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Stalling Out: ACC Coaches With Winless Seasons

Pitt’s Kevin Stallings is on the verge of an accomplishment no one wants.

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NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Pittsburgh
Feb 21, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Kevin Stallings reacts on the sidelines against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. 
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Pittsburgh helped Boston College and Wake Forest end long ACC road losing streaks, and dropped to 0-17 after getting crushed at home by Virginia, it retains one final chance to escape ignominy when it travels to Notre Dame on the last day of February.

It may be that the struggles of the ‘18 Panthers, winless in the ACC, are a reflection of bad luck. But to some extent you make your own luck. Even before the season started coach Kevin Stallings made himself a bit of a pariah among recruits by attempted strong-arm tactics to keep grad student Cameron Johnson from transferring to the school of his choice. He blamed it on school policy.

Stallings already had seen a wave of player departures among those who’d experienced his coaching in 2017, his first season after leaving Vanderbilt.

This year’s squad has 11 new players, and lost veteran Ryan Luther to injury. Struggle was expected, and delivered.

The 0-17 Panthers have just two losses by single-digit margins, defeats at home by NC State (68-72) and Syracuse (55-60). Their average margin of defeat in ACC action is 19.4 points.

Even in the non-league preseason Pitt managed only eight wins, the last over Towson on Dec. 22.

Attendance has plummeted at the once raucous Petersen Events Center, reaching a low of 2,399 against High Point in late November at the 12,508-seat arena. For the season, the team is attracting an average of 4,160 spectators, last in the ACC and about a third of capacity.

Pitt is one game away from becoming just the seventh team in the ACC’s 65 years in which a member finished without a win, the second since the league went to 15 teams in 2014. Is this coincidence or a product of the expanded ACC?

Teams That Went Winless Through an Entire Season
(2018 Through Feb. 24)
ACC School Year Overall Coach Next Yr ACC
0-9 Clemson 1954 5-18 Banks McFadden 0-14
0-14 Clemson 1955 2-21 Banks McFadden 1-13
0-14 Georgia Tech 1981 4-23 Dwane Morrison 3-11
0-14 Wake Forest 1986 8-21 Bob Staak 2-12
0-14 Maryland 1987 9-17 Bob Wade 6-8
0-18 Boston College 2016 7-25 Jim Christian 2-16
0-17 Pittsburgh 2018 8-22 Kevin Stallings TBD

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