Reports From Hawaii Prove Pitt Fans Correct About Todd Graham


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I don’t remember much about Todd Graham’s time at Pitt.  I was 18 years old and had just started my freshman year at college.  I was getting into some things I hadn’t before, leaving little time for college football, but we’ll just leave it that. 

I do remember, however, that we took bus trips from Pitt Johnstown, provided by the school, to both the Buffalo and Maine home games at Heinz Field.  The newly branded “High Octane” offense looked great and Pitt was traveling to Iowa City with a 2-0 record.  Then, my last vivid memory of the 2011 Pitt Panther football team is getting a commanding lead over the Iowa Hawkeyes late in the game.

However, we quickly learned that the High Octane offense was not a productive way to win a football game.  Despite a big lead, the Panthers were snapping the ball with 20+ seconds on the play clock each play, and doing their best not to run the clock out and achieve victory.  Instead, Pitt would lose 31-27, and that’s the last thing I vividly remember about Graham’s single season at Pitt.

Then, less than one year after proclaiming Pitt as his “dream job”, Graham left for Arizona State where he realized his “dream job” again.  He then, nearly verbatim, gave the same High Octane speech to Sun Devil fans that he had given to Panther fans just one year earlier.

All this to say, Todd Graham is a fraud of a human being.  We found this out at Pitt, and the players and staff at the University of Hawaii have found out as well.  Reports came out at the end of the 2021 season about the dysfunction within the Rainbow Warriors football program led by head coach Todd Graham. 

Last night, there was a Hawaii State Senate meeting to address budget and costs related to coaching staff contracts and issues relating to the transfer of players.  Many former Hawaii players spoke on their experience playing for Todd Graham in his two-season tenure there.  This meeting was called because state senators had received a troubling amount of complaints about Graham and the state of the football program.  Since the school is state funded, the state senate felt it within their rights to take action.

Leonard Lee, former Hawaii defensive back, gave perhaps the most scathing review of Graham, among many negative remarks toward the coach from others.  Lee said that, “Todd Graham, he disguises his discipline…some of the things he said, I can’t say on here, they’re too vulgar…it was hard to wake up and go to practice.”

Lee further went on to say, “I feel that nothing can change with him in charge…we had 20-30 guys fill it (a survey) out and the same issues were talked about…Matlin (Hawaii’s athletic director) knew about these issues and Graham didn’t change.”  Lee finished by saying, “He (Graham) is hands-down the worst guy I’ve ever met in my life.”

Former Hawaii defensive lineman, Derek Thomas, said in the same hearing that Graham, “stripped the Hawaii football team of its culture” and, “boasted of money and his house.”

Darryl McBride, former UH linebacker, pointed out it is a definite red flag that 19 UH players have entered the transfer portal.  However, he also feels that nothing will come of his statements and that they will be ignored.  He also said he has been blocked by all of the UH coaches on Twitter.

All of the hearing’s testimony was reported on Twitter live during the hearing by KITV Hawaii Sports Anchor Keith Demolder (@KeithDemolder).

Even with all of this player testimony, the biggest indictment of Graham has to be that his own son, defensive back Michael Graham, entered the transfer portal on December 30th.  His own son!  Perhaps Michael is just getting the jump on knowing that his dad is about to be fired, but the optics of that are just brutal among the controversy.

Graham is also another knock on former Pitt AD Steve Pederson, who hired Graham.  That was after pushing Dave Wannstedt out to hire Mike Haywood as his replacement.  You don’t remember Haywood?  That is because he was immediately fired after he was charged with felony domestic abuse charges before coaching a single game for the Panthers.  Thank God for Heather Lyke, and I wish the worst for Todd Graham.