He didn't have a losing record in four years, but, in the end, Mike Gottfried's record hardly mattered at all.
Gottfried won games, but he lost face with Pittsburgh's administration - and, worst of all, he lost credibility with the people that mattered most of all, the public.The worst-kept secret in college football, Gottfried's firing, was finally made official Monday - four days after the fact - and Athletic Director Ed Bozik admitted a 26-17-2 record was the least of Gottfried's problems.
"We had a pretty good record (7-3-1) this year and we had a couple of good recruiting classes," Bozik said. "The outlook for the future was positive. We won the games we were supposed to win. The (record) was not a consideration ... it was the other matters."
Matters such as barely talking to Bozik in their final working months together, and Gottfried's continual feuding with the university's academic community, especially faculty representative John Bolvin.
Matters such as his icy-cold attitude toward the working media, whom he barely acknowledged this fall. Matters such as keeping within his budget and his problems convincing top-drawer Pitt alumni, especially the influential Golden Panthers' boosters, that he was the man for the job.
Bozik said Gottfried's 15-18-1 record at Kansas didn't matter when Pitt hired him in 1985, and his winning record didn't matter in his firing.
"The differences in philosophy and the operation of his program" were the problems, Bozik said.
As expected, Bozik said offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, a former NFL assistant coach, was named acting head coach for the Hancock Bowl against Texas A&M on Dec. 30.
"We want to compete in the Top-25 level of college football. ... We'd like to be in the Top 10 and, of course, we'd like to win a national championship," Bozik said. "The goals are the same as when we hired Mike Gottfried (in 1985)."