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Pitt's Graham favors renewing rivalry with Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK — Count Todd Graham among those in favor of renewing the Pitt-Penn State series after a break lasting more than a decade.

"I can remember watching that game growing up and the tremendous tradition that that game was, and we would actually love to play that game in the future," Pitt's first-year football coach said Friday at Penn State's Lasch Football Building. "It would be something that we'd be very much in favor of."

Graham, Penn State coach Joe Paterno and Temple coach Steve Addazio joined five high school coaches representing the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association, and all but Paterno commented following the meeting.

The 84-year-old Paterno left due to an unspecified appointment.

When asked if he spoke to Paterno about renewing the rivalry, Graham replied, "No, no, I did not. No, I did not. But I gotta get rolling, guys."

The two questions surrounding the halted series were the only ones Graham fielded after the post-meeting news conference before exiting the building. Paterno posed for pictures with Graham, Addazio and the five high school representatives before leaving prior to the media's questions.

The Panthers and Nittany Lions met for the 96th and final time in 2000 at Three Rivers Stadium, a 12-0 Pitt victory, and Penn State leads the all-time series, 50-42-4.

Central Valley coach Mark Lyons joined Elco's Mark Evans, Camp Hill's Frank Gay, Clearfield's Tim Janocko and Neshaminy's Mark Schmidt in announcing Pittsburgh as next year's location for the annual Coaches Convention on Feb. 10-12, and naming Gateway High School as the site for the return of the East-West All-Star Game on May 6, 2012.

Downingtown West High School will host the 2013 all-star contest. There was no game this year.

"What an opportunity for state pride, to be able to play in an all-star game, play with your peers," Addazio said. "Those are experiences for a lifetime. It's great for the state and it's great for high school football. That's what it's all about."

The PSFCA also will create displays of their Hall of Fame plaques, likely at Heinz Field, Penn State's Beaver Stadium and Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Plans for the display at the homes of professional teams, however, will be delayed until the NFL lockout ends.

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