Sources indicate Valparaiso's Drew to interview for Pitt coaching vacancy
March 26, 2016 12:00 AM
Associated Press photo
Valparaiso head coach Bryce Drew talks to his team after an NCAA quarterfinal game in the Men's NIT Tournament.
By Paul Zeise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes continues to search for a men’s basketball coach and is expected to conduct some interviews over the next couple of days.
But Barnes might have competition for the pool of candidates because he no longer has the only open job in the ACC to offer.
The other opening is at Georgia Tech, where the Yellow Jackets fired Brian Gregory Friday after five seasons and a 76-86 record. The Yellow Jackets never finished above ninth in the ACC under Gregory and never made the NCAA tournament, either.
According to several reports, one of the top targets for Georgia Tech will be George Washington coach Mike Lonergan, one of the coaches that Pitt will interview.
Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew is set to interview with Pitt, according to several sources, and the Panthers are working to set up an interview with Southern California’s Andy Enfield.
One candidate who was going to get an interview with Pitt was UAB’s Jerod Haase, but that changed Friday when Stanford hired this Northern California native and former California player.
That’s the second candidate from Barnes’ original wish list who took another job this week as former Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood filled the vacancy at Oklahoma State.
Drew and Lonergan have teams in the NIT semifinals. Valparaiso will face BYU at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York and George Washington will meet San Diego State in the second semifinal.
Drew is considered one of the top young coaches because of his work in five years at his alma mater, Valparaiso, and his NBA playing background. He spent six seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets.
He has led the Crusaders to a record of 119-47 (.715 winning percentage) and the postseason all five years — two times to the NCAA, twice to the NIT and once to the CIT.
Enfield is a native of Shippensburg, Pa., and rose to fame as the creator of Florida Gulf Coast’s “Dunk City” team that went to the Sweet 16 in 2013. He led USC to an NCAA tournament berth this season, and his up-tempo style is a match for what Barnes said he would prefer to see from Pitt’s next coach.
The only other known candidate for the job is Brandin Knight, who was Jamie Dixon’s top assistant, and according to internet reports, turned down a chance to join the staff of new Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell. If true, it would be the second time he has turned down Rutgers as Mike Rice offered him a job as the Scarlet Knights top assistant in 2010.
Interestingly enough, one of Barnes’ final acts before leaving Utah State for Pitt in 2015, was to hire a basketball coach when long-time Aggies coach Stew Morrill retired.
And, while Barnes conducted a search his last several weeks there, in the end he hired Morrill’s top assistant, Tim Duryea.
Barnes said of the hiring in March 2015: “Tim understands what it means to be an Aggie and what it will take to move our program to the next level.”
NOTE — Pitt junior forward Michael Young was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches [NABC] All-District 2 second team, as selected and voted on by member coaches. Young, also a third team All-ACC selection, led the Panthers in scoring (15.7 ppg.) and rebounds (6.7 rpg.) this season.
Paul Zeise: email@example.com and Twitter @paulzeise.
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