PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pitt Athletic Director Scott Barnes has been hard at work trying to find their next men’s basketball coach.
Today, he took time out of his hectic schedule to update “The Fan Morning Show” on how the search is going.
Barnes said that he’s hoping to hire a coach that runs a more fast-paced system than Pitt fans may be used to.
“We want to connect in every way we can with our recruits, with our fan base, and play a fun style,” Barnes said. “What does that mean? Probably a little more up-tempo. Want to always get it done on the defensive end, but a little more free-flowing.”
With the program hiring its first basketball coach since it joined the ACC, Barnes feels that it’s important for Pitt to have that exciting style of play – one that will be attractive to the highly-rated recruits the conference draws in.
“What are we looking for in a coach? We need to broaden our perspective on how we recruit,” Barnes said. “We have now before us this footprint that is the ACC footprint, and there are a lot of really good basketball players in the ACC footprint…I’m not married to one system. I’m not married to one specific style. But certainly, when you think about the upside of where we want to go, that style of play has to do with the ability to track certain folks.”
“Some coaches have different systems, and you can recruit to a system, as well. But overall, we want a little more of an up-tempo style, we want to really get it done on defense, and see where we go.”
Barnes doesn’t view this sentiment as an indictment of Jamie Dixon’s coaching prowess, but he thinks the ability to adapt is important.
“It’s not a knock on Jamie, necessarily,” Barnes said. “Old habits die hard, and coaches – one of the things that I’ve seen in my 28 years – is it’s really hard to change a coach’s sort of style of play and their philosophy, right? And so, as much as we want to talk about changing, or doing something different, a lot of times we kind of gravitate back to what we’ve done. And no doubt, trying to value the basketball and halfcourt defensive structure, and really getting it done in ball possession has been Jamie’s forte – and he’s won with it for a lot of years.”
Barnes said that he doesn’t care about winning the press conference, because the benefits of doing so are short-lived.
“Three years from now, we’re going to be having this call on live radio, and we’re going to find out where we sit,” Barnes said. “And so, whatever that 15 minutes of fame brings isn’t the answer. The answer is bring somebody here that can put a program together and ascend in the ACC conference into a level that we all want to be at, and that’s not winning the press conference – that’s finding the right fit at the right time.”
Though Barnes is undoubtedly losing a great coach in Dixon, he’s eager to see what Dixon’s successor will be able to do for the program.
“We are excited,” Barnes said. “Because we have an opportunity to get better, right? To take another step in what is a very vital program to this community and our alumni base. That’s an exciting opportunity, there’s no question about it.”
Barnes gets the feeling that Pitt fans share that sentiment.
“I sense there’s an excitement in anticipation for another step forward in our program,” Barnes added.
The interview can be heard here: