Sean Miller, Arizona head coach- The 47-year old Miller is the only possible guaranteed slam dunk on the list, even though, like Jamie Dixon, he still hasn't made it to the Final Four. As everybody knows, Miller is a western PA native and a Pitt alum. And that emotional aspect is Pitt's only real chance to sway him because Arizona is a better program. Miller is very open to returning back east, and flirted with the Maryland job a few years ago. But the Maryland program is better than Pitt's program, too. Would he give up a better job, where, along with UCLA, he is at the best program, or go to Pitt and be at best the fourth best program behind North Carolina, Duke, and Louisville (and that's the very optimistic, absolutely best case case scenario ranking)? It will all come down to just how much he would love to coach at Pitt, and only he knows that- until you call him.
Archie Miller, Dayton head coach- Well, this is awkward. I can imagine Archie on the phone now. "Didn't you already ask my brother first?" Of course I'm joking because Archie will known that Sean is an alum so he comes first. But it's that alum angle that will also make it hard to land Archie. The 37-year old already has a good job so he's in no hurry to move on. And when he does, what connection does he really have at Pitt? Yes, he's from western PA but he didn't go to school there and was only around 12 when Sean graduated. And he hasn't been living in the Pittsburgh area for 20 years. He did go to North Carolina State, though, which is an equal program to Pitt, and they will probably fire Mark Gottfried in the next year or two. It's much more realistic that he'll wait for that job, but it doesn't hurt to at least call.
Chris Mack, Xavier head coach- At 46, he was Sean Miller's replacement, and he has been there for seven years. He did almost take the California job a few years ago, and many thought it was because he wasn't fond of the AD. Does that mean he could be had? Maybe. But it seems unlikely that it will be Pitt. Many consider Xavier an equal program to Pitt, and it's his alma mater. Sure he could want a change, maybe want to test himself in the ACC, and for that it's worth a call. Especially if he really isn't a fan of his AD. As a bonus, he's bring Bill Murray to the Pete since Murray's son, Luke, is an assistant for Mack. But Mack can, and probably would do better, if he really wanted out, so he's unlikely.
IF/WHEN THOSE ALL FAIL
Kevin Keatts, UNC-Wilmington head coach- One of the fastest rising coaches in the country, Keatts was coaching at powerhouse prep school Hargrave Military Academy just five years ago. After a short stint as Rick Pitino's assistant, and ace recruiter, at Louisville, he's spent two very successful seasons as a head coach. He's just 43, he's an ace recruiter in both his native Virginia and up the eastern seaboard, he has a great personality, and he plays a fun style of basketball. He's also be the first major head coach at Pitt to be an African American. The downside? He was at Louisville when the prostitute shenanigans were going on, and Pitt will really have to do their due diligence to make sure his name won't come up in any way.
Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa head coach- The 45-year old North Dakota native has been at Northern Iowa for a very successful ten years, but the state of Iowa is the furthest east he's ever been as a player or coach. Of course the same could be said of Ben Howland before he came to Pitt so he could adapt. As a bonus he played at North Dakota and he wouldn't be leaving Pitt to coach there.
Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin head coach- Already 52, but that won't be a deal breaker. What may be a deal breaker, though, is that he's a midwestern guy that will be in demand by midwestern schools. For instance, he played at Kansas State, and that would be an ideal spot for him eventually, if he doesn't take a similar job first. But he's been at SFA for 3 years and is 89-14. If he's not already earmarked for someone else, he's worth looking into.
Bryce Drew, Valparaiso head coach- The former Valparaiso star, and former first round pick, has been the head coach at his alma mater for five years. But he has almost left a few times to schools not quite at Pitt's level. He's ready to make a move and the ACC would be a helluva move for him. From a great basketball family, his father, Homer, was the head coach at Valparaiso for many years, and his brother, Scott, is the head coach at Baylor. He is exactly what I can see Pitt wanting- talented, extremely smart, and a solid person.
Jerod Haase, UAB- The former California and Kansas player coached at Kansas and North Carolina for Roy Williams, and the last four years he's been at UAB where in his fourth year this year he won the conference and went 26-7 overall. The California native is still just 41 years old. He's somewhat that's considered to go up a level. Of course if he ever succeeds, you'd have to wonder if he'd leave for Kansas.
Dan Hurley, Rhode Island head coach- The son of great New Jersey high school coaching legend Bob Hurley, and brother of Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley (see below), the 43-year old was actually courted a few times by Jamie Dixon to be an assistant. That was when Hurley was at New Jersey high school powerhouse St. Benedict's Prep. Instead he waited for a head coach coach, and got it at Wagner where he went 25-2 in his second year. That got him the job at Rhode Island where in his third year he improved the program to a 23-10 record. A 17-15 season followed this year, but that he's still considered an excellent candidate by many. He turned down the Rutgers job very recently, but the Pitt job is much better.
Bobby Hurley, Arizona State head coach- The former Duke legend, and former NBA player, was out of basketball for awhile until he took the job at Buffalo in 2013. After two seasons of 19-10 and 23-10, he moved on to Arizona State last year. He was only 17-15 in his lone year at the school, but he doesn't have his players yet. He's also a bit of a hothead who got thrown out of a game against Arizona this year in a very dramatic way. Money should not be a huge issue for him since he's already wealthy from his NBA days, and I can definitely see him wanting to back east and coach in the ACC.
Chris Beard, Arkansas-Little Rock head coach- This is such an off the radar sleeper that I hesitated even putting him on there, but make no mistake about it, this guy is a future star. Just 43 years old, the Texan didn't even play basketball in college, but his passion for the sport both on and off the court has made him a beloved figure everywhere he's been. He was only a coach in D-1 this year, but he was 30-5 and upset Purdue in the first round. And this was a team that won 13 games last year.
Will Wade, Virginia Commonwealth head coach- A former VCU assistant, he came back to coach after two successful years at Chattanooga. In his first year at VCU he finished 25-11. He has future star written all over him, but VCU is a good job and he's just 33 years old. Probably too young for Pitt, plus he can afford to wait for his alma mater, Clemson.
Russell Turner, California-Irvine head coach- One of the better unknown coaches in the country, the 45-year old has been at Cal-Irvine for the last six years, and he's had 21 or more wins in each of the last four, including 25 this season. A native of Virginia (a big plus), Turner was a brilliant student that was a small college star at Hampden-Sydney, a small school in Virginia. He also was an assistant for Dave Odom at Wake Forest when the Demon Deacons were a power, and for Mike Montgomery at Stanford when they were excellent. He turned down an offer from George Mason last season.
Andy Enfield, USC head coach- The one time wunderkind of Florida Gulf Coast, the 46-year old has been at USC for three years, and turned the program around this season with a 21-12 season. He also has a fun, fast paced style that Pitt fans would love. The only reason I have him on the list is that he's from PA (Shippensburg) so maybe he will want to come back to the east and coach in the ACC. It's a long shot, but it's worth looking into.