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Pitt hires Lance White as women’s basketball coach

Pitt announced the hire of former Florida State associate head coach Lance White as its new women’s basketball head coach on Wednesday afternoon. White has spent the past 15 years with the Seminoles, helping them to a 350-145 record and 12 seasons with 20 wins or more.

“The University of Pittsburgh has a storied history of athletic prowess, and I am excited to build on that tradition,” White said in a statement. “I am honored to be the head coach of the Pitt women’s basketball program. I am grateful to Heather Lyke, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Bethany Wagner for the opportunity to lead a Power Five program. I look forward to working with the team, building relationships within the community and crafting a culture of success.”

White replaces former Panthers coach Suzie McConnell-Serio, who was fired on April 5 after posting four losing seasons in a five-year span for an overall record of 67-87. It also appears that Lyke has established a pattern with the hire, displaying a predilection for top assistants at top conference rivals, as Jeff Capel of the men’s program was similarly plucked from Duke.

Despite strong ties to Pittsburgh and a resume that included WNBA experience and five straight 20-win seasons at Duquesne prior to her arrival at Pitt, McConnell-Serio was only able to log one such season with the Panthers. After that season, she lost star guard Brianna Kiesel to the WNBA and subsequently lost stars Stasha Carey and Brenna Wise to transfers.

As with Capel and the men’s team, the hope is that White’s extensive experience with one of the most successful programs in the ACC will serve him well in his new role and usher in a new era of success for the Panthers after their tough stretch under McConnell-Serio.

For her part, Lyke seemed confident in White’s ability to do so when discussing the hire.

“When I first met Coach White, his genuine personality, energy and excitement about being at Pitt was evident and contagious,” Lyke said. “He has a tremendous pedigree in coaching and has been an instrumental part of several successful women’s basketball programs that have sustained success at the highest levels. I am confident he is more than prepared to build a program that brings great pride to our University.”

White is Lyke’s sixth hire since she became Pitt’s athletic director in March 2017, as she also hired new coaches for men’s basketball, women’s soccer, wrestling, diving, and gymnastics.

The coach’s introductory press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.