Pitt dropped what appeared to be its best chance at a conference win on Wednesday night, as Wake Forest visited the Petersen Events Center and escaped with a 63-57 victory. With the loss, the Panthers fell to 0-16 in the ACC and are now running out of opportunities to notch a win, as only No. 1 Virginia and Notre Dame remain on the schedule.
With the end of the regular season approaching and the team apparently unable to pull itself out of a winless downward spiral that started on Dec. 30, Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings has come under increased scrutiny, as members of the local and national media have been speculating that his time in Pittsburgh may soon be coming to a close.
During his postgame press conference on Wednesday night, Stallings was asked if he felt like he was on the hot seat. He didn’t give a direct answer, instead saying that the status of his job was something he didn’t dwell on much.
“I think coaches in general live on the hot seat,” he said. “I’ve never spent a lot of time worrying about that.”
Stallings was later asked if he was confident he would be coaching at Pitt next season, and although he again avoided a direct answer, his response came off short of assured:
“It doesn’t matter what I think. Those questions need to be asked to the athletic director. I’m not here to be confident or unconfident. I’m here to help these guys be successful, and I’m not doing a good enough job of that right now. We need to get better. But I’m just not the right person to ask, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I think. ... I’ll keep doing what I’m supposed to do until I’m told it’s time’s up.”
Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke has a tough decision ahead of her regarding Stallings’ future. If she opts to cut ties with him, a buyout would reportedly cost Pitt $10 million. However, if she decides to give him another year amid diminished fan support that’s seen the team draw record-low attendance, it could cost Pitt in ticket sales and put a deeper dent in the fanbase.