Former Pitt assistant Brandin Knight had a chance to remain with the Panthers as a member of the new staff that was put together by new head coach, Kevin Stallings. Knight politely declined, and earlier this week, we learned he was headed to Rutgers.
John Harris from the Trib had a chance to speak with him lately and there were a few things of interest from my vantage point.
First, Knight says he isn't bitter:
"People thought I was bitter about not getting the (head coaching) job. There's nothing bitter toward the university, the kids, or the city," Knight told the Tribune-Review. "There's no hard feelings toward Coach (Kevin) Stallings. I think he's going to be successful. There's no hard feelings toward (athletic director) Scott Barnes. He didn't have to give me the opportunity to interview. I thank him for that."
I certainly do believe him when he says that. Disappointed, though? Absolutely. I don't know how he couldn't be, to be honest. As I said before, my guess is that losing the job to a guy like Sean Miller would have stung far less because of Miller's track record. Stallings' career hasn't been a bad one but it's nothing compared to what Miller had achieved. I do think Knight was probably a little bummed at not getting the job over someone like Stallings.
There was also a relatively big gap in time from when Jamie Dixon left to when Knight's fate was officially determined as reported this Monday. Nearly a month, to be exact. Knight said part of the reason it took some time was because he had some potential head coaching options he was waiting on:
"There were some other programs I could have possibly gone to. There were some head coaching opportunities I was waiting on," Knight said. "It was, let me see how I could make the best possible decision for my future and my career.
Knight also seemed to insinuate that Stallings' perception of the reason he was leaving wasn't all that accurate:
"Stallings made it seem as if I was frustrated about the associate head coaching position," Knight said. "He flat out said, ‘I don't like to make any of my guys associate head coaches.' He said he had a bad experience."
"I don't have that issue," Knight said. "If the AD wants you, he's going to get you (regardless of title).
That’s not exactly a stinging criticism but Knight did seem somewhat put off by how his not getting that position was perceived. In addition, indirectly, it also provided a glimpse into Stallings’ staff philosophy in not wanting have an associate head coach.
Finally, Knight also talked a little about taking the job at Rutgers. He acknowledged the team’s poor history lately, but was encouraged by that, too, saying that if the program turned around, it would help his career tremendously.
He’s right there and if he can turn Rutgers around with head coach Steve Pikiell, you’d think it would lead to a head gig. I know there’s some talk that the move could also backfire if the Scarlet Knights continue to wallow in mediocrity, but I think that would hurt Pikiell’s career far more than Knight’s. Assistant coaches can usually weather that sort of thing and still find work elsewhere since there are a lot more assistant jobs out there. Knight may not get a head coaching job if Rutgers flounders and he doesn’t last there, but my guess is that his history at Pitt would surely get him another assistant job.