PSU, WVU rivalries on the mind of new Pitt AD

AMELIA ISLAND, Florida -- New Pittsburgh athletic director Scott Barnes missed the first day of the ACC’s spring meetings, but his new administrative brethren were ready to question him about the question.

"I had one athletic director ask me the question, 'As soon as you got the job, how long did it take before somebody asked you about West Virginia?’ I said ‘about 30 seconds,'" Barnes said, adding he was even asked about it before taking the job in late April.

The Pittsburgh-West Virginia rivalry was discontinued following the 2011 season after the Mountaineers bolted to the Big 12 from the Big East, and in 2013 Pittsburgh left for the ACC. The game, known as the “Backyard Brawl” for the programs’ proximity to each other, had been played 104 times with Pitt leading the series 61-40-3.

There are no future games scheduled between the teams, though new West Virginia AD Shane Lyons said renewing the rivalry was on his radar. He told the MetroNews he was waiting to see who Pitt would hire as its athletic director after parting with Steve Pederson.

“Those are hot topics, and we’ll continue to look at it,” Barnes said.

Barnes was also asked about the rivalry with Penn State, which has been dormant since 2000. However, the rivalry will be renewed in 2016 as part of a four-game series ending in 2019. Barnes said he is learning more about the rivalry with the Nittany Lions.

“But I learned more about the rivalry with West Virginia and how important that is to some folks,” he said. “I’m continuing to be educated."