May 10, 2017

Stallings Has A Plan

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Stallings — Chas @ 7:30 am

Just before the weekend, articles were published following a sit-down with basketball head coach Kevin Stallings. A transcript of the interview was also put out on Saturday, to help flesh things a little further.

This is Stallings at his best and worst as far as a public figure. He is candid, open about a lot of things and doesn’t hide behind as much coachspeak. That same honesty, though, can make him come off like an ass, and someone who puts the blame everywhere but on himself.

[Editor note. I had this drafted on Sunday, I swear. But I kept revisiting, and adding to it. SO much to chew on in this.Just posting it at this point before I do more revisions.]

His major talking point: I have a plan in the midst of this seeming chaos.

“In some regards, it helped accelerate some of the panic. Any time a kid leaves, the uninformed probably view it as a negative. Sometimes, change is a positive. Again, I just looked at it and had some very direct conversations with guys. I didn’t tell anybody they had to leave in the conversations, other than the one kid I dismissed, but I told them ‘Here’s what your future looks like here.’ In being honest, that put the ball in their court as far as what they wanted to do. You kind of know what’s coming next. We’re very supportive of those kids. We want all of them to go places where they can play and have success and be happy.”

Bit of splitting hairs on running a kid off versus, “you will never get off of the bench.” But sure.

“But I think the timing of that and Cam’s departure, that set off a little bit of panic. It will all work itself out in the long run. After I was on the job for about six months, I realized fully what we had undertaken. It was a little different than what I had thought. But there’s a plan in place. It’s being executed on a daily basis, it’s fundamentally sound and it will be a winning plan.

[Emphasis added.]

Been staring at this quote for a while. I’m not reassured.

Talking about the roster from the past year:

“I think I inherited six guys that were ACC-caliber basketball players and some other guys that weren’t ready or able to be ACC-caliber players. I would say that was kind of it. I’m not trying to make kids look bad. I don’t have any desire to make a kid look bad in this.”

I can’t really argue that as far as what he had coming into the season. Perhaps seven if Crisshawn Clark hadn’t been re-injured in preseason. We all have questions about how much of the rest of the players will never be quite that good or if they just didn’t have a chance or weren’t developed enough during the season (or for the future). But really, this is something most fans should be able to agree. Now, what he did with those players is a different issue.

Talking about Pitt fans getting a bit nervous agitated that Stallings is destroying the program. In the question before, Stallings talked about not being surprised by a lot of the transfers that had taken place. That they were players he could see weren’t going to fit and/or were likely to move on. Or in the case of Josh Newkirk, had to be removed from the team.

When Cam transferred and Thompson got out of his letter of intent, that seems to be when your fanbase really started to panic like this whole thing is falling apart. It sounds like you’re basically saying those are the only two things that really kind of caught you by surprise.

“Those are the only two things I was not anticipating. I tried to change both of them. It wasn’t to be. I think that unexpected things tend to cause fans to be concerned and to panic and that sort of thing, and I understand that. The plan is in place. It’s evolving. Yes, the plan adjusts from time to time, but neither of those unexpected departures, if you will, are going to prevent us from building a winning culture and recruiting high-level players that can help us succeed in this league.”

I think fans were already unnerved by the number of transfers. As common as they are, most programs don’t have that many in a season. And Pitt has seemed to be accelerating on transfers after being behind the curve for a number of years on transfers. But yes, many fans with good reason went from concerned to panic with the losses of Johnson and Thompson. Stallings won’t go any further then saying that he just didn’t see it coming.

Having Corey Manigault leave — even though it was widely expected — was disappointing for me. Manigault looked, in my view, as the type of player that with a little time and good coaching to become a solid frontcourt college player. That he felt he was not going to get the opportunity and/or coaching to develop increased my concerns. Especially with the state of Pitt’s frontcourt for next year.

Not that Stallings won’t go into a little bit of hedging and coachspeak with respect to expectations for next year.

Is it realistic to think you can bring in 10 new guys and compete in the ACC? Are you treating next year almost as year one?

