Timeline of Kevin Stallings' tenure at Pitt
Less than two years after it began, the Kevin Stallings era has ended for Pitt basketball. The 711 days featured only four ACC victories but no shortage of eyebrow-raising losses and off-court news. A look back:
March 18, 2016: Jamie Dixon's 13th season as Pitt coach ends with a 47-43 loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament .
March 21, 2016: Pitt announces that Dixon is leaving Pitt to take over the program at his alma mater, TCU . Despite going 328-123 with 11 NCAA tournament appearances, Pitt does little to stand in the way of Dixon's departure.
March 27, 2016: Pitt officially announces the hiring of Stallings . The second paragraph in the school's release quotes athletic director Scott Barnes as saying, "Coach Stallings and I share the same vision for Pitt -- playing in the Final Four."
March 28, 2016: Pitt holds an introductory news conference for Stallings ; it's staged as a pep rally, but fan angst – in addition to biting questions about the use of a search firm in the hiring process – makes the event awkward.
Nov. 11, 2016: Pitt escapes against Eastern Michigan in its season opener, as Stallings begins his Pitt tenure with a 93-90 double overtime home victory .
Dec. 2, 2016: The first embarrassing loss of the Stallings tenure – a 64-55 setback to crosstown rival Duquesne that was the first in the Panthers' first "City Game" defeat in 16 years. The Dukes won just nine of their other 31 games that season and fired their coach after it.
Dec. 22, 2016: Barnes, the man who hired Stallings, leaves Pitt to be the athletic director at Oregon State . Former Eastern Michigan athletic director Heather Lyke would be hired to replace Barnes .
Jan. 4, 2017: After a non-conference schedule that included a quality win at Maryland and a notable win against Penn State – and four days after opening ACC play with a home overtime loss to No. 24 Notre Dame – Pitt gets the best win of the Stallings tenure, 88-76 in overtime against No. 11 Virginia . An eight-game losing streak would follow.
Jan. 23, 2017: After that losing streak that reached four, the friction between Pitt's senior stars and Stallings comes to something of a head publicly when Stallings goes on record that , "Right now, my assessment is the only thing it feels like they've bought into 100 percent is freedom on offense" and that he has "disappointment" in his veteran leaders.
Jan. 24, 2017: Pitt suffers historic loss, 106-51 to Louisville that was the largest margin of defeat for Panthers basketball in 111 years. "I feel there's some fragmentation maybe in the locker room, unfortunately," Stallings said after the game, one in which he was ejected.
this was captured during the loss last night. Stallings was also ejected pic.twitter.com/1Tl8vBpDPe— Hunter Branch (@hunters_branch) January 25, 2017
Feb. 18, 2017: In the only other Stallings victory at Pitt against a ranked opponent, the Panthers beat visiting Florida State, 80-66 , in what would be the final ACC regular-season victory for Stallings. He'd lose his final 22.
March 8, 2017: Stallings' first season ends with a 75-63 loss to Virginia in the second round of the ACC tournament in Brooklyn.
March 2017: Aside from players who'd exhausted eligibility, the program loses four players. Freshman Justice Kithcart is dismissed from the team , and sophomore guards Damon Wilson and Crisshawn Clark and freshman forward Corey Manigault announced their intentions to transfer. Two months later, junior center Rozelle Nix joins them in transferring .
If Corey Manigault transfers like some expect, Pitt will end up getting 54 total points out of their entire 2016 recruiting class.— Dan Sostek (@dan_sostek) March 13, 2017
June 8, 2017: After a back-and-forth processs, rising senior guard Cameron Johnson is granted permission to make a graduate transfer to ACC rival North Carolina . It's the most damaging transfer because of how much Johnson could have meant to the 2017-18 Panthers and because he was a local product (Moon Township).
November 2017: Pitt opens its second season under Stallings with a disheartening 71-62 loss at Navy on Nov. 10 . Three days later, it got worse – the Panthers lost at home to Montana , 83-78, in front of a record-low Petersen Events Center crowd of 3,102. The month also featured a 31-point loss to Penn State .
Dec. 9, 2017: A spirited 69-60 loss at home to West Virginia ends up being the final game of the season for senior forward Ryan Luther. The Hampton native, by far Pitt's most experienced player, would not play again because of a stress fracture in his right foot . He is expected to apply to the NCAA for a medical hardship that could make him eligible for 2018-19.
Dec. 22, 2017: Pitt needs a furious late comeback to beat Towson , 63-59, in front of 3,126 at The Pete. Little did anyone know at the time that it would be the final win of the season, and the final of the Stallings era.
Dec. 25, 2017: Twenty-one months after taking over a program that hadn't been ranked in the AP top 20 in 19 years, Dixon's TCU Horned Frogs are at No. 10 in the latest released poll. They would get to 20 wins in each of the first two seasons under Dixon after not having a 20-season season since 2004-05 before that.
Jan. 2, 2018: Three days after opening up ACC play with a home loss to Miami, Pitt loses 77-51 at Louisville . Stallings interacts with a heckling Louisville fan, referencing the program's scandal that cost Rick Pitino his job as coach.
Feb. 13, 2018: Pitt squanders its biggest lead of its ACC season (15 points) and loses by 13 to Boston College, which had lost 23 consecutive conference road games coming in.
Feb. 24, 2018: Three days after losing as a 10 ½-point underdog at home to the ACC's second-worst team , Pitt suffers an even worse indignity: the Panthers are held to seven first-half points and lose, 66-37, to No. 1 Virginia .
This is a real halftime score. pic.twitter.com/sLWOVBT8Kn— ESPN (@espn) February 24, 2018
Tuesday: Pitt's season mercifully comes to an end with a 67-64 loss to Notre Dame in the opening round of the ACC tournament . The Panthers gamely fight to the end, but in what was his final in-game huddle as Pitt coach, Stallings memorably tries to break a dry-erase board over his leg – but fails, so he uses it to draw up a play.
Kevin Stallings tries to break his clipboard and when he's unsuccessful he realizes he actually needs to draw something up pic.twitter.com/syCxvDKCWK— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) March 6, 2018
Thursday: Pitt announces the firing of Stallings .
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.