Paul Randolph comes to Pitt after serving as the executive senior associate head coach at Tulsa with Todd Graham for the last four seasons at Tulsa. Randolph coached with Graham at West Virginia in 2002. The two were re-united four years later when Graham got the head coaching job at Rich in 2006, and have been on the same staff ever since then.
"Coach Randolph coached in Toledo, was with me at West Virginia," Graham said. "He went to Alabama with coach (Mike) Shula. He left Alabama to go to Rice with me. I always point that out. He's got a degree in engineering, and he left Alabama to go to Rice."
Randolph spent three seasons at Alabama, before moving to Rice for a season, then on to Tulsa for the last four. He has also served as a co-defensive coordinator, a role he will also assume here at Pitt with Keith Patterson.
When given the opportunity to come with Graham back to the Big East, Randolph jumped on it.
"It's exciting, it really is," Randolph said. "I haven't worked in this area of the country before. I understand what type of football conference this is. I also understand what kind of academic institution this is, and the type of players we will have here and will be able to coach here. There's nothing but excitement. I'm kind of like a giddy kid in a candy store. It's truly exciting, and I'm truly fortunate to be here."
Less than a week into his tenure, in fact hours into his tenure, Randolph and other staff members were immediately put in charge of assembling and keeping together a 2011 recruiting class. The task hasn't been and won't be easy. In two weeks, the class will be signed. If you want a better idea of the level of intensity that Randolph takes in his stance as a recruiter, just ask him about getting a recruiting class in place in such a short span of time. Feeling the pressure to get a class together in three weeks is something that Randolph says is part of the business.
"Each time you make a transition in January, you're put into that position," Randolph said. "As coaches, and as a profession, you become accustomed to that, hopefully not too accustomed. You know that you have to hit the ground running. You roll your sleeves up, and you put your head down, and just work your tail off until the smoke clears on signing day."
As he mentioned, being in Pittsburgh is a new part of the country for him to coach in. Even though he did have previous stops at Toledo and West Virginia, two schools in neighboring states, Randolph considers Pittsburgh a completely different area. With only having been here a week, recruits are counting on him for information about what makes Pitt so great. While he's still new to town, it didn't take Randolph too long to figure out what he intends to sell this program on. He compared being a recruit, to some of the things floating around his mind when he walked into Pitt's practice facility for the first time.
"I walk through the front door, and the first thing I see when I enter the front door, it says, ‘Champions Reside Here,'" Randolph said. "Pitt exhumes champions. The way the building is set up, the newness of it. the history of it, that champions have walked through this university. You just know as a coach that you have an opportunity to be successful at a place like this, and successful on a major scale. That's what excites us as coaches."
He feels by that initial impression he had of Pitt, and what he already knows of the school will help him recruit some of the local talent right away.
"Local for us is hitting the state of Pennsylvania, then we'll branch out," Randolph said. "Then, we'll move to finish out the class with the best possible student athletes that we can."
Aside from recruiting, Randolph was highly impressed with what he saw in Pitt's bowl win over Kentucky on January 8, especially being the defensive line coach, with a unit that returns Myles Caragein, Chas Alecxih, Brandon Lindsey, Justin Hargrove and Aaron Donald. Alecxih and Lindsey had sacks in the bowl game. Others such as Shayne Hale and Bryan Murphy should be in the mix as well. Randolph held back no emotion when showing how excited he was to be the position coach of this set of returning players.
"Let me tell you, I am (excited)," Randolph said. "I think there's a really good group and a really good corps of guys there, just from watching the game. I'm truly excited about the area that I will be put in charge of.
"Naturally, when you couple watching that and the guys had a phenomenal performance. They played passionately, energetic, with energy and everything like that. Naturally, when you watch that and then you sit here and you have an opportunity to come and coach those guys that play with passion, that play disciplined and all those type things you look for as a coach, you get really excited about it."