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New coach Todd Graham describes the Pitt football program as a “sleeping giant.”

He doesn’t expect it to slumber much longer.

Graham brought his passion for the job to Sunnehanna Country Club on Thursday night, where he was one of the featured speakers at the Johnstown Chapter of the Panther Club’s annual sports banquet.

Despite sharing the stage with men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon, who led the Panthers to the Big East regular-season title, Graham drew much of the attention from the 230 banquet attendees.

Graham replaced Mike Haywood, who never coached a game at Pitt after taking over for Dave Wannstedt in the offseason, and the former Tulsa coach isn't shy about his expectations.

“Our program is going to be about winning championships,” said Graham, whose speech is peppered with words like “passion, explosiveness” and “high octane.”

And he believes his style will fit well in a region known for it's blue-collar work ethic and love of sports.

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