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Todd Graham said taking the Pitt job was a mistake

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Arizona State coach Todd Graham admits leaving Tulsa for Pitt two years was a mistake.

Graham, who was named the head coach at Arizona State in December, spent one season at Pitt after four at Tulsa. He was criticized heavily for leaving the Panthers after one season and essentially breaking up with his players via text message.

However, Graham told Lisa Horne of Fox Sports that he should have never left Tulsa for Pitt in the first place. As a Texas native who has spent most of his life in Texas and Oklahoma, Graham said he didn't adjust well to the cultural change of being on the East Coast.

"I got my head kicked in to come here," the 47-year-old Mesquite, Texas-native admitted.

There were no excuses offered up over why he bailed on Pitt — he was completely transparent and honest discussing what he called his "biggest mistake."

"In every job that [I've previously had] … I've changed jobs, and you know, you get a lot of grief, and rightly so. I take responsibility for being at a place for one year and leaving," he said. "I made a mistake. The mistake was I probably should have never gone to Pittsburgh in the first place."

Graham wasn't the only one who didn't agree with Pitt. He said in an earlier interview his kids also didn't like the area.

Graham wasn't Pittsburgh's first choice to replace Dave Wannstedt. The Panthers originally hired Mike Haywood from Miami-Ohio, but fired him 16 days later after he was charged with domestic abuse against the mother of his son.

That's when they came knocking on Graham's door. Graham was 36-17 at Tulsa, had won Conference USA's West Division three times in four seasons and had won all three bowl games. Graham is confident he could have stayed at Tulsa one more year and still gotten an opportunity to coach at Arizona State, a job he considers a dream destination.

Graham knows many will be watching and scrutinizing his every move at Arizona State and every time a head coaching position opens up, he, albeit jokingly, will be the name most throw out first. But he contends Arizona State is where he wants to be and he has no desire to leave anytime soon.

"This is a job that I've coveted. Hopefully, I'll be here a long, long time and develop a legacy," he said.

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