Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Chryst Legacy

What will be the legacy of Paul Chryst at the University of Pittsburgh?

Some wags have already suggested that his greatest legacy will be the fact that his departure brought about the firing of Steve Pederson, but let's put such cynicism aside for the moment.

When you think of what Chryst came into three years ago following the thief-in-the-night departure of Todd Graham, which was preceded by the Wannstedt firing and the Heywood fiasco, it seemed as though Chryst was put into a hole six feet deep and told to dig his way out.  Given that he stayed in Oakland for three seasons, his tenure seems to have brought some - not a lot, but some - stability to the football program.  It was low bar to clear, and his departure, while not as odious as Graham's, does leave a bad taste in the mouth.

He managed to recruit two bonafide super stars in James Conner and Tyler Boyd.

His teams in his second and third seasons were laden with a lot of freshman and sophomores, which promised hope for the future.

His teams went 19-19 over three seasons.  

He lost games to Youngstown State and Akron.

Under Chryst, Pitt won exactly one game against what I would say was a clearly superior team (Notre Dame in 2013).

And of course, if we wanted to really nitpick, we can all find strategic decisions that may have cost Pitt a win here or there (remember the Duke game this year?), but that isn't really fair, and you can find those kinds of things with ANY coach.

As a fan, I really hoped and wanted Paul Chryst to succeed at Pitt, and perhaps the groundwork for such success had been laid over these last three years, and the Panthers were ready to bust out big time over the next two seasons.  However, Chryst is now gone to America's Dairy land, and will never know what would have happened.  Or, as 19th century poet John Greenlief Whittier, who was an early advocate of the spread offense, would have put it:

"For all sad words of tongue and pen, 
The saddest are these, 'It Might have been.' "

Years from now football historians not yet born will look upon Paul Chryst and the early 21st century Panthers and say, "Well, he was no Jock Sutherland, but he was a hell of a lot better than Dave Hart."

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