PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Kevin Stallings should get another season beyond this one to show what he can do as the basketball coach at Pitt.
That’s my opinion. I would give him another season whether or not the Panthers — now 0-9 in conference play — go on to win the rest of their ACC games or they go winless in the league. To me, he hasn’t had enough of a sample size to yet be fully evaluated and won’t come the end of what has turned into a dismal season.
That said, I couldn’t argue in the least, however, if someone wanted to make a case to end his days at Pitt after this season. It has been a tough grind, this isn’t the athletics director who hired him and, at times, this just hasn’t felt like the right match for the man who won all those games in Nashville.
But I have some unsolicited advice for the 57-year-old Stallings — cheer up a bit. Or, at the very least, give the impression you are cheering up a bit. It could go a long, long, long way. Heck, maybe it is too late for such measures, but it seems like it is worth a shot. I understand losing can be tough, and is tough, but perception has a chance to do wonderful things for you. And it might just save your job here, Kevin.
What I’m getting at is this: Remember when Pirates manager Clint Hurdle came barreling into town? He was cheery and radiant. He carried himself in a way in which we hadn’t seen someone leading a team in a long time in Pittsburgh. Hurdle was constantly accentuating the positive and telling the public — even as the Pirates stumbled early in his tenure — that things were going to get good.
Did Hurdle fully believe it? Hell, I don’t know.
But you know what he made all of us do? He made us believe it. He sold it to us and we bought every bit of it. He told us how hard everyone was working, Hurdle had some go-to, clichéd lines that he’d rattle off too much, but at least he had some things that felt as if they were rallying cries.
We believed because Hurdle told us to; we felt like we should put any negativity in the back of our minds because he assured us he was building something. That went a long way with Hurdle — a really long way.
Again, I know losing can be burdensome and drag you down. It can be something that forces great agony, dark days and times when you don’t necessarily want to be upbeat.
But my unsolicited advice to Kevin Stallings is simple. There were a lot of people in this town who unfairly were predisposed to wanting the guy to fail. That was wrong. It was going to be a tough sell to win those people over. There were — and still are — seemingly a ton of level-headed people on the fence about him. I’m thinking it would serve Stallings well in his dealings with the media, and in what he emanates publicly, to be more optimistic. To be more jovial. To be merrier. Even if he has to fake it some.
Because, right now it feels like the vibe he’s giving is one that’s a coach who is worn down by all the losing.
If he brightens up some, he might just win over some people. Even through all this losing.