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Pitt AD Heather Lyke offers support for basketball head coach Kevin Stallings

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

Many fans hoped that new athletics director Heather Lyke might consider a short hook for Pitt basketball coach Kevin Stallings. On the heels of a disappointing 16-17 season, some are hoping that Stallings is on the hot seat.

But Lyke said recently that she is offering her support for Stallings and a quick dismissal doesn't sound like it's happening anytime soon. Well, in terms of an immediate move, anyway. From Jerry DiPaola of the Trib-Review:

"I've had some great conversations with coach Stallings ... I'm excited about working with him."

"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. And after my conversations with him, I know he wants to be here. I know he's committed to being here, and I'm very confident in his ability to start to build it.

"He's got a ways to go, but we need to support him, we all need to get to know him a little bit better and that's what I'm doing right now, spending time getting to know him, figuring out what are the greatest ways that we can support him."

Lyke's job is pretty easy here with regards to Stallings. She isn't going to be judged on Stallings because it wasn't her hire so, in terms of a personal evaluation of her, she doesn't need to move right away on it. The only way she gets tied to him is if he continues to struggle for several seasons and she doesn't make a move or if she offers an extension - neither of which are short-term things.

That said, I'm not sure I would get too comfortable if I were Stallings. There's really not much else she could say at this point and she made it clear that the program isn't in good shape right now by saying the program has a ways to go. She isn't going to come out and say he's on the hot seat, say he's done a poor job, etc. Essentially, this is her saying that she wants to provide Stallings the resources he needs to succeed and is willing to take a wait and see approach - nothing more.

And in that context, it's not surprising that she would make a show of support. Whether or not he would have been her hire is irrelevant. He's the guy that's here and the guy she needs to evaluate going forward.

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