Did Pitt Make the Right Move on Kevin Stallings?


(h/t to @USAToday for the photo)

Let’s get right to it.  This week, @TalkinACCSports blogged about the two open men’s basketball coach jobs at  Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) member institutions, including Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.  Now there is one less.  Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt men’s basketball coach, is going to be the next men’s basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh.  Stallings has been the Vanderbilt men’s basketball coach since 2000-2001.  Let’s talk about Kevin Stalling’s record at Vanderbilt (stats below were compiled from Vanderbilt’s basketball schedules from 2000 to the present:

  • In 2000-2001, Vanderbilt ended up with a 15-15 record (SEC: 4-12);

  • In 2001-2002, Vanderbilt improved slightly  to 17-15 (SEC: 6-10).  Vanderbilt received an NIT bid;

  • In 2002-2013, Vanderbilt ended up at 11-18 and 3-13 in SEC play. Woof;

  • In 2003-2004, Stallings led the Commodores to a 23-10 record (SEC: 8-8) and the Sweet Sixteen;

  • In 2004-2005, the Commodores narrowly missed the NCAA tournament, finishing 20-14 (SEC: 8-8) – and made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT tournament;

  • In 2005-2006, Vanderbilt finished 17-13 (SEC: 7-9) and lost to Notre Dame 79-69 in the first round of the NIT;

  • In 2006-2007, Vanderbilt had a 22-12 record (SEC: 10-6) and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.  FWIW, he did get the SEC coach of the year;

  • In 2007-08, Vanderbilt won its first 16 games of the season and finished with a 26-8 record (10-6 SEC).  Vanderbilt received a four seed in the NCAA tournament – and got spanked by 13th seeded Siena in the first round;

  • In 2008-2009, Vanderbilt went 19-12 (SEC 8-8) and didn’t receive a bid to the NCAA or the NIT tournaments;

  • In 2009-2010, Vanderbilt went 24-9 (SEC 12-4) and lost in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament as 4 seed to 13th seeded Murray State;

  • In 2010-2011, Vanderbilt went 23-11 (SEC 9-7) and list in 1st round of the NCAA tournament as a 5 seed to 12th seeded Richmond;

  • In 2011-2012, Vanderbilt went 25-11 (SEC 10-6), had a first day tournament win in the NCAA tournament as a five seed vs. 12th seed Harvard – but then lost in the next round to 4th seeded Wisconsin;

  • In 2012-2013, Vanderbilt missed the postseason with a 16-17 record (SEC 8-10);

  • In 2013-2014, Vanderbilt missed the postseason with a 15-16 record (SEC 7-11);

  • In 2014-2015, Vanderbilt had a record of 21-14 (SEC 9-9) and ended the year in the quarterfinals of the NIT; and

  • In 2015-2016, Vanderbilt went 19-14 (SEC 11-7) – and lost in the First Four round of the NCAA tournament (I argue that Vanderbilt did not deserve a chance to even play itself into the NCAA tournament)

Stallings SEC record isn’t even .500 – and that’s hard to do as the SEC is an awful basketball conference.  The SEC is, in fact, the worst Power 5 basketball conference.

As such, Pitt might have trouble competing against the elite ACC coaching tree that exists now (especially one that will made up half of the Elite 8 – and will have two of the four Final Four teams h/t @TalkinACCSports).  Stallings isn’t on the same level as Roy Williams, Buzz Williams, Tony Bennett, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Mike Brey, Jim Boeheim, Jim Larranaga, etc.  But don’t take my word for it – check the hashtags #Hail2Pitt #H2P #HailToPitt or #Pitt – these Pitt fans are blowing up Twitter (I’ve seen some of the most creative GIFs in a long time).

What I’m surprised that is that Pitt didn’t even look at the coaching talent in it’s backyard – or as part of its alumni base. Or some of the upcoming mid-major coaches.  Why didn’t Pitt consider Kevin Willard, Pitt alumnus, and current Seton Hall Men’s basketball coach?  How about these two lists from SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill (h/t @PittPantherBlog)?

In short, we’re talking about someone here in Stallings who is slightly less accomplished (My buddy @TalkinACCSports said that this was a lateral hire at best) than prior Pitt men’s basketball coach, Jamie Dixon (Dixon made 11 NCAA tournaments in 13 years – and Pitt had only been to 15 total prior to his arrival).  To make matters worse, Pitt hired a guy who intentionally screwed over one of the Panthers best players (h/t @SBNation).  This is not good.  I can’t imagine that Sheldon Jeter is really thrilled about playing for Stallings.

I’m not impressed with this hire – and many Pitt fans think it might actually be a downgrade.

Your thoughts?

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1 comment

  1. James says:

    I hold a soft spot in my heart for Pitt. I grew up 49 miles and Pitt was first college basketball game and college football games! To see that it took a giant step back is disconcerting at best and a move that could set that program back a decade at worst. Before Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon Pitt was a disaster to be kind. Those 2 built what Pitt has become. They were able to build a program that built an on-campus Ariana. They were the ones who paved the way for Pitt to join the ACC. For Steven Barnes to risk having the basketball program to become a bottom dweller. According to everything I’ve read, Stallings is a guy who can recruit, which lets be fair, was the biggest hole in the Dixon resume. Stallings comes into a situation where Pitt isn’t the only game in town. Pitt is in a fight for eyes in their town. Pitt will always be a distant 4th in terms of interest. In a town where the Steelers rule, the Penguins are perennially a playoff team and the Pirates being relevant again. And while they were relevant and you’d see local Pittsburgh celebrities at the Peterson Events Center during those Big East basketball games and the Oakland Zoo was full and raucous. But over the past 5 years you’ve sensed the program slipping a little. I guess this is the reason Pitt didn’t really give up a fight, and according to the AD were willing to lower Dixon’s buyout. This is a gamble that could be a boom or bust! If it is a bust, don’t be surprised to see Barnes go the same way of…. Steve Pederson! If you don’t get that reference say that name to a Pitt fan… Then you will understand

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