PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – With Jamie Dixon accepting the head coaching job at TCU, the attention now shifts to finding his replacement.
CBS college basketball insider Jon Rothstein joined “The Fan Morning Show” Tuesday to talk about Pitt beginning their search.
However, he has a message for Pitt fans – don’t expect Sean Miller to be Dixon’s replacement.
“I can tell you, by talking to somebody very close to Sean last night, that Sean feels that Pitt is a great place to visit, but barring something unforeseen…Sean Miller doesn’t have interest in leaving Arizona to come back to his alma mater,” Rothstein said. “So now, if you’re a resident of western Pennsylvania, it’s best that you turn the page from that chapter.”
Rothstein also doesn’t expect Archie Miller to take over the Pitt’s head coaching duties.
“Archie Miller, right now, is in a situation where he has become the new Shaka Smart of the Atlantic 10,” Rothstein said. “Dayton is a perennial top 25 or top 30 program. He’s obviously been given certain resources at Dayton, which he’s very comfortable with. So, I think Archie Miller, too, isn’t a slam dunk to leave Dayton, anyway…He has a program in place to already be at the level which Pitt is trying to get to.”
With those two candidates seemingly off the board, Pitt’s decision becomes even more vital in an extremely competitive ACC.
“Pitt needs to make a home run with this hire,” Rothstein said. “It can’t be a stand-up double.”
Additionally, one question that will need to be answered is where Pitt’s new coach will focus their recruiting efforts.
“It’s going up to the next head coach at Pitt to determine, what is the geographic footprint?” Rothstein said. “Do you look at the Mid-Atlantic region? Do you look more at Ohio? These are the things that Scott Barnes and his team have to come up with as, I think right now, Pitt gets set to make as pivotal a hire as it’s ever had to make, in terms of the future of men’s basketball at that university, considering the fact that the ACC had six teams in the Sweet Sixteen, and is a combined 12-1 right now in the NCAA Tournament.”
Another challenge for the new head coach will be establishing an identity.
“I think Pitt needs to re-brand its identity in recruiting,” Rothstein said. “What that is, I’m not sure yet, but when we saw Pitt become Pitt under Ben Howland and then Jamie Dixon, everyone knew what this program was from an identity standpoint. That’s something that needs to change.”
Rothstein doesn’t think Scott Barnes will be afraid to hire an off-the-radar candidate that might not be recognized nationally, or in Pittsburgh.
“I think Scott Barnes, from my impressions of him, isn’t going to worry about winning the press conference,” Rothstein said. “I think he’s going to be in a situation where he is most concerned with getting the best coach for Pittsburgh. So, I wouldn’t limit this coaching search to somebody from the East Coast or the Midwest. I think he’s going to explore all options.”
The interview can be heard here: