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Stars starting to align for Rich Rodriguez to become next Pitt coach

Back in late November, I had the idea of Rich Rodriguez as the next Pitt football coach.

I'll be the first to admit that it seemed far-fetched at the time. Dave Wannstedt still was the Panthers' coach and it wasn't certain that he'd be fired, and Rodriguez still was employed by the University of Michigan, although it was a better bet that he would be sent packing.

Wannstedt later was fired, which set the ball in motion. Pitt rushed to make a hire that didn't seem to have many finalists, selecting Miami (Ohio) coach Mike Haywood as its new leader.

The hiring was unimpressive, and the press conference touting Haywood as a man of character and integrity was less than inspiring. Haywood was fired less than three weeks later after a domestic violence charge, creating the vacancy again and making that press conference seem even more laughable.

Then things really got interesting.

CBSsports.com's Dennis Dodd touted a Rodriguez-to-Pitt move as a good thing. Later, the Post-Gazette's Bob Smizik posted it the same article on his blog, creating more of a buzz.

The latest shoe to drop was the immediate availability of Rodriguez. Michigan fired Rodriguez on Tuesday, bringing this initial dream one step closer to happening.

ESPN analyst Mark May, according to Smizik's blog, endorsed the idea of the Panthers hiring the now-available Rodriguez.

Can this happen? Well, it's certainly a lot more possible than when I wrote about it in late November when it was more than a long shot.

Rodriguez has his shortcomings and his departure from West Virginia wasn't under the best of circumstances, which certainly Pitt would examine if Rodriguez is being considered for the job.

I'm still in favor of Rodriguez being the Panthers' head coach. He knows the Big East, can recruit the area and his hiring would put the Pitt-WVU rivalry at a new level.

Can you imagine the intensity and rancor directed at Rodriguez on his first trip back to Morgantown? I can.

I also can imagine Rodriguez's spread offense running wild through the Big East.

We'll see soon enough if the Pitt administration is bold enough to make such a move to bring Rodriguez to Pitt.

Such a decision would wipe away the embarrassment of Haywood's hiring and enable the Panthers to move on.


UPDATE: ESPN.com is reporting that Rodriguez will meet with Michigan officials Wednesday, so Rodriguez will have his job for another day after earlier reports surfaced that he had been fired.

UPDATE II:  After leaving him dangle for a day, Rodriguez is canned. Let the rumors continue to fly.

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