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Ohio State University men's basketball coach Thad Matta speaks with a referee during Ohio State's rivalry game vs. Michigan on Jan. 17, 2009 at the Crisler Center. Seated to his right are assistant coaches Archie Miller and Alan Major.

Opinion

Vukovcan: Matta Needs to be Pitt’s Top Target

Vukovcan: Matta Needs to be Pitt’s Top Target

The administrators at Pitt are at a critical point in the future of their basketball program.

The fan interest in Pitt basketball is at an all-time low. Attendance had been on the decline for the last few years and this year, it hit rock bottom.

Losing has caused people to lose interest and in a city like Pittsburgh that has plenty of competition for people’s time and money, that’s not good.

Heather Lyke has one of the most important decisions that she’ll probably ever make as Pitt’s athletic director.

Who will she pick to lead the men’s basketball program?

Get it right and the once proud program can start to rebuild. Get it wrong and Pitt basketball could very well be on its way to becoming DePaul, St. John’s, etc.

In other words, the program could very well be dead.

As is the case during coaching searches, plenty of names are being thrown out by the fans and media.

Obviously, Lyke has many different ways that she can go in her search.

She could hire a someone with experience coaching a major program, she could hire a successful coach at a mid-major or she could hire a highly respected assistant.

Personally, I don’t believe Pitt can afford to take a chance on someone with potential or someone that has no experience with major college basketball.

It seems pretty simple to me. Pitt needs to open the checkbook and make Thad Matta their next basketball coach.

Matta would instantly become the best basketball coach in the history of their program.

Yes, he’s a better coach than Jamie Dixon.

Matta, 50, has a career record of 439-154 (.740) while at Xavier and Ohio State. He’s been to the Final Four twice, won the Big 10 regular season championship five times and has put players in the NBA.

Thad Matta is one of the most liked and respected coaches in college basketball.

Although it’s probably been going on for weeks, the coaching search officially started yesterday for Lyke.

Pitt can’t drag its feet on this hire. Lyke made a bold move by stepping away from Stallings after two years. There is an opportunity to get things back on the right path and make The Pete to a destination for sports fans again.

Pitt fans may have stayed away, but they still care. They’re still passionate about the program. Do the right thing by the fans and do what it takes to get Matta to Oakland.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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