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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

TPN Picks: Top five Dixon replacements

Pittsburgh+assistant+coaches+Barry+Rohrssen+and+Brandin+Knight+call+out+to+their+team+as+they+take+on+Virginia+in+the+second+half+of+the+semifinals+of+the+ACC+Tournament+in+Greensboro%2C+N.C.%2C+Saturday%2C+March+15%2C+2014.+Virginia+defeated+Pitt%2C+51-48.+%28Matt+Freed%2FPittsburgh+Post-Gazette%2FMCT%29
MCT
Pittsburgh assistant coaches Barry Rohrssen and Brandin Knight call out to their team as they take on Virginia in the second half of the semifinals of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, March 15, 2014. Virginia defeated Pitt, 51-48. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/MCT)

Now that Jamie Dixon’s move to TCU is official, fans’ intrigue has shifted to rumors about who will replace the longtime Pitt basketball coach.

Dixon, who had been at Pitt since 2003, officially accepted a position at his alma mater, Texas Christian University, early this week. Pitt Athletic Director Scott Barnes announced at a press conference on Monday that he would look for a replacement with head coaching experience — though he said there could be exceptions to that prerequisite.

The Pitt Twittersphere — always directly on the pulse of Pitt sports news, often before it happens — subsequently blew up on Tuesday. Twitter erupted with rumors that Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller was in town ruminating on an offer to replace Dixon, but Miller quickly shot back that he was neither in Pittsburgh nor considering the offer.

With Miller never in the running, here are some potential suitors still in the running for the opening:

ARCHIE MILLER – DAYTON (115-54)

After Sean Miller spurned Pitt Tuesday afternoon, attention moved to his brother Archie. Both Millers are from western Pennsylvania, but unlike Sean, Archie isn’t a Pitt alum. He’s a North Carolina State grad, which lends some concern that if the Wolfpack job were to open up, Archie would pounce. Regardless, Archie is the one of the most accomplished coaches available, boasting three straight tournament appearances with the Flyers and an Elite Eight appearance. Reports say Archie isn’t interested, but no need to count him out until official word comes straight from the coach’s mouth.

Dayton Flyers coach Archie Miller reacts during first-half action in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 game against the Stanford Cardinal at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., on Thursday, March 27, 2014. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)
Dayton Flyers coach Archie Miller during first-half action in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 game against the Stanford Cardinals. (TNS)

KEVIN WILLARD – IONA/SETON HALL (152-138)

Willard, a Pitt point guard from 1994 to 1997, is coming off his most successful season as head coach at Seton Hall. He made the tournament this year in large part due to late-season performances by blue chip recruit Isaiah Whitehead. Willard has proved that he can recruit top talent and put the players to good use. With his Pittsburgh connections, the job would likely interest him, and jumping from the weakened Big East to the powerhouse ACC would provide a huge opportunity for the 40-year-old. The biggest question is whether Willard or Pitt would have more interest.

KEVIN KEATTS – UNC WILMINGTON (43-22)

As a former member of Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville, Keatts built UNC Wilmington’s program up in just two seasons. Under Keatts’ direction, UNC Wilmington made an NCAA Tournament appearance this year and performed well in the first game of the first round, toughing it out against Duke before eventually losing. But the team’s efforts were still impressive, thanks in part to Keatts. Keatts would recruit and develop talent, and at 43 is at the perfect age to make another jump to a major conference. But he might want to wait for an even bigger opportunity.

MARK SCHMIDT – ROBERT MORRIS/ST. BONAVENTURE (228-221)

With only one NCAA Tournament on his resume, Schmidt wouldn’t be the flashiest hire. But he’s turned St. Bonaventure into a steady presence in the Atlantic 10 and is a veteran head coach with local ties. He likely wouldn’t be a first option, but someone to fall back on who knows the area and has had recent success. His Bonnies this year were considered a potential snub for the tournament, going 22-7 and 14-4 in conference play. Pitt fans wouldn’t be overly excited if the administration tapped Schmidt, but it could do worse.

BRANDIN KNIGHT – PITT (Assistant, no head coaching experience)

Knight is a long shot for the job, since Barnes highlighted Division I head coaching experience as a priority for the search. But Knight, who was the last Pitt player to have his number retired, has an abundance of support from former Pitt basketball players. Tray Woodall, Ashton Gibbs, Gilbert Brown, Lamar Patterson, Julius Page and Levance Fields have all made the argument on Twitter that Knight has qualifications as good as Dixon did when Pitt hired him. It would be beneficial, in their minds, to award the position to someone who understood Pitt’s culture.