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April 14, 2016

In case you missed it, Donald Trump endorsed necromancy, Lynn Swann is the AD of USC, and Tubby Smith is going to Memphis after Pastner went to GT. All boggle the mind in different ways.

In the realm of sanity, the coaching staff for Kevin Stallings looks pretty damn good with the final hire.

University of Pittsburgh head coach Kevin Stallings announced the addition of Kevin Sutton to his staff Wednesday afternoon. Sutton joins Tom Richardson and Jeremy Ballard as an assistant coach for the Panthers after spending the previous three seasons at Georgetown.

“I got to know Kevin in 2007-08 when we were recruiting one of his players out of Montverde Academy,” said Stallings. “He has a wealth of experience and is an excellent teacher and mentor. Kevin is well connected in the recruiting world particularly at the prep school level and within the ACC footprint. When you ask people in the profession about Kevin the feedback is extremely positive and flattering. I am very excited to have him on our staff.”

Sutton, a coaching veteran with 27 years of experience, joined the Georgetown staff in 2013. He helped the Hoyas to a 55-44 record with a pair of postseason appearances. In his second year with the program, Sutton saw the Hoyas go 22-11 overall and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Sutton arrived at Georgetown following two seasons as an assistant coach under Mike Lonergan at George Washington. He also had a pair of two-year stints as an assistant coach at both James Madison and Old Dominion.

In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Sutton coached at five nationally-ranked high school programs – Flint Hill Prep, Harker Prep, St. John’s Prospect Hall, Montrose Christian and Montverde Academy – amassing a 489-102 record and winning two national championships. In 1998, he was the associate head coach on the USA Today Super 25 National Championship team and in 2007, he was the head coach of the Montverde Academy Hoops.com National Championship team. He also coached Montrose Christian and Montverde to second place finishes in national championship tournaments.

Sutton has also been selected as a coach for USA Basketball on three different occasions.

Given where he was an assistant and the prep schools he coached, Sutton will be a strong presence for Pitt in the Baltimore-DC area.

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April 6, 2016

Some movement on Kevin Stallings coaching staff. The only sure things were that Stallings was bringing his longtime assistant Tom Richardson with him. And that none of the old Pitt assistants would be on the staff. There is now some debate on the nature of what Brandin Knight was offered to be an assistant.

Stallings said discussions with longtime Panthers assistant and former player Brandin Knight included a “sizeable pay raise” and touched on changing his title to associate head coach, but Knight declined to pursue other options.

Prior to Stallings statement, it was assumed that Richardson was going to be associate head coach (top assistant) as he was at Vandy.

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[Editor note: I drafted this before I even knew Reed was writing his own thing on Barnes. So, this isn’t a counterpoint. Just my own thoughts.]

One of the nice things about traveling is that it does give you time to think. Between the driving, the flights and motion there has been a bit of time for that. Can’t break out the laptop and there are only so many times you can bust out a pithy 140 character tweet that neatly encapsulates the rambling thoughts bouncing around the head. It gave me a rare chance to step back and actually think before blathering.

That has led me to think more and more about the hiring of Kevin Stallings. I’m not going to waste my energies venting about Stallings. I want him to prove that it really was Vandy, not him, that was the reasons for the underachieving.

That he is reinvigorated by the move and that it is going to turn out a lot better than it seems. Retaining the recruiting class and the fact that all seems calm with the returning players is encouraging. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’d rather have a little hope for a while longer.

I think that what most of us are bothered by is not hiring Stallings, but why hire Stallings.

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March 28, 2016

This Really Happened

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Hire/Fire,Stallings — Chas @ 10:44 am

Very grateful that my father and brother-in-law keep stocked bars with some truly excellent bourbons and scotch. Though, I’m pretty sure I’d be drinking any rotgut when Saturday night went to hell.

I don’t know what to say. I was keeping my expectations low, simply because looking at the landscape of college basketball and the coaches out there. I just didn’t see any homerun hires. Solid ones? Sure. Medium risk, high reward? Even that. But this? Never saw it coming.

As usual Pitt kept a tight lid on things until the very end. And oh, what an end.

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March 24, 2016

Coach Search 2016, Continues

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:48 pm

Programming note. I am traveling early tomorrow. Heading to Texas. Coincidence. I swear.

Not the Metroplex, but Houston to see family and take a bit of a vacation for a week. If you want to impute the selfish reason of not wanting Dixon to leave because I wanted a bit of peace on the vacation. Well, you probably are not completely wrong.

Now, I have to remain somewhat plugged in, and will post a little.

Okay, onto more stuff about potential candidates.

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March 23, 2016

Coach Search 2016

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:30 am

So, so weird that this isn’t football related.

Have we got the Miller boys out of our system yet, or is this going to be an ongoing thing?

