March 19, 2017

NCAA Tournament has mostly gone according to chalk. Not been a good one for the ACC, as a whole. Down went Louisville, Virginia and Notre Dame. This is what it has felt like in the ACC for the last couple decades. Everyone flaming out and stuck hate-rooting for UNC and/or Duke to carry the banner for the rest of the conference. Sucks.

On the plus side, Villanova reverts back to form by exiting in the first weekend for the second time as a #1 seed in the last three years.

The first four days of the NCAA Tournament has been more interesting for the coaching moves, then any Cinderella stories.

Cuonzo Martin becomes the recent coaching rarity of a head coach moving between Power 5 jobs. He jumped from Tennessee a couple years ago to Cal. Now, jumps to Mizzou. Taking advantage of the somewhat surprising move by Washington to fire (at last) Lorenzo Romar, he hired Michael Porter, Sr. from UW as an assistant. Presumably meaning the number one recruit, Michael Porter, Jr. will now head to the Tigers.

NC State made a quick and — especially for them — probably excellent hire in Kevin Keatts from UNC-Wilmington following UNCW’s 5-point loss to Virginia in the opening round. A great job there, and a Rick Pitino disciple.

Keatts would have been a hot name last year (perhaps even by Pitt), but everyone was waiting to see if his name would come up in the Louisville-stripper/hooker scandal. Keatts was an assistant at the time. No one could/would touch Keatts until an whitewash and scapegoat investigation was complete. Is he a “winner?” Remains to be seen at a higher level, but NC State may have gotten smart and lucky this time.

In another aggressive move following the elimination of the team, Brad Underwood left Oklahoma State for Illinois. Underwood had been at OSU for only one year after a brief, but successful run at Stephen F. Austin. OSU, after overpaying and having to eat a big buyout on Travis Ford, lowballed Underwood.

When it lured Underwood away from Stephen F. Austin, Oklahoma State more or less offered a hardline, take-it-or-leave-it pauper’s salary of $1 million a year to coach in the Big 12. Of course a coach from the Southland Conference ought not sneeze at that or turn it down. But the sensation of being held over a barrel never sat right with Underwood and his people. Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder seemed surprised at the end result of this, uh, thrift–“We are trying to digest this news,” he said in a statement–but he shouldn’t have been.

There were implied promises of revisiting it after the season, but OSU was reportedly dragging its feet a bit. Illinois came hard for Underwood with a better than $3 million/year for six-year offer. And that was that. Less then a week after letting John Groce go, Illinois eschewed the search firm and went after the guy they wanted — and were reasonably certain they could get.

Back to ACC impact — no Clemson didn’t make a move, Brad Brownell remains. Washington surprised everyone today by hiring longtime Syracuse assistant, and head coach-in-waiting, Mike Hopkins.

Hopkins, 47, has worked under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse since 1996, and he also played college ball for the Orange. He was expected to be the successor to Boeheim when the veteran head coach retires, having been named the coach-in-waiting in 2015.

“He wants to build a legacy, felt like the opportunity was special at Washington, and also wanted to make sure he did right by his mentor and father figure, Jim Boeheim,” a source close to the situation told Goodman.

Hopkins, a California native, went 4-5 as interim head coach in 2015-16 while Boeheim was suspended. He has been mentioned in searches for other head-coaching jobs previously, including as a finalist for Oregon State’s top job in 2014.

Hopkins also interviewed for the USC job in 2013. This was something of a stealth move by Washington, as last night reports were out that Steve Lavin was a lead candidate. Mike Hopkins’ name was nowhere to be seen in the rumor mill.

Jim Boeheim has been making a lot of noise this year that his retirement plans after 2017-18 are hardly as set in stone as they once seemed. Syracuse fans are decidedly mixed. Having Hopkins leave, is not something that particularly bothers them long-term, because (and rather reasonably, I’d say) they believe if he does do well at Washington, he can still be brought back to Syracuse. Plus, given his loyalty to the school over the years, reasonable fans can hardly begrudge him for finally getting and taking his shot.

On the other hand, Hopkins has been their lead and key recruiter for years. Losing him is a bit on the scary side.

At this point, the open P5 jobs are Cal — who seems to be looking at the leftovers that Washington had been rumored to be considering (yes, including Steve Lavin for reasons that escape me),  [EDIT, ADDITION: Because I completely forgot about them, given their general irrelevance.] LSU — and Indiana.

