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Travel woes hit Pitt football coach Graham

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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

The coach flies coach, but not even a seat in first class would have saved Pitt's Todd Graham from this nightmare.

On the way home from his first trip to Big East Media Day, Graham, wife Penni and sons Dakota and Michael sat on an airplane in Providence, R.I., for more than three hours Tuesday night while maintenance workers replaced a latch.

Stuffed in the middle of a crowded aircraft, the Grahams were forced to wait so long that they missed their connecting flight in Philadelphia. That resulted in a night at an airport hotel and Graham showing up late for the coaches meeting he called for 6 a.m. Wednesday.

So, while Penni contacted USA Airways, checked the score of the Cubs/Pirates game and tweeted to her 836 followers, Todd spoke to his staff about what he wanted done in his absence the next day. With practice set to begin Monday, Graham was irritated about missing an important meeting but was a good sport about it.

"You have to learn to roll with the punches with this sort of thing," he said.

But when confronted with a long line at the security checkpoint in Philadelphia, he muttered, "The adventure continues."

Maybe his next contract should include a private plane for Pitt business, a luxury he enjoyed on occasion at Tulsa.

Graham said the trip reminded him of the Conference USA title game against Central Florida in 2005, when his flight from Tulsa to Orlando, Fla., was delayed eight hours.

"Woke up the next morning and beat 'em," he said with a smile.

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