Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Mack: Send It In, Heather

Going After Miller Would Be Slam Dunk

Chris Mack
March 16, 2018 - 8:12 pm

It’s time for Pitt to take their shot.

Only this isn’t a half court shot at the buzzer, or a clutch three from the corner, or even a lay-up line gimme.

This is a no doubter, hang-on-the-rim, “Send it in , Jerome!” kind of slam dunk that Heather Lyke needs to throw down.

If Sean Miller is out at Arizona after a disappointing First Round exit from the NCAA Tournament and under the cloud of an FBI investigation into one of his assistants, Pitt’s A.D. needs to bring Miller back to his alma mater, where the Petersen Events Center would sit filled for every game next year, where Miller would be given a conquering hero’s welcome despite a questionable departure in the desert, and where the athletic department’s margin for error in finding the right person for the job is the only thing more infinitesimal than the fans’ patience.

It’s also time to test the stomach Pitt’s fans and administration have for the kind of high-risk/high-reward maneuver that could vault them back in to the discussion as one of college basketball’s better programs sooner rather than later.

For the better part of Jamie Dixon’s tenure in Oakland, Panther fans grew increasingly frustrated at never breaking through to the Final Four, many of them insisting they’d take victory under the haze of NCAA inquiry over continuing to play clean but finding the second weekend of the tourney to be Pitt’s ceiling under Dixon.

Now that a guy with questionable tactics – and a Pitt guy with a track record of success, no less – could be available, the willingness to go out on a limb and take a risk to win is shriveling up like an undergrad’s liver after a night at Hemingway’s.

Suddenly, nine conference championships and four Elite 8s in 14 years aren’t palatable because someone on a coach’s staff was participating in the same kind of shady tactics that 95% of major college basketball programs deal in?

Look, you either want to play with the big boys in the ACC or you don’t.

You think all of Mike Krzyzewski’s and Roy Williams’ assistants and AAU/shoe company connections are squeaky clean?

What’s the worst that could happen? Miller somehow gets show-caused by the NCAA or indicted by the government and the program has to start from scratch? The team might slowly circle the drain and lose all of their conference games?

How’s that any different from what’s happened the last couple of years?

The possible payoff is too perfect.

A Western Pennsylvania legend who also happens to be the son of another Western Pennsylvania legend comes home for good and spends the final two decades of his career going to the NCAA Tournament year after year and making Pitt basketball what it was on the cusp of becoming ten years ago?

All we’d need to do is find a spot out on Terrace Street for the statue.

There is no better time for Pitt to roll the dice on Miller than right now.

In Oakland they’ve been waiting with remorse for a coach with this kind of pedigree since the moment they pushed Dixon in the direction of Ft. Worth.

Lyke wants The Pete filled.

Fans want to win.

And soon, Miller may need a job.

Seems like a slam dunk.

Send it in, Heather.