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Pitino: USF job would be ‘grand slam’ for Masiello


In the week following former USF coach Stan Heath’s dismissal, two potential USF coaching targets have already been signed to new teams. Bruce Pearl and Buzz Williams were good candidates for the job due to their prior success and experience. However, as jobs opened up, Pearl signed a six-year deal with Auburn and Williams inked a seven-year deal with Virginia Tech.

With these two coaches out of the running, a new name has surfaced in the rumor mill: Manhattan coach Steve Masiello.

Last Thursday night, Masiello coached the Jaspers against the Louisville Cardinals in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Masiello played for Louisville coach Rick Pitino in college and moved on to become his assistant coach. As the two men coached together for six seasons, Masiello was able to prepare his team well for the Cardinals.

As the Jaspers nearly upset No. 4 seeded Louisville, holding a lead until 2:35 left in the game when the Cardinals were able to capture the victory, Masiello and his team showed the country they were a force to be reckoned with.

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, with Masiello’s season over, he talked with Pitino on Friday night about the job opening at USF.

Masiello asked Pitino what he thought of the job and Pitino told him “For you, it’s a grand slam.”

CBSSports reported the USF/Masiello connection Saturday afternoon and ESPN confirmed Sunday that Pitino was pitching the idea to Masiello over the weekend.

Masiello has led the Jaspers to a 60-39 record in three years, including winning the conference tournament this season and appearing in the
NCAA tournament.

The official coaching search is being led by Eastman & Beaudine, the same firm that hired newly appointed Athletic Director Mark Harlan. The search is officially set to begin today.