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Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt Women’s Basketball Coaching Search Update



The Panthers mascot as Pitt faces Duke in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro, N.C. on March 9, 2023. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Heather Lyke is making progress in trying to hire the new head coach of the Pitt women’s basketball program.

Since Lyke made the decision to move on from Lance White on March 3, she has already talked with a handful of candidates, and a source close to the program told Pittsburgh Sports Now that at least a few of the coaches that Lyke has interviewed have made it into a second round.

UMass head coach Tory Verdi, Toledo head coach Tricia Cullop and George Washington head coach Caroline McCombs have all interviewed with Pitt once and will get interviews when Pitt advances to the second round. Another person that interviewed for the job was Marquette head coach Megan Duffy, but it’s not clear if she’ll talk with Lyke again.

Verdi has been head coach at UMass since 2016 and has 25 years of experience has both a collegiate and professional coach. Verdi coached teams have advanced to postseason play 16 of the last 21 seasons since 2001-02. Prior to his time at UMass, Verdi was head coach at Eastern Michigan, where he worked for Lyke.

Cullop, 51, has been the head coach at Toledo since 2008. Prior to that, she was head coach at Evansville for eight seasons. Her overall record as a head coach is 419-268 (.610). Cullop has won three MAC championships at Toledo, made it to the NCAA Tournament once and the WNIT eight times, including winning it n 2011.

McCombs became the head coach at George Washington in April 2021. Prior to that, McCombs was the leader of the Stony Brook program, where she led the Seawolves to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2021. In seven years at Stony Brook, McCombs won 130 games. Prior to becoming a head coach, McCombs was an assistant coach, including at Pitt from 2005-10.

Duffy, 38, has been the head coach at Marquette since 2019 and prior to that, she spent two seasons as head coach at Miami, Ohio, where she went 44-20 overall and 25-11 in league play. Since taking over at Marquette, Duffy has the best winning percentage of any coach in the program’s history, going 87-36 overall and 53-23 in Big East play. In November 2021, Duffy was named as one of the 40 Under 40 rising stars in women’s basketball.

Despite having interviewed these candidates, our source tells us that a decision on White’s replacement isn’t considered imminent. Lyke may want to see who else might become available as teams lose in the NCAA tournament.

The Pitt program just finished its eighth consecutive losing season and Lyke made the decision to start over after White’s teams went 42-99 overall and 11-75 in conference play during his tenure.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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