Indiana is the big one. Archie Miller could be hired any time if they wanted. Or do they wait until Xavier is out to get Chris Mack? Or Butler’s Chris Holtmann?

Then there is Gregg Marshall at Wichita State. If he is going to leave WSU, a gig like Indiana seems like the one. Of course, Marshall is reportedly a difficult guy to deal with for the administration and not a fan of media attention. After the Tom Crean era — to say nothing of the ghost of bitter, old, Bob Knight. That may be something Indiana’s administration wants to skip.

OK, rub it in Chas. Tell us about some of the promising young coaching talent out there … and didn’t even mention Hurley, Wade or Hnederson to name just a few

Comment by wbb 03.19.17 @ 3:36 pm

“Surprised that most of these schools are not going with the under achieving, re-tread route.”

He said with a thick layer of sarcasm that only Keith & a small group of other KS apologists couldn’t comprehend.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.19.17 @ 4:02 pm

Stallings just needs to get his guys and then Pitt will rise to mediocrity. Just need to be VERY patient for 3 more years.

Comment by Barvo 03.19.17 @ 4:09 pm

ACC getting pummeled makes Pitt’s results look even worse. We can argue whether it was the players or coaching, I choose all the above.

I think we hit absolute bottom next year.

Comment by gc 03.19.17 @ 5:07 pm

At least a young up and comer has a chance, unlike a never has been. Maybe Stallings will be the Col Sanders of college basketball and surprise us all with the secret recipe he has been saving.

Comment by gc 03.19.17 @ 5:09 pm

How anyone in Athletics sleeps at night with the Nation’s worst D1 coach making excuses a year plus into his tenure. Gallagher hires Narduzzi +3 Hires Barnes -2. Barnes hires Diabetic Shoes Stallings – 4. Allows Herman to spend 14 months on designing bad unis and paying him till March 2017. -4.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.19.17 @ 5:15 pm

has Rich? @ChasRich27 11 minutes ago

TCU — without its starting PG — goes on the road and beats Iowa in OT in the NIT.

Comment by wbb 03.19.17 @ 6:39 pm

col stallings can shove that secret recipe up his ass. all he knows is how to lose and piss off the fan base. miserable pos.

Comment by TX Panther 03.19.17 @ 7:07 pm

Hiring this slug was one thing. They can blame that one on Barnes. But they now have a year of test samples and a clear history of abhorrent behavior. The radio silence at the Pitt Athletic Department is a reprehensible abdication of responsibility. This guy doesn’t need two more years to prove himself. He needs two years of anger management counseling. By allowing this sham to continue the only thing they will need to worry about in two years is who they hire to turn the lights out at the Pete.

Would Sir Patrick Gallagher please pick up the white courtesy phone?

Hello? Hello?

Comment by Wally 03.19.17 @ 7:28 pm

Archie to Indiana is my bet. Big Bro advised him don’t leave the Flyers (my alma mater) unless you go to a school that is one of the top 3 in the conference. Indiana fits the bill, Pitt (where I have season tix) never was and never will.

Dayton will hire a young up and coming coach and its excellent recruiting class coming will keep being relevant. Pitt, thanks to incompetent Barnes, and tired, old, washed-up, never was, KS will slowly slide into oblivion.

How Pitt made the excellent hires of Howland followed by Dixon, and and then screwed it up with the pathetic choice of KS is a sad, sad state of affairs.

Comment by Taxing Matters 03.19.17 @ 8:49 pm

Well looks like Pitt shit the bed again. They just hired Heather Lyke from Eastern Michigan. I’m done

Comment by Coach Ditka 03.19.17 @ 9:02 pm

Anyone know if Ms Heather Lyke accomplished much at Eastern Michigan?

Comment by Gasman 03.19.17 @ 9:12 pm

Rhymes with…

Comment by Dan 72 03.19.17 @ 9:12 pm

Uneffen believable, Gallagher must have his head examined and the board of trustees must hold him accountable! Barnes hire was an F- and who knows who this person is! We needed someone local to some degree that has ties to the Pittsburgh corporate world that can raise funds!

Comment by PTG 03.19.17 @ 9:33 pm

At least Pitt is consistent . The new AD doesn’t have any balls either.

Comment by Wally 03.19.17 @ 9:35 pm

The ACC is a football conference and Pitt is a football school. Bizarro World….

Comment by Jackagain 03.19.17 @ 10:02 pm

Embarrassment. The committee and Gallagher are a joke. I wouldn’t give her a $1 if I had a 100M.

