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Another Big-Name Coach Is Denying Interest In Pitt Job

A Pitt cheerleader on the basketball court.

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 14: Cheerleaders perform on the court prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the North Carolina Tarheels during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Is anyone going to take the head coaching job at Pitt? Right now, the Panthers appear to be striking out, and Washington's Mike Hopkins is the latest coach to deny any interest.

Rhode Island's Dan Hurley had been the name most often connected to the ACC opening. Pitt had reportedly offered him a deal worth $3 million annually.

Today, Hurley was officially announced as the new head coach at UConn. The Huskies have a more rich basketball tradition than the Panthers, but are stuck in the AAC while Pitt joined the ACC along with Syracuse back in 2013.

Sean Miller is a native son of Pitt, and a former Panthers point guard. There have been reports that he would leave Arizona and the turmoil there behind to take over the Panthers.

On Wednesday, he announced that he is not a candidate for the job. Arizona put out a release saying as much.

Hopkins, who just finished up his first season as Washington head coach after decades as Jim Boeheim's top assistant at his alma mater Syracuse, was dropped as a name to remember by ESPN's Jeff Goodman on Wednesday night. While it makes sense on paper, most around both UW and Syracuse didn't buy that he'd take over the vacant ACC job.

Mike Hopkins found a lot of success in his first season at Washington.

Inheriting a team that went 9-22 despite having the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz, Hopkins led the now Fultz-less Huskies to a 21-13 record, and a 10-8 mark in the Pac-12. For his efforts, he was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

He addressed the rumors during a press conference this afternoon. From The Seattle Times:

“Don’t believe what you read,” Hopkins said. “Three months ago I was (reportedly) involved with three different jobs. At the end of the day, me and my family are exceptionally happy here.

“I work for a great leader in (athletic director) Jen Cohen. I wanted to go some place where we can build something special and be part of a great organization and surround yourself with great people. And I think I’ve done that. I love it here. Looking forward to building on what we did this year. I think we can make another major step forward. It’s simple.”

If Mike Hopkins leaves Washington in the next few years, most expect it would be to take over for Jim Boeheim at his alma mater, or a similar-level job. Pitt has been very strong in the recent past, but right now it is clearly not a destination for top coaching talent, in the shape in which Kevin Stallings left the program.

[The Seattle Times]