Pitt releases details on Graham exit

Pitt released a few details from Todd Graham's exit as head coach in a press release, saying Graham resigned after being denied permission to speak with Arizona State.

Graham first contacted athletic director Steve Pederson in a phone call Tuesday night about his intentions. Pederson asked Graham to sit down in person to discuss the situation. Though Graham never gave any indication that he wanted to leave, he appears to have made this move based on personal family reasons.

Pitt has named defensive coordinator Keith Patterson the interim head coach for the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7. Here are the statements from the Pitt press release:

"Obviously this is not the way we would have expected Mr. Graham to handle any possible departure,” Pitt executive vice chancellor and general counsel Jerry Cochran said. “Beyond normal expectations with respect to professional conduct, he has failed to comply with the terms of his contract.”

From Pederson:

"First and foremost, I want to express the complete support of the University of Pittsburgh for the young men in our football program. Their commitment over this past year has been unwavering and they deserve better than this as they look forward to completing their season with a bowl. As always, we will base our every decision and action on their best interests as we move forward.

"We also understand the disappointment that will be felt by our many fans and supporters. Their emotional investment and pride have been important to our program, and we are committed to securing the leadership our football team deserves.

"The head football coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh is an outstanding opportunity. As rich as our history has been, I sincerely believe the future can be even greater. Everything is in place for a championship football program on and off the field at Pitt, including a world-class academic institution, state-of-the-art facilities and a tremendous city to call home.

"The search for a new coach has already begun and I am confident we will have great interest in the job from some outstanding candidates.”