Gallagher wanted a yes sir puppet and lap dog for a Narduzzi. A Real AD would fire Geritol Stallings he first day.

Puppet Bronzer

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.19.17 @ 10:43 pm

Maybe we can run our new AD out of town also, pitt fans love to bitch and judge..

Hope she does a great job!


Comment by Keith 03.19.17 @ 10:44 pm

pay a search firm for her no name ass. Gallagher is a dork.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.19.17 @ 10:46 pm

We wanted and up & comer for a BB Coach and maybe we got one for AD? Heather Lyke brought EM’s football program back from the dead. If anyone deserves a chance here it’s someone who has done well at a small school and is stepping into the a P5 program for the first time. I wish that logic was applied to the BB Coach hire.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.19.17 @ 11:00 pm

Easy fellas. This isn’t a hire that you can just pan out of the gate. She spent 15 years at OSU in the athletic department and was Sr. Athletic Director before she was promoted to the EMU spot and the drama around her at EMU is that she spent too much on football …

“The move comes as the football team comes off its best season in decades, including a trip to the Bahamas Bowl. But there also has been a renewed debate about athletics at Eastern Michigan in the past year, including an HBO Real Sports segment on athletic department spending that was critical of the school. A number of faculty and students have called for the university to drop out of Division I football — either completely dropping the program or moving down in division, which would decrease the cost. In recent years, Eastern Michigan, with about 21,000 students, has spent more than $27 million a year from the university’s general fund on sports.

Many of the issues with Eastern Michigan’s spending have centered on football, which has had poor performance and low attendance for years.”

and she fundraises …

“The Free Press revealed at the beginning of March, Lyke’s plans to spend $35 million to improve the campus athletic facilities. Athletic department officials have been quietly raising funds for the improvements and have $9 million of the total cost committed already pending board approval of the entire project. That amount includes $6 million from one, unnamed donor, which would be the largest cash gift ever given to the university. How the remainder would be funded hasn’t been determined yet.”

I’m optimistic on this one.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.19.17 @ 11:01 pm

LOL – Yep she raised 800k last year Tossing.

Wow she is killing it.

She made 245k. THat is embarrassing alone. Tells you yet again you get what you pay for.

Up and comer aren’t mid 40’s.

Who cares about OSU as well. Being a puppet there for the real AD gets you EMU not Pitt.

Joke is on us again.

She will be owned in ACC.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.20.17 @ 12:00 am

Tossing – and you are optimistic on everything.

Tony – You drinking????

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.20.17 @ 12:02 am

Upittbaseball, give the lady a chance to at least step on campus before you start getting rid of her.

She’s a softball player that’s close to baseball.

She did make some points in her career at EMU. Give her a chance.

Wonder what her husband does to give her flexibility moving around the country.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 03.20.17 @ 3:14 am

Maybe Pitt will be better with Heather.

But looking at the two Finalists in the search, it would appear that diversity was at least a consideration.

Lyke it or not, Pitt has its first Female Athletic Director.

Comment by PittofDreams 03.20.17 @ 4:19 am

Some STRANGE obsession with Ohio State by Pitt Admin also seems to have been a factor.

Comment by PittofDreams 03.20.17 @ 4:22 am

what makes you people think that the best AD candidates are clamoring for a position at Pitt? Pitt’s athletic budget is average, at best, for D1 schools with FB programs. In addition to being AD the last 4 years, she was associate AD at OS for a handful of years. She is well qualified.

Comment by wbb 03.20.17 @ 6:46 am

25 comments and 4 are gender related/demeaning.

Could care less about her gender. (Or age…really 40s is nowhere near too old). Just want results.

Sadly for me, the main results I want to see is a new head coach but the admin likely demands no change there…

Comment by DD 03.20.17 @ 6:55 am

DD – wouldn’t it be great if Ms. Lyke’s 1st assignment as the new AD was to rid Pitt of KS? She is a lawyer and I’m told KS’ contract has a clause in it regarding possible termination for “conduct detrimental to the university”.

Patience – this could play out to be a very good thing for Pitt.

Comment by Erie Express 03.20.17 @ 7:37 am

Budgets for recruiting and assist coaches are key. One possible change could be for the new AD to require KS to make some assistant coaching changes. But that usually comes after year two when the initial recruiting class bombs out. Does anyone know if that shooting guard from Toronto is coming to Pitt?

Comment by VoiceofReason 03.20.17 @ 7:51 am

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