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Additional Pitt wrestling head coach candidates cited

Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh athletics department -

It's been a few days since news dropped that Pitt was reportedly interviewing Lehigh wrestling coach Pat Santoro for the program's vacancy. Nothing has come out on that front since then, but some more news has since come out on a few other candidates for the Panthers.

Pitt, again reportedly, is also interviewing (or has interviewed) Edinboro coach Tim Flynn as well as current Pitt assistants Matt Kocher and Drew Headlee.

Santoro, for me, must remain the top target. Flynn wouldn't be a bad hire and the former Penn State grad has done a solid job at Edinboro. Like Santoro at Lehigh, Flynn has managed to put out a quality, ranked program at a smaller Pennsylvania school. He's produced three national champions there and numerous All-Americans. But as I said about Santoro, he's not only got a great reputation but was also a Pitt grad. That should never be the deciding factor in any coaching search but realistically, he's a guy that could come here and have the job for 20 years. Assuming he had success here and they took care of him, it very easily could be the last job he took.

I'd be less sold on Kocher and Headlee but that's simply because the track record isn't there. And as I said at the time when Pitt was considering Brandin Knight for the head basketball coaching position, the job is one that is good enough that will attract more proven candidates. No disrespect meant to those guys even in the slightest. They jumped into sort of a mess after Jason Peters was dismissed in the middle of the year. But you simply don't pass on coaches that bring a lot to the table in terms of reputation to take a flyer on more of an unproven candidate.

That said, Kocher and Headlee deserve interviews and I have no issue with that. It not only will let athletic director Heather Lyke learn a little more about them but also gives those guys some good experience in the interview arena. And, who knows - if they are impressive enough, maybe Lyke even recommends them to an eventual head coach as possible assistants.

As I said about Knight, perhaps both of those guys go on to become very good coaches. But you just don't know how that will turn out and if you have guys knocking on the door that are already not only good, but among the top of their profession, I don't think you pass on that.

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