Connect with us

Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt to Hire UMass’ Tory Verdi as Women’s Basketball Head Coach



Sources confirmed to Pittsburgh Sports Now that Pitt will hire UMass women’s basketball coach Tory Verdi as the new Pitt head coach on Friday. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette first reported the hire.

Verdi is the 10th head coach to take over the Panthers in their program history for the 50th season starting in 2023-24. He takes over from Lance White, who served as the Panthers’ head coach for five seasons, before athletic director Heather Lyke fired him for accruing a record of 42-99, the worst five year stretch of any head coach in Panthers history.

Verdi brings over 11 seasons of head coaching experience at the Division-I level and has been coaching basketball in various roles since 1995 when he was a senior in college. He is a New England native and has spent most of his time coaching in that area as well.

He started out as an assistant for the men’s team at Keene State College in Keene, N.H. in the 1995-96 season and served as a volunteer assistant for Hartford men’s basketball during the 1996-97 season.

Verdi then served as head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, Conn. for three seasons from 1997-2000. He would move on to Western Connecticut, a Division III school, and work as an assistant coach for the men’s team for two seasons from 2001-03.

He made the jump up to coach the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA, starting his work in the women’s game. He worked as an assistant coach for two seasons from 2003-04 and also as a special assistant during the 2005 season.

He served as an assistant coach at Columbia in between his time with Connecticut. He managed to serve as a head coach during the 2004-05 season, as Columbia fired the head coach during the season. Verdi won just three of the 10 games as interim head coach during a difficult time for the Columbia program.

Verdi then moved to the Midwest and to the Big 12, serving as an assistant coach for Nebraska for five seasons from 2005-10 and then to Kansas as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for two seasons from 2010-12.

He landed his first head coaching job with Eastern Michigan in the 2012-13 season. Verdi worked with now Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke, who served as the Eastern Michigan Athletic Director from 2013-17, during his time with the program.

Verdi turned around the Eagles from 8-22 in his first season to three straight postseason appearances the next three years. The Eagles made the WBI Second Round in the 2013-14 season and then made the WNIT the following two seasons.

He then took the job at UMass in the Atlantic-10 starting in the 2016-17 season. Verdi once again turned another program around, leading UMass from an 8-22 record his first season to three seasons with 20 or more wins and postseason appearances in his final three seasons.

Verdi managed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2022, as the Minutewomen won the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time in program history. This gave the Minutewomen their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998 and only their third ever as they made it for the first time in 1996. The Minutewomen won the Regular Season Title for the first time in 2023, but settled for the WNIT after losing in the A-10 Tournament.

He accrued a record of 127-85 at UMass, but won 88 and only lost 26 in his final four seasons in Amherst.

Other coaches that Pitt looked at were Florida Gulf Coast’s Karl Smesko and Bowling Green’s Robyn Fralick. Sources told PSN that Smesko turned Pitt down to stay at FGCU and Fralick chose instead to become the next head coach of Michigan State.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
1 Comment
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Burton Tee
Burton Tee
1 month ago

Welcome Coach Dirti Verdi!


Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Like Pittsburgh Sports Now on Facebook!
Send this to a friend