The Pitt tennis team lost their final regular season match of the year on Saturday, falling to North Carolina, 7-0. It's not over yet as they will travel to the ACC Tournament this week, but in all, it's been a pretty disappointing year for the program. They finished 3-15 on the year, were winless in the conference, and haven't won since defeating Dayton nearly six weeks ago.
That is a significant step down when the team was 7-14 last year and the program hasn't been competitive since joining the ACC. The program is an unfathomable 1-55 (not a typo, I swear) in ACC play and has only won a total of 16 matches since joining the conference.
Heather Lyke surely has other concerns about the athletics department but if the goal is to be competitive across the board as former AD Scott Barnes said while he was still here, then at some point you have to look at the tennis program and figure out what can be done to improve.
Head coach Alex Santos hasn't had an easy time of things here but he was once heralded as the sport's top assistant coach. He was the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2013 before coming here so his hiring seemed to be a nice grab. But even if Santos isn't the problem, the school has to decide how they can be more competitive.
I've written about this before, but many people are not aware that the tennis program doesn't even have its own facility. Currently, they play at Alpha Tennis and Fitness, which is nearly a half hour away from Oakland. I can't imagine that's too attractive for recruits, though, I can't speak to the number of other schools that face a similar situation.
The tennis program has really taken a nosedive since joining the ACC. In the Big East, they were competitive, finishing around .500 in the last few years before the move. As Pitt is finding out, competing in the ACC is a significant step up in competition in most sports. But the mentality of saying there is a learning curve, etc., can only last so long. At some point, you have to figure out how to compete.