St. Bonaventure basketball coach Mark Schmidt pulled his name from consideration for the same job at the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday, hours before the Panthers hired Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel to take over a struggling program coming off a winless season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Schmidt was among several candidates who interviewed for the Pitt job in the nearly three weeks since Kevin Stallings was fired. Schmidt guided the Bonnies to a 26-9 record that included 13 straight victories, a second-place finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference and its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1970.
"Your name is always going to come up in these things when you have a successful season, or successful seasons," Schmidt said Tuesday. "I was flattered that my name was mentioned and Pitt was interested. I'm happy where I'm at. Hopefully, we can continue to build on what we've done at Bonaventure."
Schmidt said he decided to pull his name from consideration in part because the hiring process took so long. While it appears he'll return to St. Bonaventure, there remains a chance another school could hire him. He's making about $900,000 per year, some of which is paid by donors. Schools from power conferences pay coaches twice as much or more.
Xavier coach Chris Mack was named Louisville's head coach Tuesday afternoon. Schmidt was an assistant at Xavier under Skip Prosser before becoming a head coach. With Mack's departure, Schmidt could be in line to replace him. Schmidt is only 11 victories away from becoming the winningest coach in Bona history.
"You never know what's going to happen in the future," Schmidt said Tuesday, prior to the news that Mack was leaving Xavier. "It's been going on for three or four years now, which is humbling. But at the same time I have a really good job at Bonaventure. My family is really happy there. The people have treated me really well. The support we get from the alumni is tremendous. I'm happy."
University at Buffalo coach Nate Oats also was considered for the Pitt job. It appears he's staying barring unforeseen circumstances. The Bulls reached the Big Dance for the third time in four years and are expected to be better next season. UB actually has a better team than Pitt, and Oats' stock could soar.
The Bonnies, under Schmidt, had their best season in nearly 50 years while posting records for victories in a season and consecutive victories over Atlantic 10 rivals after starting the season 2-4 in the conference. Bona beat Maryland before taking down Syracuse in the Carrier Dome for the first time in program history.
St. Bonaventure earned an at-large invitation to the Big Dance and beat UCLA in a First Four game in Dayton before losing to Florida in Dallas. Guard Jaylen Adams was named conference Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Davidson's Peyton Aldridge, and was named first-team all-conference along with backcourt mate Matt Mobley.
Schmidt is widely considered among the best coaches in the A-10, largely because he has effectively recruited players to one of the smaller Division I programs in the country and made it work. In recent years, he earned a reputation for squeezing more from his program than any coach in the conference.
Pitt, which finished 0-18 in the ACC, appeared to be looking for someone with a higher profile rather than the best coach, perhaps in response to public backlash after Schmidt became a candidate. Schmidt pulled Bona from the ruins when he arrived in 2007, restored credibility and this year won 20 or more games for a third straight season.
Years from now, Pitt may regret not hiring him.
"There's no disappointment at all," Schmidt said. "I have a really good job. There's a lot of people in this country that would love to have the job that I have."