“I would call it chapter one as opposed to year one. My answer to that is I have some confidence we’re going to be moving in a very positive direction. What that looks like in terms of wins and losses, at this juncture, because we’re several months away from the season, I’m not even concerned about that right now. But I’m very confident by establishing the kind of culture we’re going to need here in order to sustain long-term success that we’ll be building toward that. We’re going to be closer to being the kind of program we want to be with whatever happens this year because we’re doing the very best we can to recruit the kind of kids, as I talked about before, that have the core values we deem important that can give us that chance.”

This is what Stallings has no real choice but to push as the narrative. Frankly there is no way Pitt is competing in the ACC other then with the bottom four or five teams of the conference. Stallings has to sell the idea of building for the future. Laying a new foundation. Even if he is looking hard and leaning on transfers.

Is that what makes some of these graduate transfers attractive to where you’re at, because theoretically they can help you compete, but they’re not blocking a scholarship for the long term, so now you have four or five scholarships for next year?

“Correct. What we need to do is we need to obviously finish this recruiting class, but then the 2018 becomes very important to us to put behind our 2017 class because we need two or three really good classes back to back to back in order to start the process of culture and success we’re looking for. I feel badly for the fans that see it as a panicked or hopeless proposition. There are always points in any kind of program or any kind of business, for that matter, where significant change has to happen in order for progress to occur. I took over a situation where that was in fact the case. We’re closer than we’ve ever been to having it where we need it. Are we as close as we want to be? No. Are we there yet? Heck no. But are we closer than we were a month ago or two months ago or five months ago? Yes, we are. That’s something I’m very certain about.”

I freely admit my affection remains undiminished for Jamie Dixon, but Stallings isn’t wrong that this coming year was going to be rough no matter who the coach was. The confluence of four seniors — all starters — meant that the 2017-18 squad was going for some wholesale changes and a definite step back.

Stallings is overstating how much closer the program is now, but that is part of trying to sell very skeptical fans that the plan is in place and that it is going to work. Just as he does in the interview when he talks of how much new AD Heather Lyke is supportive of him. Nothing else he can say at this point.

Probably one of the most contentious thing in the interview was his feelings about transfers and releasing players from their National Letter of Intent (NLI).

“You don’t know from the outset who it’s going to be, but you know there are going to be some. As that started taking shape, I could have told you who would fall into that category. But the unexpected departures are the things that are becoming more common than uncommon in college basketball. You have guys constantly trying to transfer up. You have guys going pro that have never played a minute of college basketball after they’ve sat out a year at a school. You have guys asking out of their letters of intent with frequency. We’re dealing in a landscape in college basketball right now that is as probably as difficult and peculiar as it’s ever been. It used to be if a kid signed his letter of intent and he wanted out of it, you had to play a year of junior-college ball to get out of it. The media didn’t basically force institutions to let people break a binding agreement. It’s kind of interesting now the media tries to put so much pressure on programs, whether it be athletic directors or coaches, saying ‘Well, the coaches can move.’ Well, hey, guess what? I’ve got a great big buyout in my deal that prevents me from moving. I’ve got something in my contract saying I can’t go to another league school. It’s not as easy for coaches to go. That’s everyone’s rationale — ‘Well, the coaches can leave.’ We’re dealing in an environment right now that is as fluid as it’s ever been. It’s just where we’re at in the whole thing with the unexpected departures.”

[Emphasis added.]

This, to me, is false equivalence.

If you don’t know my bias by now, I’ll remind you. I think players should have plenty of freedom to transfer — especially as graduate transfers who should get some reward for actually propping up the whole “student-athlete” portion of the NCAA. Sitting one year as a regular transfer without any extenuating circumstances (the coach being fired or leaving) is reasonable enough. I don’t think the NLI should bind players to a school before they arrive on campus.

I certainly don’t think buyouts for coaches serves as much of a deterrent for the moving of coaches around. Whether assistants or head coaches. The buyouts, most of the time are negotiable (and as we’ve seen, sometimes simply waived). Heck, an entire contract is negotiable between the school and the coach.  And they also work both ways if the school decides to fire the coach. A kid doesn’t get a waiver to play right away if he is obviously forced out because his skill sets or abilities don’t live up to the expectations.

There are no negotiations between a school/coach and student. The terms are the same whether a 5-star McDonald’s All-American or a 1-star project. A scholarship is for one year with only the school/coach with the discretion to renew (bind the kid to) it each year.