I don’t know that there is much to say after yesterday’s 15 minute flurry. Neither Sean or Archie were ever going to be interested. Sean is at a basketball school, in a major conference, with tons of resources, easier access to talent, makes big money, etc. Yes, he’s a Pitt alum and local, but he wasn’t coming back.

Archie is waiting for his spot. He had offers/interest from Alabama and others and passed last year. I don’t even know for certain that he would go back to his alma mater of NC State when they get tired of Mark Gottfried (related note, good luck to Cat Barber in the NBA Draft and good riddance).

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March 22, 2016

Over the last five years there have been 45 coaching changes at the power conferences, Big East and a handful of other programs that have a high profile/top-25 team (New Mexico, VCU, UNLV).

I thought it might be useful to take a look at how the vacancies were filled.

2011 – 10 changes: 4 Power Moves; 3 Mid-Majors; 2 Assistant Coaches; 1 Ex-Coach/TV analyst

2012 – 8 changes: 3 Power Moves; 4 Mid-Majors; 1 Assistant Coach

2013 – 6 changes: 2 Power Moves; 1 Mid-Majors; 3 Assistant Coaches

2014 – 10 changes: 2 Power Moves; 3 Mid-Majors; 3 Assistant Coaches; 2 Ex-Coaches/TV Analysts

2015 – 11 changes: 2 Power Moves; 4 Mid-Majors; 2 Assistant Coaches; 2 Ex-Coaches/TV Analsyts; 1 NBA Front Office/Alum

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March 21, 2016

Here’s a simple reality. It is very likely that Pitt basketball is going to slip a little further in the short term before it improves.

Complain about the disappointments of this season, but there aren’t that many examples of programs that lost their head coach after being in the NCAA Tournament — and improving immediately. Let alone tread water. In the last five years, the only examples that spring to mind are just this past year: Shaka Smart to Texas, Iowa State under Steve Prohm and Will Wade at VCU. And again, all three didn’t do dramatically better. They stayed constant.

There are just so many changes. From style of play, lost recruiting class, transfers, graduations.

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Jamie Dixon Heads To TCU

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 6:01 pm

Well, now basketball gets on the coaching carousel.

I am saddened. I know plenty of you are celebrating. Fine.

It probably was the smart move for Jamie Dixon and Pitt. This wasn’t a case where the AD wanted him gone like Jeff Long to Walt Harris. At the same time, the school was not exactly stopping him.

The stuff I referenced earlier today about Buzz Williams has been turning over in my mind. I have to believe Dixon spoke with Ben Howland and was reminded of how that ended.

I liked Jamie Dixon as a coach and as a representative of the University of Pittsburgh. I don’t think things were as gone as some suggest.

I’m not pretending things were great, but some of the revisionism and denigration of Dixon to rationalize why he should go was beyond stupid.

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January 8, 2016

Annexing Canada

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:51 pm

I had no choice. I tried to type something simple, like, “Matt Canada Hired as New OC.” But it went through the Mandatory Wordplay Headline Generator  and came out as “Pitt Fans Prepping to Blame Canada.” Another simple explanatory headline on his joining the coaching staff came out as, “Canada Invades Pitt.” So, embrace the bad wordplay and all it entails.

Almost as soon as the surprising announcement of Matt Canada being fired from NC State less than a week ago, the possibility of Canada becoming Pitt’s OC made a lot of sense. There was some prior history between Canada and Head Coach Pat Narduzzi on the Northern Illinois University staff for a couple of years. Canada has a solid rep as an OC, and his offensive style meshes with what Narduzzi wants. Add in the fact that Canada was not just a power 5 OC, but one within the ACC.

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June 25, 2015

I knew Pitt had a lot of players getting some off-season surgery, but I didn’t know it was this many.

[Pitt Coach Jamie] Dixon, who has three players out with surgeries and at least five others recovering from previous surgeries or nagging injuries, said the changes to NCAA rules also played a part in the decision.

“The rules have changed to where you could only have two players from one college team on each of the summer league teams,” Dixon said. “That sort of made it difficult with only so many Division I players available to have the kind of competitive league you are looking for.

“Hopefully, it is something we can revisit for next year, but, for this year, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be able to work out.”

Josh Newkirk earlier followed by James Robinson and incoming transfer, Sterling Smith, recently had off-season surgies.

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April 23, 2015

New AD Today?

Filed under: Athletic Department,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:47 am

Yesterday was the ACC football coaches teleconference. Coach Pat Narduzzi was asked about the possibility of the Backyard Brawl returning. This was based on comments made by WVU’s new AD speaking on the topic.

Narduzzi gave the standard type of answer. Respecting the history. Speaking positively of such a game

“Obviously, you love to have those rivalries, and West Virginia is a great team in a great conference,” Narduzzi said. “We want to play the best. So we’re always going to schedule some of the best opponents we can and really embrace future and past rivalries.”

