Rhode Island’s head coach Dan Hurley was one of the big targets for open coaching positions. He was rumored to be leaning towards UCONN all along, but that is when the University of Pittsburgh made a big play for him but Hurley had UCONN in his sights from day 1. Who does Pitt turn to now?
Nate Oats is a big name being mentioned at this point. Oats worked under both Dan and Bobby Hurley before taking over at Buffalo. He has been a really solid recruiter for years and from the sound of it, would be a slam dunk for this job if they want to make that move.
Sean Miller was also interviewed, then sent out a tweet that he “Was not a candidate for the position”, not that he was not interested. There has been rumored interest from his side which is not a surprise with all the issues out there. Although he would be a huge risk, and I am not convinced the AD would do it, he would be well received by this fan base and would re-energize the program.
Now that Nevada lost, there is also the option of making a play for Eric Musselman. Eric is a West Coast guy and although I said that might not be a great fit at Pitt, I was reminded that Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon came from Northern Arizona. So, it would not be a stretch and would be a very good get for the Panthers.
Washington’s Mike Hopkins was also rumored to have been in the mix for the job but he has pretty much put those to rest. In an article in the Seattle Times, he stated there is no interest. Here it is below.
“Don’t believe what you read,” Hopkins said. “Three months ago I was (reportedly) involved with three different jobs. At the end of the day, me and my family are exceptionally happy here.
“I work for a great leader in (athletic director) Jen Cohen. I wanted to go some place where we can build something special and be part of a great organization and surround yourself with great people. And I think I’ve done that. I love it here. Looknig forward to building on what we did this year. I think we can make another major step forward. It’s simple.”
Mark Schmidt would be a ‘down the liner” option for Pitt. Schmidt is the current coach for St Bonaventure. His contract was extended in 2016 and he has been really good there. It’s a tough sell for kids to go there and he has kept that team more than competitive during his tenure.
There are others, but the top 3 options should be Musselman, Oats, and Miller. They are all available now to interview and or hire, so the process should speed up. Stay tuned.