And then there is what? Blaming the media for forcing him and other coaches to release kids from their NLI? Basically complaining that attention has been brought, and not ignored any longer.

Stallings would seem to be extra-sensitive on the issue because of the whole Sheldon Jeter affair from Vanderbilt. Where Stallings (was rumored to believe) felt (but could not prove) the Pitt coaching staff  encouraged Jeter to transfer. Stallings wouldn’t come out and say it, instead refused to release Jeter — not expecting it to get that much attention. Instead, it became a bigger deal and impacted Stallings’ reputation.

You can see, though, how much it bothered him that he had to release Thompson from his NLI. No coincidence it came shortly after, hmmm… Assistant Coach Jeremy Ballard — the lead recruiter on Thompson — left to go to VCU. A coach moving without restriction to another job? That Thompson had VCU as one of his final new choices before going to Butler? Total coincidence.

Finally a little grim fun for me. Paul Zeise did a column based on the Stallings interview. You may recall back in January when Zeise was all about the fun and Stallings being a great fit for this team. Not to mention making the NCAA Tournament. Which dropped to, this team not being good and that it was incumbent on Stallings to finish the season at least above .500.  Whoops.

Now, after conceding the season to be a disaster, the only arrow left is that it would be worse to jump the gun on firing Stallings and patience is the only option.

Kevin Stallings’ first full year at Pitt has been a bit of a disaster by pretty much every measure.

The Panthers finished with a losing record for the first time in nearly two decades. They won only four ACC games and have had a wave of departures since the season ended that has left only three scholarship players on the roster.

It is a hard sell at this point. Nothing the Panthers did last season suggests they are on the right course.

The reality is Pitt fans have no choice but to be patient and give Stallings a chance. He represents their only hope. And there is no better course for the program over the next two or three years than to stick with Stallings.

Stallings took over a fading program and needed to break it down and start over from scratch. To fire him before he coaches at least two more seasons would be silly. Pitt would struggle to find a good coach willing to take the job in its current state. A new coach would then turn over the roster again and set things back a few more years.

I agree with most of that. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have said most of that. I would debate “fading,” because if you look at any program outside of the elite ones — coached by truly elite coaches — there are going to be down cycles. Pitt has been in a down cycle. And no, I don’t know if Dixon would have been able to take Pitt back on an upswing (especially with most of the assistants on staff); but I sure would have more confidence in him doing it.

It’s a painful tumble in position from Stallings being a great hire and a guy Pitt fans will love for his style of play, to having no choice but to tolerate him. Zeise is now of the opinion that, “My opinion doesn’t matter, though, and neither does the opinion of the fans or others around the program. The only two opinions that really matter are those of Pitt chancellor Pat Gallagher and athletic director Heather Lyke.”

At least the plan is in place.

Not sure where you are coming from with this piece. I’d say there is too much loyalty to Jamie Dixon, which appears to be affecting the assessment of Stallings. Fading is actually an understatement, the program was headed RAPIDLY down hill (remember that number 1 seed years ago?). JD could not hire good assistants, and could not recruit for the ACC. How was that supposed to change? His coaching style was not conducive to winning in the ACC, and I can’t count the number of posts that ridiculed his on court demeanor. As for Stallings, he appears to be adopting a long term strategy that fits with his contract. If he played certain kids who couldn’t compete at this level, he would be delaying the possible return to a competitive situation. This way, in year five, he will have some JRs or Srs with 3 years experience who hopefully can win. Stallings was given a 6 year contract for a reason, the admin. knew the program must transition from the JD years to a new style of play over time.

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.10.17 @ 8:20 am

Great job of summing things up, best I have read in a long time.
Some thoughts. The previous AD could have brought in coaches to help Dixon recruit and avoided much of this mess. Second,Stallings has the unique ability to inspire distrust if not dislike. He seems to me like an insurance adjustor, who only cares about his own bottom line.I wish for Pitt to succeed and hence for Stallings to. I somehow hope he is a better person when the pressure is off. I hope there will be substance there like a Webster or a Noll, even a tiny hint of a Rooney. Yes I do believe in miracles.

