With the news that Pitt’s highest paid, and its highest profile staff member, Jamie Dixon, Men’s Basketball Head Coach for 13 years (and assistant for four years) was leaving for his alma mater, TCU, I immediately thought that Athletic Director Scott Barnes will have a chance to make his first high profile hire to his coaching staff.
However, after further review, Barnes has already made one pretty impressive hire.
The ambitious hiring of Jay Vidovich to become Pitt’s new Head Men’s Soccer Coach in December — already shows that Barnes has the support of Pitt’s administration to try to bring in the best possible coaching candidates that are out on the market.
Barnes has brought in one of the top college soccer coaches in the country who is a proven winner.
Vidovich was a two-time National Coach of the Year at Wake Forest, where he coached for 21 years before a stint with USL’s Portland Timbers 2 in 2015.
Props to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s John Harris for a nice feature on Vidovich back in January.
Also, here’s a good video to learn more about the coach who had an impressive 272-121-50 record at Wake, including one National Championship.
It seems with someone of Vidovich’s caliber, it should be a matter of time before Pitt will be able to start to work their way back to the road to respectability.
In its first three seasons in the ACC, Pitt men’s soccer has yet to earn a win, going 0-22-5 in conference play and were outscored 22-1 in conference games last season.
With Vidovich, they at least begin to gain credibility instantly in the eyes of top recruits.
While Vidovich’s reputation precedes itself, he still has his work cut out for him. Despite his enormous previous successes, the ACC is loaded with talent and great teams that have much more long and storied traditions of soccer successes.
While Stanford won the National Championship at College Cup last December, one of the National Semifinals was played between two ACC teams (Syracuse/Clemson). And you also might recall that one-time Pittsburgh Riverhounds goalkeeper was the starting netminder of University of Virginia’s National Championship team in 2014.
Quite simply, the ACC is loaded in soccer.
And Pitt is doing what it has to get back to respectability first – and then hopefully can change the direction of its soccer program.
The bottom line will be — with local area that doesn’t have a track record for developing top-notch players as many of their ACC opponents do, will Vidovich be able to recruit well enough to turn Pitt’s program around?
It’s not impossible, but it will likely take a few years for Vidovich to turn things around for Pitt men’s soccer.