Pitt hires new strength coach
College Football Videos
Pitt football coach Todd Graham is close to finalizing his staff, but popular strength coach Buddy Morris won't be a part of it.
Among the four men hired Tuesday was strength and conditioning coach Shawn Griswold, who spent the past seven seasons in the same position at Tulsa, four under Graham.
"He is the best strength and conditioning coach I've ever been around," Graham said.
Griswold's appointment means the end of Morris' third stint at Pitt. Morris led Pitt's conditioning program for 19 years and served five head coaches since 1980. He also worked for the Cleveland Browns from 2002-2005 and the University of Buffalo in '06 before former Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt brought him back in '07.
Morris, a Pitt graduate, helped train some of the best players in Pitt history, including Jimbo Covert, Bill Fralic, Dan Marino and Russ Grimm.
Morris, whose assistant, James Smith, also won't return, said he had turned down job offers from Iowa State (2008) and the Washington Redskins (last year) to remain at Pitt.
"I had a 45-minute conversation with (Todd Graham). I understand," said Morris, a South Park graduate. "He wants to bring his own guy in. I wish him and the University of Pittsburgh nothing but the best."
Meanwhile, Graham hired three more assistant coaches, leaving one opening to be filled -- likely for a defensive aide in charge of safeties.
The most significant addition is Todd Dodge, named the first quarterbacks coach since 1992 to hold only that title at Pitt. Previously, head coach Walt Harris and offensive coordinators Matt Cavanaugh and Frank Cignetti served as quarterbacks coach.
Dodge brings an interesting resume to Pitt, leading Southlake Carroll High School to four Texas Class 5A state titles and a 79-1 record in his final five seasons. He's credited with popularizing the spread offense among high schools in Texas.
Dodge, who coached Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy in high school, was the North Texas State head coach from 2007 until he was fired Oct. 20, 2010, with a 6-37 record.
Also named yesterday were tight ends coach Tony Dews, who spent the past three seasons as the wide receivers coach at Michigan, and offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich, a 20-year coaching veteran who was with Graham last season at Tulsa.
None of Wannstedt's assistant coaches were retained, but three members of the administrative support staff will be back. They include director of football relations and program enhancement Bob Junko, assistant athletic director/football relations Chris LaSala and his assistant, Matt Dudek. Graduate assistants Luke Getsy and Eric Thatcher were asked to return.
Graham introduced five assistants last week at his initial news conference -- executive associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Paul Randolph; assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Calvin Magee; co-offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and director of recruiting Mike Norvell; defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Keith Patterson; and cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Gibson.
Randolph, Norvell and Patterson served with Graham at Tulsa.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.