Comment by AkDave 05.10.17 @ 8:24 am

VOR – I agree with your premise, the program was in the process of a prolonged decline under Coach Dixon, and there was NO turn-around in sight, exactly because of what you said: weak assistants (for the most part) and poor recruiting. Specifically, Dixon needed at least one strong recruiter on his staff to overcome his struggles in this area, and he never got that guy for whatever reason. That said, Dixon’s style of coaching absolutely would have worked in the ACC, and this has already been proven by the success of Bennett at Virginia. Dixon went away from his style of players (tough, physical, unselfish players) and this was his downfall. With regard to Dixon’s “on court demeanor”, this was never really a problem, it was only nit-picked by frustrated fans when the program was in decline; Dixon was a terrific representative of the university, and I say this as a fan who agrees that it was time for him to move on.

The Stallings hire was simply atrocious, there is simply no way to dispute this, the question that now remains is how to best salvage it. Time will tell, but I suspect he’ll prove to be a decent recruiter, however he’s dug himself such a deep hole that if he doesn’t exceed expectations fast, there’s going to be a revenue problem at The Pete, possibly as soon as next season.

Comment by 1618mt 05.10.17 @ 8:40 am

There is definitely going to b a revenue problem this season. I would not b surprised if fifty percent of season ticket holders don’t renew.

Comment by Steve 05.10.17 @ 8:44 am

I think we all have a pretty good handle on the problem. Most of the criticism of Stallings appears to be his handling of players and his well earned reputation of acting like a dolt. However, this appears to be a general characteristic of the coaching profession. Look at the top ACC programs: Petino is a snake, Boeheim is a devious cheater, Coach K acts like he is above it all and NC has cheated on the kids’ school work to keep them eligible. This is what Pitt must content with while staying clean and attempting to compete. It takes a certain type of SOB to take it all on.

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.10.17 @ 9:03 am

VOR – I am no dukie fan, that much is for sure, but I think criticizing Coach K’s behavior is also off the mark. Pitino is has proven, significant moral problems that include adultery & operating a program that involved stripper (& more) entertainment (had to be aware of it). And there’s more than enough evidence to show Boeheim is no better. But I would not lump Coach K in the same sentence with those guys. Fair is fair.

Comment by 1618mt 05.10.17 @ 9:12 am

Agreed, 1618mt. Coach K may be an irritating self righteous blowhard, but at least he has not been accused of cheating (doesn’t need to). ESPN kisses his butt, and no one gets more publicity.

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.10.17 @ 9:27 am

Right, its annoying the way he and his team are given special treatment, which is why a lot of people can’t stand them, but that’s not Coach K’s fault, that’s on ESPN.

Comment by 1618mt 05.10.17 @ 9:45 am

If KS would have got this past years team to the tournament fans would at least know he could coach. There has been no positives except for a few recruits like Marcus Carr.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.10.17 @ 10:11 am

Stallings “plan” code named “rise to middle of the pack” can only be effective IF started at the very bottom. He did everything he could to place Pitt at the bottom in year 1 but year 2 will firmly entrench the program at an all time low so that he can “LIFT” the program to an “also ran” status at which time the plan can be labeled a success story by Kevin Stallings…..

6 Years? PLEASE!

Only Kevin’s family and the visitors fans will be at the Pete should this train wreck make it to year 3.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 05.10.17 @ 10:14 am

I agree it feels like Stallings seems to be incomparable to either Patino, Boeheim, or Coach K. None of them have a CONSISTENT practice of publicly criticizing their players. All seem to care about their players deeply, despite whatever you can say about what they do as a coach overall. Even Patino…I used to be a camp counselor to some of his kids when I grew up in RI…he was very personable and yes I am sure he is a snake but just making the point of personability and caring for kids.

I never understood the whole criticism of JD’s on court behavior. Yes, I would MUCH prefer a calmer demeanor but gosh how many other College BBall coaches can you name that act in similar fashion? Probably 20% of top 50 programs have such a coach, it never bothered me in the least…so many, SO MANY other variables to being a great coach that matter more than that.

Anyway, JD is gone, we live with what we have now. And what we have now, well is a poor coach, a poor representative of the U, and a poor mentor of kids. 3 strikes and you should be out!

