With Jamie Dixon taking his substantial worth to Fort Worth and TCU, it leaves a decently appetizing vacancy in the world of college basketball.
But, who will be named the new head coach at Pitt?
No one knows what direction relatively new Athletic Director Scott Barnes will take, but if I were advising him, here are five people I would make sure to have him bring in for an interview:
- Archie Miller, Dayton — This man has to be the far and away top candidate. And before you shout for his brother, say it with me: SEAN MILLER ISN’T LEAVING ARIZONA FOR PITT. OK, got it? At just 37-years-old, Archie Miller (a Western Pennsylvanian) is a successful coach who has already compiled 115 wins and four 20+ win seasons in his five years as a head coach. On top of it, he played in the ACC at North Carolina State, is familiar with the vital recruiting areas and is the young, vibrant name Pitt so desperately needs right now. It also makes sense for Miller. In fact, this is a perfect marriage.
- Tommy Amaker, Harvard — The former point guard at Duke and an assistant there for a decade, Amaker had six consecutive seasons at Harvard with 20 wins or more. That is no small accomplishment. He also had three 20-win seasons at Michigan, but struggled with what was a very tough Big Ten at the time. He is an ultra-private man who shies away from a radio and TV show and shuttles pretty much his entire existence into basketball. That can be looked at as a positive or negative, but it is certainly intriguing. On top of it, Amaker is from Virginia and is very tied in with ACC recruiting hotbeds.
- Kevin Keatts, UNC-Wilmington — Keatts has won 43 games in his first two years, but more than his on-floor expertise, the 43-year-old is known as a tremendous recruiter. He was on the Louisville staff from 2011-14 and was paramount in reeling in some big-time recruits for coach Rick Pitino. A native of Virginia, he is also dialed in closely to many AAU and high school coaches in areas of the country that are paramount for recruiting kids destined for ACC schools. This is a big factor.
- Larry Krystkowiak, Utah — He brings instant credibility on the recruiting trail and in the locker room as a guy who played in the NBA from 1986-1997 and has shifted nicely into coaching a Power 5 Conference school. After a short, successful stint at Montana, Krystkowiak turned what was a six-win Utah team five seasons ago into a team that won 27 games this season and 26 last season. Last season, Utah reached the Sweet Sixteen while this season they were victorious in their first round NCAA Tournament game. He is known for developing big men as in a stint coaching in the NBA helped the continued development of Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva. He could really aid Pitt in recruiting — and then developing — post guys who could make a huge difference.
- Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa: The recent heartbreaking loss in the NCAA Tournament aside, this guy is someone who can flat-out coach. He has reached the Sweet Sixteen once and Round of 32 twice — at Northern Iowa. Think about that for a moment. Also, at 45 years old, Jacobson has been the coach at UNI since 2006-07 and has never had a losing season. He is someone who has to set your radar off.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.