| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pitt coach Chryst keeps focus on football field

About Jerry DiPaola
Picture Jerry DiPaola 412-320-7997
Pitt Football Reporter
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Just a prediction

The Big East preseason media poll:

School Voting points

1. Louisville 219

2. South Florida 176

3. Rutgers 155

4. Cincinnati 139

5. Pitt 131

6. Connecticut 77

7. Syracuse 70

8. Temple 41

Source: Big East

By Jerry DiPaola

Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 9:01 a.m.

NEWPORT, R.I. — The question about conference affiliation caught Paul Chryst while he was looking the other way, when he was doing something that can get lost in talk of realignment, billion-dollar television contracts and lawsuits.

With the start of training camp less than a week away, the Pitt football coach was thinking about, of all things, football.

“You are making me nervous here,” he said, laughing, when a reporter asked about preparations involved in moving next year from the Big East to the ACC. “Like I should be planning a lot more.”

While interim Big East commissioner Joe Bailey and senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli prepare for the start of negotiating the next TV contract — with millions of dollars and the conference's longstanding viability at stake — Chryst mulls how long to spend on special teams when practice begins Monday.

“Your world is coaching and recruiting and making sure the guys who are there are growing as people,” Chryst said Tuesday at Big East Media Day. “I think that would apply no matter what conference you're in.”

The Big East stands at a crossroads, ready to welcome six new teams while bidding farewell to Pitt and Syracuse, who will join the ACC for the 2013-14 academic year.

Chryst said he doesn't know the potential impact of joining the ACC, although he admits it has opened doors that might have remained closed.

“Whether that translates into getting guys, we'll see,” he said.

He said his staff will meet this week to discuss recruiting goals one final time before the start of the season. Then it's football and getting ready for the Sept. 1 opener against Youngstown State and the Big East opener five days later at Cincinnati.

Chryst said Pitt might point south a bit more often in chasing players, but the baseline remains the same, no matter the conference.

“I still think it's Western Pennsylvania that has to be home,” he said.

With Boise State and San Diego State joining the Big East next year, the conference will use its wide footprint to sell itself to networks when contract talks open next month, Bailey said.

“We can have a Big East football game on (TV) anytime of the day,” he said.

To that end, representatives from 12 bowls and three networks met with conference officials over the past several days. The Big East is the only one of the six power conferences without a major bowl affiliation, but Carparelli, a candidate to become permanent commissioner, said the Orange Bowl — and a potential matchup with the ACC champion — is not out of the question.

“The Orange Bowl has expressed a desire to have Big East teams in their game when it's appropriate,” he said. “I don't see why that can't happen.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at or 412-320-7997.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pitt

  1. Panthers pulling weight for new strength coach
  2. Former Pitt captain Cavanaugh blazes trail as entrepreneur
  3. Pitt wraps up spring football practice with closeness, competition
  4. Players, coaches laud changes in makeup of Pitt roster under Chryst
  5. Pitt QBs show they can adapt to change
  6. Pitt displays football program for fans as spring practice closes
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.