Following Pitt’s 67-64 ACC Tournament season ending loss to Notre Dame, the Kevin Stallings Watch is officially on.
Will he return for a third season or will the Pitt administration decide to make a change and go in a new direction.
Following the game that he worked on ESPN, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke to Dan Dakich in order to get his opinion on the situation and does it make sense to bring him back.
Q: What is your take on the situation with Pitt and Kevin Stallings?
Dakich: “Look, they put themselves in a situation to get fired by going 0-18 in the ACC, hell Kevin knows that. You’re not telling Kevin anything he doesn’t know. But, the way I see it is, Kevin hasn’t forgotten how to coach. He knows how to coach in tough situations, Vanderbilt isn’t the easiest place to coach. I watched that team today and I’ll be honest with you, I expected a team that would give up, I expected that if this team got down which they did, would end up losing by 30. But what I saw was a team that played hard, I saw a team that hustled, I saw a team that worked, I saw a team that, look I don’t pretend to do one game and pretend to know everything about that organization but I saw a team that was connected to their coach and tried to do what the coach wanted them to do. But they were a team full of freshman playing against a veteran team. I said on the broadcast, be careful what you wish for. Everyone wished and seemed to be mad at Jamie and now they wish they had that back. I would say, I don’t know the buyout and all that stuff I don’t pay attention to that, I know that Kevin can coach and if he’s given a chance, they’ll be a pretty good team next year if everything stays intact.”
Q: Should the record low attendance and attitude of the fan base play into the final decision?
Dakich: “Sure, everything factors in. When you are in a position where you’re fighting for the entertainment dollars, everything factors in. Attendance factors in, academics should factor in, as an athletic director, your working relationship with the coach, everything does. Most stuff can be overlooked by winning, people want to look sideways when you win but the truth of the matter is everything gets looked at and magnified when you’re losing. Look, Kevin has a track record of running clean programs and graduating his players. I’m not trying to be Kevin’s PR guy but I’m just telling you the facts of the matter. I watched a team tonight that I don’t know if they’re all going to stay and all going to work this offseason but from what I saw tonight, that looks like a team that in a year or two can be pretty damn good.”
Q: Considering the circumstances and possibly firing a coach after just two seasons, would Pitt have a hard time attracting good candidates if Stallings is fired?
Dakich: “I think it would be an attractive job. It’s been proven you can win there. Look, you’re not going to go get Roy Williams or Coach K but I would think that a coach, I would think it would be a very attractive job simply because you’ve got a school that’s won, good facilities and it’s apparently a school that’s committed because everyone wants to get rid of this coach and that coach, so obviously someone there cares I guess.”
Dan Dakich can be found on Twitter at @dandakich on ESPN TV and also on 1070 The Fan radio in Indianapolis.