Comment by DD 05.10.17 @ 12:11 pm

Everyone “has a plan” until you get punched in the face. Stallings and Pitt has gotten punched, kicked, elbowed, pummeled in the face, Now they have to adjust. There was no way around this pain.

Comment by Td 05.10.17 @ 12:53 pm

I didn’t really focus that much on the hire of KS at the time; however, looking at it now, I can’t understand why Barnes thought this was the guy to take the program wherever Barnes thought it needed to go. Among the most visible things, 1) He isn’t that young (although that shouldn’t necessarily be a factor), 2) he wasn’t highly successful (i.e., no championships in a relatively weak league and no deep tourney runs) and 3) didn’t have the best demeanor/personality/presence. The only thing I can think of is that Barnes felt that KS was somehow hamstrung at Vandy due to academic stds and that he would thrive/blossom/be more successful at Pitt. Regardless, that is a huge reach on the part of Barnes and 6 years, even though typical, was too long for this guy.

Comment by Tomas 05.10.17 @ 12:56 pm

Chas got it right. The program was in a downhill cycle but replacing 4 seniors was one of the ways out of it. Who knows what Dixon would have done in recruiting. Dixon was also about to get a bump in assistant pay to go along with a better recruiting budget. Who knows what his staff would have looked like? Lot’s of unknowns.

Even the elite programs go thru these cycles. 2017 was going to be Pitt’s first rebuild of the 21st century … and it was needed. New kids and most likely new assistants and, most importantly, new money.

The program was not in a rapid decline. They had just rebounded from a non-tourney year to going to the tourney. If you want to say the program had leveled off, sure. That’s hardly a rapid decline though. Pitt was about to have an injection of fresh blood though.

Stallings inherited a team with 4 seniors that had just gone to the tourney and 7/8 of it’s top scorers. Stallings chose not to bring in a grad transfer PG to replace Robinson. Stallings chose to keep Dixon’s recruiting class together even though every one of them initially asked for their release before re-committing. Stallings was hired in March and could have made a run at grad transfers or transfers or JUCO’s to fill out the roster. Stallings had a lot of control of what last year’s roster looked like. To place blame elsewhere makes me laugh every time.

No one will argue that Dixon needed a change of scenery. I will argue, however, that you don’t replace a very good coach who needs a change of scenery with a significantly less good coach who needs a change of scenery. Stallings was about as bad a hire as a program could make.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.10.17 @ 1:59 pm

Why are “voice of reason’s” comments so unreasonable? Stallings was given a 6 year contract because that is the new industry standard. The fact that he was hired at all was an atrocious decision shared by Barnes and the Pitt administration alike. He behaves boorishly as evidenced by both his public actions and public comments. As such he is a poor representative for our university. The “plan” he has will result, in his best years, in resounding mediocrity. The administration needs to have the necessary vision to remove Stallings before he does further damage and replace him with somebody with the potential to do great things.

Comment by Will 05.10.17 @ 2:04 pm

Tossing – I described the program under Dixon as “in prolonged decline”, so you’re right, it was time for both Pitt & JD to move on, but we apparently did so, inexplicably, without a good plan in place, because we hired the wrong AD and entrusted the process to him. I suspect the only way out is going to be financially based: empty seats lead to way less ticket revenue, resulting in a financial decision to replace him. Otherwise they will not be able to justify the buyout. I believe alumni pressure could do the job too, but I just don’t see that happening here…

Comment by 1618mt 05.10.17 @ 2:34 pm

I just don’t see money as being a major factor in any decision to be made here. Pitt can get the money for a buyout if the new AD goes back to the normal sources and maybe even get a boost in recruiting money. I think they are resigned to the fact that giving Stallings several years to turn things around while they focus on football is the way to go. Changing horses now would lose another recruiting class and set the program back even further. The 6 year contract was intended to give the new coach (I use that term lightly!) some time to turn things around. They had to recognize that JD left the cupboard bare. The “prolonged decline” that 1618mt describes is a result of significant performance issues, not one or two bad recruiting classes..

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.10.17 @ 4:51 pm

Stallings has 2 seasons to turn it around , if not he is gone, therefore he better recruit talent that can play immediately and be competitive.

