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Pitt Women's Basketball

New Candidate Emerges for Pitt Women’s Basketball Job



There are a few new developments in Pitt’s search for a new women’s basketball coach.

Over the weekend, current UMass head coach Tory Verdi was in town to meet with Pitt administration, and it appeared as though he was emerging as the front-runner. However, that is no longer the case.

A source has told Pittsburgh Sports Now that the two sides have differences that they couldn’t agree upon, including money, so Pitt has apparently moved on to a new candidate.

The name that appears to have moved to the forefront is current Florida Gulf Coast head coach Karl Smesko, who has been offered the job, according to a PSN source.

Smesko, 52, is a native of Bath Township near Akron, Ohio, and has had tremendous success as a head coach. In his previous three jobs at Walsh (Canton, Ohio), IUPUI and Florida Gulf Coast, Smesko has a career coaching record of 642-132 (.829 winning percentage). In his first season as a head coach, he led Walsh to the NAIA National Championship and was the NAIA Coach of the Year. Walsh has since moved up to NCAA Division II. In the Atlantic Sun conference, where Smesko has coached FGCU since 2007, he has been named the A-Sun Coach of the Year nine times.

Smesko started at FGCU in 2002. With the Eagles, his teams have won the conference regular season championship 13 times and were winners of the postseason conference championship 11 times. Since taking over at Florida Gulf Coast, Smesko’s teams have never lost more than 9 games in a season.

Looking at his coaching style, Smesko’s teams play a fun brand of basketball and have led the country in 3-pointers made multiple times.

After having talked with candidates such as Verdi, Robyn Fralick (Michigan State), Alex Simmons (Gardner-Webb) and Tricia Cullop (Toledo), it appears as though Heather Lyke has her eyes on Smesko.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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