Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke appeared on 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday morning, fielding questions about the future of head basketball coach Kevin Stallings. Although her tone was neutral with one regular-season game and the ACC tournament still on the horizon, she did reveal the criteria she would be evaluating the coach on and when a decision would be made.
“We’re in the midst of continuing to evaluate,” Lyke said when asked about Stallings. “The season’s not over. We have another road game, our last road game at Notre Dame, and obviously the ACC tournament next week, and then we’ll make some decisions after that tournament.”
Lyke went on to say that, “in many ways,” Stallings was meeting her expectations, at least in terms of effort and preparation. She also noted that “comprehensive excellence,” meaning the success of student-athletes on and off the court, would be taken into consideration when evaluating the coach. However, Lyke conceded that one key factor was decidedly lacking.
“Attendance is disappointing,” she said. “There’s no question about it. I don’t think it’s where any of us want it to be and know it can be.”
The AD then brought up the atmosphere at the Petersen Events Center when the on-court product was more impressive and tickets were still in demand, saying, “Our community, our fans, our students deserve that. They want an exciting product. They want an exciting, competitive game, and that’s critically important.”
Lyke later described attendance — which has reached record lows during the Stallings era — as “an important element” in the decision on the coach’s future.
Stallings and the Panthers will head to South Bend, Indiana, to face Notre Dame on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in their regular-season finale. With the Panthers having secured a 15th-place finish in the ACC, they will take on the conference’s 10th-place finisher in the ACC tournament on March 6 at 2 p.m. The tournament concludes on March 10.