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Pitt wrestling transfer Micky Phillippi talks being back home

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

Last week, Pitt announced the addition of wrestler Micky Phillippi to their program. Phillippi, who spent his first year at Virginia, comes to the Panthers with three years of eligibility remaining. He's also a local guy, coming to Pitt from nearby Derry.

Coming back home was definitely a factor for him, as he said in an interview with the Trib-Review. Even despite the coaching turmoil that was occurring in Pitt's program last season, a transfer to Pitt had actually been on Phillippi's mind for quite a while.

"I thought about it all year, and I really wanted to be closer to home," Phillippi said. "I like to be around my family, and I was grateful that (Virginia coach) Steve Garland granted me a release. He wasn't happy at first about me transferring to Pitt because it was within the (Atlantic Coast Conference), but then he understood I wanted to be close to home.

Ah, there's that pesky transferring in-conference thing.

Of course in this case, though, Phillippi won't be allowed to compete right away as he has to sit a year first. That was what Pitt's basketball program had clamored for during the Cam Johnson case. Johnson, who had graduated, certainly has a little bit of a different case than Phillippi, of course. But something tells me we won't hear Jay Bilas rail about this for several weeks as he did with the Johnson case.

I digress.

Another reason for the move? Coaches, per that Trib piece. New Pitt head coach Keith Gavin and current assistant Jordan Leen, who also came from there, both recruited him to Virginia.

"Coach Gavin and coach (Jordan) Leen recruited me to Virginia. I was looking forward to working with them there. Now I can. Being at Pitt is the best thing for me."

Overall, it just seems like a really good fit.

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