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Surviving Steve Pederson

January 6, 2011

As Pitt fans, we are all going through a rough time right now.  We have those feelings of anger, embarrassment, and disgust…all stemming from how the entire football coaching situation has been handled since Dave Wannstedt was fired/reassigned/resigned on December 7th.  When we look at every misstep that has occurred since that day (there are too many to list here, but you them all), there is only one person that we can lay blame on…Steve Pederson.

We know, some of you out there may think this is the worst thing in the world, Pederson fired a popular players’ coach with 26 wins over the past 3 years, destroyed a Top 25 recruiting class, and possibly set back the program years…and you may be right.  But just remember this, we are not the first university to have Steve Pederson come in, turn everyone against him, and demoralize a proud program and fan base.

That happened when Pederson left Pitt in 2002 for Nebraska, his native state.  Shortly after arriving, he fired popular coach Frank Solich (58-19), led them on a 40…yes 40…day coaching search in which he hired recently fired Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan.  This of course was after at least 4 other candidates had turned him down.  Oh, Callahan also broke the streak of 35 consecutive seasons of going to a bowl game by going 5-6 in his first season.  Callahan went 27-22 in four seasons.  Both he and Pederson were fired in 2007.

As you can see by our previous post, Nebraska fans were quite discontent with Pederson and how he ran the show.  But how did they do it?  How did they survive the dark ages of Cornhusker football?  We asked our friends over at Corn Nation, a Nebraska football blog, their thoughts on how we should handle our own Steve Pederson era.

Co-author Husker Mike had this to say:

There are two approaches you can follow, and neither is exclusive.  One is serious and angry, and that is to raise the call to for Pederson to be fired. There were several sites around from 2004 through 2007, though many of them went dormant in 2006, only to spring back to life during his final weeks in Lincoln.  One guy even ran a store at CafePress selling t-shirts and the like:

I also vaguely remember a Steve Pederson drinking game, where you take a drink when he uses “we” to describe something he had done, as well as when he denied something that the media already had proven he had done.

Whether it was Pederson’s ridiculous tales with respect to scheduling games (backing out on a series with Houston and ESPN), or his constant use of the athletic department to promote the cult of Steve, there was no end of the things to criticize the  man about.  My favorite was having the booster club print up a magazine that featured a call for fans to thank Pederson for all he had done and to admit that Pederson was right after all. (Less than one year later, Pederson was fired…)

Husker Mike: The Cult of Steve Pederson

The other way to handle it is ridicule.  Here in Omaha, we have a sportscaster that got blackballed by Pederson.  He broadcast volleyball and baseball on public television until Pederson pulled the rights away from public television in retaliation. The sportscaster did fine; he works for Westwood One on weekends calling NFL and the NCAA basketball tournament on the radio.  During the week, he hosted a local sports show that frequently took their shots and did their own parodies of Pederson.  My favorite is the term “Pedeyshine”, kind of a knockoff of the old SNL fake commercial for Shimmer, but it became a euphanism for putting a shine on the latest turd that Pederson tried to pass off.

One of the funnier collections is from the old “Steve Pederson is a Great Guy” site. The domain has expired, but the content still lives on as a collection of really bad Photoshops.

(Keep in mind most of this dates back to 2004…)

I also vaguely remember a Steve Pederson drinking game, where you take a drink when he uses “we” to describe something he had done, as well as when he denied something that the media already had proven he had done.

So there you have it, words of advice from fans who lived Steve Pederson destroying the proud tradition that is Nebraska football.  Some say that despite losing to Oklahoma State on Homecoming 45-14 two days prior, the sky was a little bluer over Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE on October 15, 2007.  Jon Johnston even recalls how he felt when hearing the news:

I was wondering how I’d feel about this when I got the news, and I got the news today as I was driving across Wisconsin to a customer site. After I hung up for the second time in four minutes, an overwhelming feeling of joy hit me. It was downright giddiness.

Someday…someday.  Until then, we shall do what we need to survive…and Hail to Pitt!

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