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 05.10.17 @ 5:16 pm

VOR – Nice to meet you Mrs. Stallings. Tell your disaster coach of a husband he making more than $11 at Shoe Barn is a disgrace. He is a smug f8ck.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.10.17 @ 6:39 pm

Will +1

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.10.17 @ 6:40 pm

When someone disagrees with you Upittbaseball, your post usually turns ugly. I guess you just don’t realize what a clown you are. Other than name calling, I never see a coherent thought coming from you. Must have been a tough childhood.. I agree with WLAT that there better be some serious progress in the next two years with some real talent on the bench or Stallings will be gone. But he will get the two years…

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.10.17 @ 7:40 pm

Good comments. If I was named Heather, I would be looking for a replacement now. I agree with Will and UPitt on this one. Why give someone 2 years when 2 years will cost Pitt MILLIONS???

Comment by TX Panther 05.10.17 @ 7:58 pm

Your ‘Voice’ is not one of ‘Reason’

Comment by TX Panther 05.10.17 @ 7:59 pm

Pitt gets QB recruit Nick Patti, from NJ.

Comment by alcofan 05.10.17 @ 9:27 pm

Pitt gets QB recruit Nick Patti, from NJ.

Comment by alcofan 05.10.17 @ 9:27 pm

Isn’t there an easy way out of this? How about the first time he’s caught verbally abusing a player again, Pitt claims conduct unbecoming and that’s a breach of contract. That is assuming Pitt wants out, btw.

Comment by panther94 05.10.17 @ 9:44 pm

Oh, what do you know? Pens win in SEVEN!

Comment by PittofDreams 05.10.17 @ 10:04 pm

By the way, hear Ben DiNucci focused on ULTIMATELY being Pitt’s Starting Quarterback.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.10.17 @ 10:08 pm

Voice, easy fellow! This all for fun. Leave Upitt alone. He has a good heart and is a PITT man true blue/gold. Though I am convinced he has cost us at least two coaches in two sports and yrs. of misery! Upitt writes and they leave.

TX Panther, what do you think Stallings is costing PITT a yr? $2MM to $3MM; times 5 yrs. left on contract? I can’t afford that kind of loss on a $20MM income per yr. from the ACC. Remember even if the Pete is empty we still get TV money. And they will put us on prime-time CBS as the sacrificial lamb against a Duke or UNC or whoever.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 05.10.17 @ 10:14 pm

As most of us I dont see Stallings making it here. But as most of us with logic I also know it will be 2 years before he is fired. Unless of course beyond losing next year( which there will be plenty of) there are off the court issues as well. Then, depending on what said issues were, I can maybe see him being let go after next season.

Honestly if you truly care about Pitt hoops and look at the big picture, you should want him here for 3 years. I mean best case is he shocks the shit out of us and becomes successful. Ok, back to reality…

What I’m hoping for is that this class surprises us and is competitive and shows some promise for the future. If that happens hopefully Stallings and his staff can put together an even better class next year. If that happens you have some legitimate ACC caliber talent on your roster. Then you look at where the program is after year 3. Everything. Wins and loose, attendance, Stallings relationship and perception with team,boosters, fans etc…

From there a decision is made on whether you move forward with him as your coach or you make a change. Either way the hope is that there is some actual real ACC caliber young talent on the roster. So whether it is Stallings continuing what he built, or the more likely scenario of replacing him, there is something to build on and the program isn’t set back any further than it is…

Hail to Pitt!!!!

Comment by Pap76 05.10.17 @ 10:17 pm

Pap76 hope you are right

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 05.10.17 @ 10:35 pm

In 25 years of coaching he hasn’t ever surprised anyone. So at 60 he is going to start?

I’ve been calling his lazy ass names since he was hired.

Tell Kevin good night Mrs. Stallings.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.10.17 @ 10:53 pm

Old Pitt Grad a prognosticator I certainly am not. Too me that is a 2 option best case scenario for this program. Without either of those 2 I fear even more years can be lost.

