Dear AD Heather Lyke,
I attended your Pitt “Panthers on the Prowl” event hosted by the Pitt Alumni Association Friday evening in Washington, DC. First off let me thank you for doing this as I believe most attendees enjoyed their time there. Please try to make it an annual event if possible.
Personally I feel you missed a great opportunity to engage fans and alumni in meaningful discussion regarding Pitt athletics and the status of the athletic department, as well as the three major sports (football, basketball and women’s volleyball) represented at the event. The fact that Pitt ranks almost dead last in the ACC’s alumni donations to athletics should have led you to truly engaging potential donors instead of rolling out a dog and pony show.
You allotted two hours for the duration of the event, however anything meaningful at all could have been done with an egg timer given how sparse anything of substance was. I get it – some fans want to have their picture taken with their college head coach. The personal reasoning behind that eludes me but clearly that was the apparently the main thrust of this event.
By my watch your question and answer segment – which I believe would have been the most valuable part of the evening had it actually been sincere – lasted only 15 minutes. The shortness of it was too bad really – had you chose to take questions from the attendees we would have been able to ask about the status of issues you yourself have been advertising like crazy.
For instance I would have asked about the exciting “Victory Heights” initiative rather than having the evening’s Emcee ask the HCs the insipid question of “How do your players ‘stay hungry‘ over the offseason?” Please spare us the coach talk. The Q & As were so ridiculous that we would have gotten better answers had we consulted a Magic 8 Ball. I’d like to know how the “Fan Committee” had any real input into making Pitt athletics more palatable to the average fan… and your Magic 8 Ball would have replied “Reply hazy, try again.”
Instead we had the emcee actually preface a question to the basketball HC, Jeff Capel, with this bon mot – “Coach, you had an incredible season in 2018!” At that point I slid off my chair, went into the fetal position and covered my ears. Not to be too picky but an in-conference .167 winning percent isn’t anywhere close to ‘incredible’. Maybe next time say something like “Coach, congratulations, your first year showed real marked improvement over the 2017 season…” which would have been very true.