While the Pitt basketball team transfers weren't very unexpected, the Panthers' wrestling program received one that seemed to come out of the blue. Junior-to-be TeShan Campbell is leaving the program and heading to Ohio State.
I had been working on an article highlighting the fact that Pitt was set to lose very little after this year. Glad I held off on that.
If you've followed this blog, you know what a big fan of TeShan's I had become. He was out of Penn Hills and had turned into a top ten wrestler at his weight class. He not only had developed into a top talent but had potential to do even more. Seeing him as an All-American at some point seemed like an afterthought. And seeing him eventually even compete for a national title didn't even seem that far-fetched, either.
Now, he wasn't perfect. Campbell had some missteps at NCAAs to be sure and two disappointing exits. Last year, he went home winless and also suffered a pretty bad loss in the consolation round in his second bout. This year, he managed to win two matches as he went 2-2. But even then, he was bounced from the championship round after one win and after a consolation-bracket win, he was upset by a lower-seeded wrestler.
There is no doubt that Campbell still has work to put it all together and reach All-American status. But he also showed so much at Pitt that it still seems like it's something that will happen - maybe even next year.
This loss should shine an even brighter on the wrestling coach vacancy. Pitt needs to bring someone in soon to quell concerns that other kids may be having about staying. The Campbell loss is really deflating as it was a local kid that was showing a lot of promise. And even more to the point, his loss leaves a pretty big hole in the roster.
New athletics director Heather Lyke doesn't have a football or basketball vacancy (Stallings jokes aside) to fill right now but hopefully she understands the importance of this hire. It's not on the same level as football or basketball, but a big hire nonetheless for a program that has had some success.