana Holgorsen.
What I can tell you is that Dana Holgorsen and Al Golden were the top 2 on the search. My information leads me to believe it was Holgorsen as 1 and Golden in 2 spot despite what has been reported. I also believe Steve Pederson truly believed he was going to land one of those 2 guys. One thing to keep in mind when reading the released information is that sometimes reporters need to feed information at the request of athletic departments to help negotiations, stall other ones, or for any other purpose. This is a necessary thing because people who get paid to do the investigating need to make sure they keep their contacts and sources of information. That is why sometimes they are the first one on the report and sometimes why they don't give out bigger news items (remember Dion Lewis not practicing and not playing earlier in the year without any reports?). I do this just for fun, so I try to bring you what I can without getting any of my contacts in trouble.
So, right now, all I can tell you is that I have no idea where the next coach is going to come from. I would continue to follow guys like Paul Zeise and Chris Peak as they will probably be first on the scene given their connections. At this point you have to start figuring out who it could be by eliminating some potential guys first, just like PZ did in his redshirt diaries.
From what people have said here are a few names and notes for potential guys:
Mike Leach - if we're making a splash he is the guy. He won't be hired though because if Holgorsen couldn't pass the "purity" test, neither will leach.
Kevin Sumlin - Seems like a guy that would make a great fit, but for some reason his name just isn't popping up.
Mike Haywood - Turned a bad Miami OH program around quickly, but he isn't someone that would really "excite" everyone and the resume isn't exactly "complete" for what we should be looking for in a coach just yet.
Brady Hoke - Success at Ball State, success at San Diego State, but a new deal means he isn't very likely to be coming to Pittsburgh.
Paul Chryst - Another name that has popped up recently, but no information is being provided as to how interested both sides are with each other. The silence between the two is quite interesting.
Paul Pasqualoni - I think the reports of him being a candidate are bogus and don't buy for a second that he is truly being considered.
Teryl Austin/Frank Cignetti/Tom Bradley - Maybe as coordinators but surely not as head coach.
Chris Pederson - He was listed early on as the #1 guy but a great setup out west would probably only be left if the $$$ was above what he really should be paid.
Jay Norvell - He has a limited role in the Oklahoma offense, but has been the OC at places like UCLA and yes.....Nebraska. That right there will give him a huge advantage.
Mark Stoops - What he has is the name and the family tradition. What he doesn't have is all of the success ready to show he should be a serious candidate. The other thing going against him is that he is a defensive guy and Pitt appears to be headed to a guy with an interest in offense. He is a name though that would create a buzz.
Yes this is a lot of information. From this list Norvell and Haywood would be the two I would expect to get the biggest look. You can put me in the Leach, Sumlin, Pederson camp. Any of those 3 would be able to do a good job at Pitt, but as mentioned earlier there are strong reasons against them.
I will do my best to keep digging up information, but at this point it's hard to come by and much of what we are reading is inaccurate (intentionally and unintentionally).