Is Kevin Stallings gesturing to all the coaches that turned down Pitt before him?
Photo via FoxSports
I normally have a hard and simple rule for myself about comment sections – stop scrolling when the article ends. Just don’t do it. With Kevin Stallings surprising the world, removing his derriere from one of the hottest seats in the country and signing on as the University of Pittsburgh’s newest head men’s basketball coach, I simply couldn’t help myself. It’s not that I’m a Duquesne guy looking to savor the misery of Pitt fans, at least not entirely. It was more my desire to watch their expectations come crashing down to Earth. In truth, I kind of like the signing, but that’s because I didn’t actually think Pitt would find someone on the level of Jamie Dixon. For me Dixon is a top 30 college basketball coach, while the position he’s vacating is a not a top 30 job. The program’s shot at upward mobility was pretty limited.
Enough about my perspective without the perspective of others. I scanned the Post – Gazette comments section about the signing. I’ll include quotes here in their full context, but since the poster didn’t share their identity and thoughts on this site directly, I won’t share their full name here. If you’re hell bent on finding out who said it, feel free to click the above link and dig.
I hope the PG does a story on all the total outrage of the fans over this hire.
Is TPOP good enough for you?
This is an absolute joke. Vision for the final 4? Does he even make the tournament in his career? All the good assistants or young coaches out there and we hire this retread? I’m beyond irritated.
I don’t think it’s as big of a joke as the same people calling for Dixon’s head thinking Sean Miller is going to take the job. I’ll put Tom’s concerns to rest. I do believe Stallings will make the tournament and I’ll go one step further, I think he’ll make the tournament next season. The young coaches didn’t seem to want the job. Archie Miller, Bryce Drew and Andy Enfield (who has a young wife so I guess he also counts as young) weren’t interested or the comments in the article about Pitt’s new coach would be considerably more boring.
Tom does raise an excellent point though. Hiring an elite assistant may have given Pitt a chance to improve on Dixon, while it’s questionable that any of the realistic current coaches would have, including Archie Miller. However, they could have blown up completely, too. Stallings isn’t exciting but he’s safe. He’s had success in one of the tougher power five jobs (more on that later), and there is absolutely no reason he can’t do that in Oakland. However, he’s unlikely to be the guy to reach the Final Four like Pitt fans crave.
Don’t see this hiring getting the Pitt faithful too excited. Seems that we’re replacing a coach with a solid, but underachieving coach as measured by NCAA tournament performance, for a new coach with a solid record and a repeated failure in making the tournament.
Don’t understand the recruiting kudoos, but see little in his past to warrant this comment.
Unless Gerald is so narcissistic that he posted his opinion without reading anyone else’s comment, he already knew that the faithful weren’t excited by the time he typed that opening line. Stallings may be underachieving, but he has a reasonable excuse that revolves around why he’s also given recruiting kudos.
Vanderbilt’s a great school. One of the best in the in the south. Unfortunately, for any of their coaches, it also has academic standards for its prospective athletes. Standards are particularly troubling when you compete in a conference where your competitors general attitude about class is “f— reading.” The admissions office hasn’t crushed all of Vandy’s programs. Kudos to Tim Corbin who has turned the baseball version of the Commodores into a national power and they’re currently ranked number 4 in the country in the USA Today Coaches Poll. However, not everyone’s been so lucky. In general, Vandy competing with the good old boys of the SEC is akin to the Tri-Lambs winning the Greek Games over the Alpha Betas. Modest success in Nashville can lead to bigger jobs. James Franklin landed one of the biggest football jobs in the country at Penn State after managing just three fourth place finishes in their division.
Stallings might be an underachiever, but he might also be shackled by the school that until Easter Sunday employed him. We might soon find out that with a little more flexibility, he could exceed Pitt fans’ current expectations.
You guys who are moaning so much: when a local guy (Archie Miller) in a relatively small A-10 school (Dayton) has no interest in the Pitt job, what makes you think that Pitt could do any better than Stallings? It’s not a plum job. You guys act like you’ll settle for nothing less than Coach K.
I’ll wear my A-10 fanboy hat for a minute here. Dayton is not a small job by any stretch of the imagination. The Atlantic 10 is not a small conference, even if it doesn’t sponsor football. I’m looking forward to Pittsburgh becoming a little more acquainted with the league next year when the league tournament comes to town.
Not any of the coaches on any body’s prospective list wanted to interview for this job. They had a wonderful coach, and the media and administration ran him out. Pitt screwed up big time. This job is not as good as the administration and media think it is. Dixon did not want Pitt in the ACC, because of recruiting, was under appreciated and left for his alma mater, now good luck trying to achieve what Jamie has achieved.
I generally agree with Gus. If Dixon were run out of town, or at the very least not attempted to be retained, Pitt messed up. That said, I have no idea how Dixon felt about the ACC or his program being in it. I’d assume he didn’t have a bit of say in the matter. It wasn’t the best fit for his defense-first style, but Dixon did seem to adjust his recruiting to find players who fit the league. He would have done fine in the long run.
It’s hard to love the Kevin Stallings pick for Pitt coach, but it’s hard for me to see it as a disaster either. They’ve got a proven guy from a tough conference who came from a tough situation. The ceiling’s not high but he has a strong chance to sustain success. People can step off the ledge if they think he’s a program killer. What this is for the average Pitt fan is a humbling experience. While they’re still in an excellent position, their status in the basketball world may not be what they thought it was.