Gary Nova isn't going anywhere. He said Tuesday night that he will remain committed to Pittsburgh despite Dave Wannstedt's departure as head coach on Tuesday. Though upset about losing Wannstedt, Nova says he will remain a Panther, as long as some of the current assistants remain on the next coaching staff.
"It's hard, I was definitely surprised," Nova said. "Coach Wannstedt was one of the main reasons I committed there. When I met him the first time, I was amazed at what a great person he was. I'm definitely firmly committed, unless there‘s a drastic change in the coaching staff. I'm hoping that everybody stays, and that (offensive coordinator Frank) Cignetti gets the head job.
"Our 2011 class is a great class. We are hoping to make some noise at the next level."
Which leads to the next question. How much has Nova communicated with the other members of the 2011 recruiting class? From the sounds of things, pretty frequently, as they are all anxiously awaiting to see what Pitt's next move is.
"Quinton (Alston) is the one; me and him talk a lot," Nova added. "Quinton, Bill Belton, we have our own group on Facebook. We're trying to stay together to see who's coaching us. We can really build on some things they have there. There's a lot of talent. Right now, we have to stick together."
Nova has also talked with his recruiting coach, Jeff Hafley--a key member of the staff that Nova would like to see stay at Pitt.
"I talked to coach Hafley, and he was basically letting me know what's going on," Nova said. "He's always been honest with me; that's another one of the reasons I chose Pitt. There's great people there. We built up a friendship. He'll let me know, good or bad, what happens, and I appreciate that a lot."
Despite all the turmoil surrounding Pitt's coaching change, Nova has still taken time to reflect his second state championship as a starting quarterback for Don Bosco. The Ironmen defeated Bergen Catholic this past Friday for its second consecutive state championship in the Group IV Non-Public section. Nova finished his career with a record of 24-0 as a starter, complete with two state titles.
"The second (state title) is more special because it's your senior year, and you wanted to leave a legacy behind," Nova said. "It's great, my senior year, to be blessed with great coaches, doing my part and doing everything to win a state title and a national title."
Pitt's most recent freshmen from Don Bosco were Brandon Sacco--who redshirted as a center this past season, and Bryan Murphy--who despite a broken foot in training camp that required surgery, returned to action, and was Pitt's third defensive end in the win at Cincinnati last week. Basically, based on Bosco's system, it seems that its players are prepared in an accelerated system, which showed with Sacco and Murphy in their first year at Pitt. Nova offered some explanation as to why that helps.
"I think it's our practices and our coaching," Nova said. "If you're ever at one of our practices, you would think we were 0-12, the way we practice. We have to do it one way. The coaches never take it easy on us. They'll let us know if we're having a bad day. They'll let us know what we're doing right. Then, when we got off to college, we're ready to get in there and we're supposed to be tough. No matter what happens, that's what we do."
Nova now shifts his talents to the hardwood, where he is a member of Bosco's basketball team. He will also be a quarterback in the upcoming Chesapeake Bowl later this month, along with several of the other Pitt commits.