Pitt AD Lyke encouraged by early conversations with Kevin Stallings
April 19, 2017 12:37 PM
Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke speaks to reporters Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena.
Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings
By Craig Meyer / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
From a 4-14 finish in ACC play to its first losing record in 17 years to a rash of player transfers, the past few months have seen some turmoil for the Pitt men’s basketball program.
Since taking over March 28, Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke has gotten the opportunity to speak with coach Kevin Stallings about the program and the direction in which it is heading. Those conversations, Lyke said Wednesday, have been both productive and encouraging.
“I’m excited about working with him and the opportunity,” Lyke said. “My biggest question was really finding out what he’s about, why he wants to be at Pitt and what’s his vision for building this program. After my conversations with him, I know he wants to be here, I know he’s committed to being here. I’m very confident in his ability to start to build it.”
Having already lost four seniors, all starters, from a team that went 16-17 last season, the Panthers have lost four players to transfer and have dismissed a fifth for conduct detrimental to the team. The most painful of the losses came April 1, when it was announced that redshirt sophomore guard Cameron Johnson, a Moon native and the team’s leading returning scorer, had asked for his release and would transfer following his graduation in April.
Pitt has six players committed in its 2017 recruiting class and has four available scholarships for next season.
Though the current situation surrounding the program appears unfavorable, Lyke sees promise.
“He’s got a ways to go, but we need to support him, we need to be behind him and we all need to get to know him a little bit better,” she said. “That’s what I’m doing right now — spending time to get to know him and figuring out what are the greatest ways we can support him and get him connected with all of you so you get to know him as well.”
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG
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