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Pitt wrestling loses out on Pat Santoro, who will remain at Lehigh

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Photo used with permission of the Pittsburgh Panthers athletics department (www.pittsburghpanthers.com)

Pitt's wrestling program was dealt a blow with the news that Lehigh coach Pat Santoro won't be making a move to Pitt. Santoro affirmed his pledge to remain at Lehigh on Friday.

Santoro has been my first choice for the Panthers for a while. Other qualified candidates certainly exist but he is one of the few probably in the no-brainer category if he could be had.

I know the immediate rush will be to say that Pitt refused to put the necessary resources in place for him and that they tried to get him on the cheap. That's very possible and Pitt, by most indications, has not put enough into the wrestling program to date. But we also don't know the details. This could be a situation of Pitt making a great offer (similar to what others thought they did with Matt Canada and the offensive coordinator position in football) and simply not being able to pry Santoro away from a very comfortable situation. Perhaps, even, it was a little of both. Heck, perhaps Pitt even wants someone else. Who knows at this point?

Where Pitt goes from here, though, will probably be telling about what they have committed to the wrestling program. An internal hire of one of the two assistants, Drew Headlee or Matt Kocher, could suggest that they were not committed to investing the amount of proper resources. But if they go out and get someone more established, that's a good sign.

Don't forget, too, is what Pitt also needs to do is invest in facilities, which most 'in the know' say are outdated. Hiring a coach is only part of it. If the Panthers do go the assistant route but still upgrade facilities, that might show some commitment on their end. There's no doubt, though, that getting the right coach is the much more necessary thing right now and as I've said before, I think they need to bring in an established guy with experience in effectively leading programs or recruiting extremely well.

For now, this is still very much a wait and see deal.

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