Pitt's Football Coach Told His Players He Quit Via A Forwarded Text Message [UPDATE]

Todd Graham came on as Pitt's football coach last January, and he almost lasted an entire year with the Panthers. He announced today that he's leaving, after a 6-6 season in Pittsburgh, for sunny Arizona State University.

Due to the "timing of the circumstances," Graham explained, he couldn't tell them in person. He reportedly had to tell them via a forwarded text. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette got a hold of it this afternoon:

Please text this to players please:

I have resigned my position at Pitt in the best interest of my family to pursue the head coaching position at Arizona State.

Coaching there has always been a dream of ours & we have family there.

The timing of the circumstances have prohibited me from telling you this directly.

I now am on my way to Tempe to continue those discussions. God Bless, Coach Graham.

That's not the classiest way to go, is it? He didn't even include an emoticon.

Pitt hasn't confirmed the news yet, but the players seem to think it's official. They'll play SMU in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7, and they're a bit miffed that Graham is leaving so soon.

"I'm literally sick," sophomore WR Devin Street tweeted earlier. "That man pulled me in his office one on one and lied to me."

Update: Pitt's athletic department send out a press release this afternoon:

Mr. Graham first advised [athletic director Steve[ Pederson of his intentions via telephone Tuesday evening. During that conversation, Graham requested permission to speak to another institution. That permission was denied and he was asked to sit down in person to discuss everyone's best interest in this situation. There had been no earlier indication of a desire to leave his position at Pitt. In fact, he expressly stated that his coaching experiences at the University of Pittsburgh had been entirely positive and that his decision was based solely on personal family reasons.

"Obviously this is not the way we would have expected Mr. Graham to handle any possible departure," Pitt executive vice chancellor and general counsel Jerry Cochran said. "Beyond normal expectations with respect to professional conduct, he has failed to comply with the terms of his contract."

Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has been named Pitt's interim head coach.

Pitt coach Graham quits for Arizona State job [Post-Gazette]