Prosser says no to Pitt

The University of Pittsburgh's hastily conducted search for a new mens basketball coach is set to conclude in the next 24 – 48 hours. However, Skip Prosser of Wake Forest will not factor into the equation.<br><br>

Prosser signed a 10-year contract extension with the Demon Deacons today. Figures were not disclosed.

"It has been a difficult couple of days, but I'm thrilled with the outcome. Wake Forest is an environment in which I feel very comfortable. I'm glad the last few days are over," Prosser said.

Assistant coach and "player's choice" Jamie Dixon seems to be Pitt's consolation prize,  although Bobby Gonzalez of Manhattan college may still be contacted to sign a contract. Dixon was granted an interview, but his lack of experience clearly scares Pitt officials.

Prosser, who grew up in nearby Carnegie, was targeted as Pitt's top choice earlier in the week. Interim athletic director Mark Boehm and Pitt's chancellor Mark Nordenberg interviewed him at the Final Four in New Orleans. They haven't shown much interest in any other outside coaching sources.

Prosser, the Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, had received overwhelming support from Wake Forest fans and officials to return to the Deacons. Students and fans have petitioned and e-mailed Prosser by the hundreds in hopes of swaying his decision.

Dixon seems to be Pitt's logical and safe choice. Current highly-touted recruits Chris Taft and Aaron Gray have decided to hold off a final decision on attending Pitt until the coaching situation resolves itself. If Pitt hires Dixon, Gray has stated he will attend, but Taft, the gem of the bunch, may take a little more convincing.

Nevertheless, Prosser's decision to stick loyally with the program that he helped build to an ACC regular season championship this year is another bitter pill for Pitt officials and fans to swallow.

Former coach Ben Howland broke his contract with the Panthers to go home to UCLA in a move highly scrutinized by media and fans alike. Prosser's decision to not return to his hometown is ironic salt rubbed into the wound.

 

John Biles
PittInsiders.com

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