…but making no commitment.

“That’s something the new AD will have to answer,” Narduzzi said Wednesday. “We will have those conversations when he gets here and with chancellor (Patrick) Gallagher, as well.

I don’t know if its related, but there have been lots of tweets and rumors that Pitt will be announcing the new AD today. Not sure one way or another, but since we are nearing the start of the dead time, why not?

Open thread on the AD stuff. Hopefully there will be real news.

And if not, there is the topic of the Backyard Brawl and the non-con. On the matter, I can’t help but think that it would be nice to have some sort of round-robin in the non-con. A way to rotate partners for the schedule. Say, Syracuse and Pitt from the ACC with PSU and  WVU. Rotate home-and-homes with each. As much as I prefer the idea of annually battling the Nits, I like the Brawl. It’s good to have hate.

February 11, 2015

Say this for Chancellor Gallagher. He knows football still drives everything. Pitt announced its search committee for a new Athletic Director. There are 14 members and a search firm to boot.

Members of the search committee are:

Randy Juhl: Search Committee Chairperson; Vice Chancellor; Acting Athletic Director; Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacy

Dave DeJong:   Vice Provost, Academic Planning and Resources Management; Senate Athletics Committee; Chair, Student Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee; Professor of Economics

Al Novak: Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Jay Irrgang: Co-Chair, Senate Athletics Committee; Professor of Orthopedic Surgery

Susan Albrecht: Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR); Student-Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee member; Associate Professor of Nursing

Wendy Meyers: Executive Associate Athletic Director and Athletics Chief Financial Officer

Justin Acierno: Assistant Athletic Director, Ticket Sales and Operations; former Pitt football student-athlete

Jen Tuscano: Assistant Director of Academic Support Services, Academic Counselor

Artie Rowell: President, Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); Pitt football student-athlete

Lindsay Offutt: Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Officer; Pitt gymnastics student-athlete

Alonzo Webb: Pitt Track and Field/Cross Country Head Coach

Suzie McConnell-Serio: Pitt Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Bryant Salter:   Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

James Covert:  Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

There are three former and one present member of the football team.

The search firm that will help the committee is DHR International. Specifically, Glenn Sugiyama, Global Head of Sports, and Pat Richter, Executive Vice President, Education and Sports Practice.

Artie Rowell is just building one hell of a resume even before he leaves Pitt.

Neither Jamie Dixon or Pat Narduzzi are on the search committee. I’m sure they will have input and their opinions will be solicited, but not direct influence on the search.

Reports are that Pitt has had as slew of applicants with the majority being sitting ADs.

I really don’t expect them to have a new AD in place until at least June.

January 14, 2015

Before the trying to pretend he didn’t know anything about his players exchanging gear for tattoos and other services, Jim Tressel was consistently getting outstanding recruiting classes to Columbus. His recruiting coordinator for much of that time was John Peterson.

A former Ohio State offensive lineman. He had been climbing the coaching ranks as a OL Coach. First at Akron (1995-98), then at Miami (Ohio) under Terry Hoeppner until 2003. Then he was  hired to be the O-line coach at Arizona. That changed quickly when his alma mater came calling in the spring. Tressel hired him to be the recruiting coordinator and TE Coach at OSU.

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January 12, 2015

Strong Move on OC

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:07 am

I’ll be throwing up an open thread for the college football playoff championship game tonight. If for no other reason, everyone can wax rhapsodic over the analysis, insight and way Pat Narduzzi sells Pitt in the ESPN Film Room on ESPN2.

In the mean time, I guess we can pour over the news of Pitt’s new offensive coordinator. His name is Jim Chaney and he has been the Arkansas OC for the past two years.

Chaney spent the past two years with the Razorbacks, calling plays in their pro-style offense. This year, Arkansas ranked 26th in Division I-A with 218 rushing yards per game. He had two running backs surpass 1,000 yards in Jonathan Williams (1,190 yards) and Alex Collins (1,100 yards).

By the end of the season, Arkansas’ offense put up more than 30 points on top-30 defenses Texas and Mississippi. The Razorbacks scored 30 on the Rebels, who ended the season with Division I-A’s best scoring defense.

Arkansas finished the season 42nd in scoring offense, averaging 31.9 points per game.

Narduzzi said Saturday he prefers an offensive coordinator with play-calling experience, and Chaney fills that requirement. The move should also ensure a relatively smooth transition, as Chaney’s offense appears to be relatively similar to the one the Panthers ran under former coach Paul Chryst.

There were reportedly issues by the end of the year with Arkansas Head Coach Brett Bielema and Chaney. Chaney wanted a more balanced offensive attack, while Bielema wants to just run the football. So, from that standpoint the move for Chaney makes sense as HCPN has stated he does not want to meddle with the OC and play calling.

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