With the amount of success Pittsburgh’s pro teams have experienced in recent years, there aren’t any coaches on the hot seat in the Steel City. However, that doesn’t necessarily remain true at the collegiate level in Pittsburgh.
Panthers men’s basketball went through a rocky first season under new head coach Kevin Stallings. The Panthers suffered their first losing season since 2000 and missed the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in the last 16 years.
But in a radio appearance on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, the coach confirmed he wants to be with the Panthers and is determined to turn the program into a winner again.
Pitt BB coach Kevin Stallings to HL via @937theFan : "No one would go through what I went through if they didn't want to be here."
— Jerry DiPaola (@JDiPaola_Trib) July 3, 2017
It’s a bit of an odd answer, but it was an answer to a bit of an odd question. Stallings said in his interview that new Panthers athletic director Heather Lyke asked him whether he really wanted to be in Pittsburgh. He responded with the above statement.
Stallings is now working under an athletic director who didn’t hire him, which can be an unsettling matter. Former Pittsburgh athletic director Scott Barnes hired Stallings about 15 months ago, but Barnes left to take the same position at Oregon State last December.
While the Panthers men’s basketball coach isn’t necessarily on the hot seat, Lyke isn’t likely to extend Stallings a third season because of loyalty alone. And to the fan base’s chagrin, former Panthers coach Jamie Dixon led his new team, TCU, to its best record in more than a decade and a half and an NIT championship.
Although it was Dixon’s decision to leave, his departure was mutual in the sense that at least a small fraction of the Pittsburgh fan base was ready to move on. But Stallings’ first season has left the Panthers fans wondering whether the program is really in a better place than it was a two or three years ago.
Stallings will have to prove that it is to both the fans and his new boss.
For the entire 93.7 The Fan radio interview with Stallings, click here.