Not even a week after officially hiring Kevin Stallings, the University of Pittsburgh has cut ties with the former Vanderbilt head coach.
This is probably not as surprising as it was that Pitt hired him in the first place, only days after former Pitt coach officially left to coach his alma mater, Texas Christian University.
The backlash was immediate and harsh by the students and the rest of the fan-base. Social media exploded with outrage over the apparent downgrade. Former Pitt basketball players, like Lamar Patterson, even voiced their concern.
This backlash was not directed at Stallings as much as it was at the athletic director, Scott Barnes. Due to the fact that it was a hastily quick hire, and that he used a search firm, there were many people that put Barnes in the doghouse.
Although Stalling comes from a power five conference, the SEC, it is not even in the same ballpark as the ACC — Pitt’s conference — when it comes to basketball.
He left with a losing record in the SEC (138-142) and only seven tournament appearances in the 17 years at the helm of the program.
The real danger with this hire was the threat of losing current players on the roster. Sheldon Jeter, did play under Stallings at Vanderbilt, but transferred to Pitt, due to personal disagreements. And once one player leaves a tight knit group like a basketball team, more are sure to follow.
So, what is Pitt doing with the open skipper position on the basketball court? Well, as unconventional as it is, Pitt has appointed Pat Narduzzi, head coach of the football team, as the interim head basketball coach.
The reasoning is that Narduzzi did such a great job uniting the Panthers on the gridiron, that he could do the same thing on the court. Narduzzi is a fan favorite after just one year, and Barnes must have seen that this could save him some face with the fanbase.
But there is one problem with this: It isn’t true, well, it isn't entirely true.
If you haven’t noticed yet, it is April 1, and thus, April Fool’s Day.
So, unfortunatly, Narduzzi will not be interim head coach, as much as Ty Lohr wants.
All joking aside, Pitt really did hire Kevin Stallings.
There really was a tremendous amount of outrage from the fan-base.
He really did have a losing record in the SEC and limited tournament success.
And Narduzzi is just fine with only coaching football — for now.
But Stallings isn’t going anywhere, at least for now. Oh, and Sheldon Jeter isn’t either, as he announced Thursday that he’s sticking with Pitt, and excited for practically the whole team to return from this year.
If you are a Pitt basketball fan, you can be upset all you want with the process in which the new coach was chosen. Go right on ahead and question if there were other candidates that fit the bill better. But, that criticism should lie solely on the athletic director.
Rage is justified, but none against the coach, who showed up just days ago.
That being said, Pitt fans and students should at least give this guy a chance before writing him off as a failure.
You never know what a change of scenery can do for someone, and maybe, just maybe, he could surprise everyone and be competitive in the ACC next year.
That, my friends, is no joke.
Ernecoff is a graduate of Titusville High School, and currently enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also an avid Pittsburgh sports fan.