Ask a BC fan. Troy Bell era was a lifetime ago. Years of not a decade or more can be lost with bad hires/subpar recruiting…

Comment by Pap76 05.10.17 @ 10:56 pm

Upitt I get it. I don’t expect it either. But the guy has shown an ability to recognize and recruit offensive talent. So when he is more than likely fired in 3 years we better pray to God he leaves the next guy more talent than Jamie left him and Heather makes a better hire than that pompous windbag Barnes did.

Otherwise me and you will be in our 50’s before Pitt is competitive again.

Speaking of did you hit the big 4-0 yet? I know I’m a bit older. I hit 40 in September. Ugghh

Comment by Pap76 05.10.17 @ 11:02 pm

40 in Feb of 2017. Haha. Falling apart Pap.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.11.17 @ 6:34 am

I thought that Stallings was a bad hire from the beginning. As I review his recruits, Carr is for real and Thompson would have been. The rest are all basically 2 stars, but they are the type who can be developed into pretty decent players. While I have no confidence in Stallings, he or his staff have an opportunity here. Not to win year one but even as soon as year two with some higher level recruits. Two of them have look of a Cameron Johnson. If we do not see some development in a year, the party is over.

Comment by AkDave 05.11.17 @ 6:59 am

Not doing Pitt BB any good by running down Stallings. JD did well in the BE, not so much in the ACC. Stallings was mediocre in the SEC, so far he has been less than stellar in the ACC. Stalling’s offensive schemes appear to align better than JD’s did for the ACC, on paper at least. Let’s hope Stallings can recruit players that will be competitive in ACC play.

Comment by Grizzly1 05.11.17 @ 7:06 am

Chas, please. please, please find a way to get that stomach turning Ped State ad off your site, please!!!

Comment by Grizzly1 05.11.17 @ 7:08 am

VOR – A performance issue? What does that mean? It wasn’t 1 or 2 poor years of recruiting, it was MANY years of poor recruiting. Jamie is a very good coach, given the players he knows how to make the most out of them (so long as they’re his type of players). He didn’t forget how to coach all of a sudden.

And I really don’t want to disparage KS, but the man has a several decade track record of being average, just trying to be realistic. If he turns it around at his age, God bless him, but I’m just not optimistic.

But hey, today is all about the Pens, and if you are someone who has missed this boat, you’re missing out big time. My son got me to start following them last year, mid season (good timing, eh?), and it’s fantastic. They are and have been the best run organization in the Steel City for years, and they play with passion- what a blast!

Comment by 1618mt 05.11.17 @ 7:47 am

It is difficult to imagine any good outcome would result if Stallings were to be fired right now. There are too many ifs, such as IF we get a good young coach, and IF the recruiting class would hold together. We could have a disaster on our hands for many years as Pap76 notes about BC. It is best to give him the two years to restock, and then if the program isn’t on an upswing he should get the ax. Only the best choice of some bad options. Pap76 is taking the right approach. And based on your recommendation, Old Pitt Grad, I’ll cut Upitt some slack..

Comment by VoiceofReason 05.11.17 @ 7:56 am

Upitt is under 40. Damn. Good heavens I cant imagine how crotchety you will be at 60!! 🙂

No one is firing Stallings in May. Who fires the BBall coach in May? Now March is another matter. Unfortunately we need to wait 10 months.

Anyone take logic classes? I did (at Pitt of course!). It is quite simple:

Q: Do you want Pitt to be a team that regularly is in the top 25? Yes.
Therefore: We need to unfortunately find a new basketball coach in March.

Simple logic.

Comment by DD 05.11.17 @ 12:57 pm

Again, have a short list of coaches you can approach with offers. Make those offers in Feb/March. Hire a new coach by April. Pitt will be lucky to win 10 games this coming season. Even if they win 50% more the following, its only 15 wins and no NIT even. Half empty Pete = over $3M in lost revenue, etc. each year Incalculable damage to the brand.

Comment by TX Panther 05.11.17 @ 5:12 pm

I’ll buy damage to the brand and just when people start taking PITT BB seriously.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 05.12.17 @ 12:49 am

Let’s just hope Lyke has chutzpah

Comment by steve1 05.13.17 @ 8:35 am

KS has a plan for Pitt to become the laughing stock of the ACC

Comment by TX Panther 05.14.17 @ 12:05 pm

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