04 April 2011
That didn't take long. Less than a week after it was reported that Pitt assistant Pat Skerry was a finalist for head coaching job at Towson University, Skerry has been hired. I'm a bit surprised that he would leave Pitt for Towson, even as a head coaching opportunity, but wish him well nonetheless. Towson was 4-26 last season and 0-18 in conference so he has his work cut out for him.
The question becomes who will replace Skerry as associate head coach. Perhaps Brandon Knight gets a bump up in title (and presumably pay) for his loyalty and hard work. Or, as I was reminded today, former assistant Barry "Slice" Rohrssen was recently fired as the head coach of Manhattan and might be persuaded in coming back to Pittsburgh. Both would be fine choice, but even without seeing a familiar face next to Dixon on the bench, Pitt will be ok. As the Tribune-Review notes, Skerry is the fifth top assistant at Pitt to leave to become a head coach in Dixon's eight seasons. I don't think there will be any difficulty filling the spot.
In the short term, the staff has one big 6'8" five-star issue to deal with:
That's not good news. The fortunate thing (or unfortunate thing depending on your view-point), is that Birch signed a binding letter of intent to play for Pitt next season. As I see it, there's probably zero chance that Birch would follow Skerry to Towson. The CAA will not in any way, shape, or form give him the experience or exposure necessary to get to the NBA. Birch has three options:
- Come to Pitt as planned;
- Transfer to another school and sit out a season; or
- Reclassify to 2012 and head to prep school as he originally intended;
It's option three that worries me. What that gives Birch is time to be re-recruited by all of the other elite programs that he passed up for Skerry. In 2012, he likely goes from being a top 10 player to a top 3. Further, 2012 means open scholarships at Duke, at Kentucky, at North Carolina, etc. I'm not saying that he'd pick any of those places over Pitt, but there's certainly a risk.
I still think he ends up at Pitt, but the situation has to be downgraded from "solid" to "shaky."
UPDATE: Someone has to teach this guy how to properly dominate a news-cycle. As soon as I hit "post," he sends this out:
Good to hear.
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