Former Pitt Tight End and now NFL Draft Prospect JP Holtz talks about his career at Pitt, Narduzzi, James Conner and the NFL teams he visited.
Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings announced the additions of Tom Richardson and Jeremy Ballard to his coaching staff for the 2016-17 season Friday afternoon. In addition, Stallings will also bring on Dan Cage as director of basketball operations and Garry Christopher as strength and conditioning coordinator.
“I am thrilled with how our staff is coming together,” said Stallings. “Tom has been with me for many years and has always been a big part of our team’s development. Jeremy has a great reputation as a coach and as a recruiter. He will fit in nicely with the rest of our staff as we continue to build on the great tradition of Pitt basketball.”
“Dan and Garry will also be invaluable to the program,” Stallings added. “They have a great feel for how we like to do things and will help instill our standards as we move forward.”
Stallings and his staff inherit a roster that returns six of its top seven scorers from a team that went 21-12 and reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago, including All-ACC performers Michael Young (2016) and Jamel Artis (2015). Young and Artis combined to average 30.1 points per game last season.
The Panthers have one more spot on the coaching staff that is expected to be filled within the next week. Here is a closer look at Stallings’ staff additions:
Assistant Coach Tom Richardson
Richardson comes to Pitt after spending the previous 13 seasons on Stallings’ staff at Vanderbilt. In his time with the Commodores, he helped the team to six NCAA Tournament appearances and saw six players drafted in the NBA. Richardson, widely recognized as an excellent shooting instructor, also spent six seasons on Stallings’ staff at Illinois State before succeeding him as the Redbirds’ head coach. In four season at the helm of the Illinois State program, Richardson compiled a 56-64 record with one NIT appearance and a pair of second place finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Richardson will be in charge of player development, offseason workouts and scheduling, while also assisting Stallings in recruiting.
Assistant Coach Jeremy Ballard
Ballard joins the Panther staff with 12 years of experience as a Division I assistant coach. The Atlanta, Ga., native spent last season on Dan Mueller’s staff at Illinois State helping the Redbirds to an 18-14 record overall, including a 12-6 mark in MVC play. Ballard helped guide VCU to at 79-28 record and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2012-15. He also has coaching stops at Tulsa (2007-12), Mercer and Colgate (2004-07) on his resume. As a player at Colgate, Ballard was a two-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selection and became just the third player in program history to win the prestigious ECAC Merit Medal Award twice.
Ballard will have a strong presence in recruiting as well as with player development, on-court coaching and scouting.
Director of Basketball Operations Dan Cage
Cage will assume the role of director of basketball operations after spending the previous four seasons at Vanderbilt in the same capacity. He also spent two seasons in Nashville as the assistant director of operations. A four-year letterwinner (2003-07) at Vanderbilt, Cage helped the team to two Sweet Sixteen appearances and played in 125 career games (32 starts). As a senior, he averaged 11.2 points per game before embarking on a four-year professional career that included stints in Germany, France and Spain.
Cage’s duties will include assisting with academics, travel, scouting and alumni relations.
Strenght & Conditioning Coach Garry Christopher
Christopher also comes with Stallings from Vanderbilt, where he has spent the past three seasons. Prior to joining the Commodore basketball staff, he spent one season at Purdue working with the softball and women’s tennis teams, while assisting with the men’s basketball program. Christopher, a USAW sports performance coach, is a 2008 Baylor graduate and also has a Master’s degree in kinesiology from San Diego State. He played one season of college basketball at LaTourneau University before turning his attention to strength training and conditioning.