UMass basketball: Pittsburgh hires Tory Verdi away from Minutewomen

Staff Reports

Published: 04-07-2023 11:13 AM

After another impressive season with the UMass women’s basketball program, head coach Tory Verdi is heading elsewhere.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Noah Hiles broke the news Thursday night that Verdi, who was hired by UMass in 2016, informed his team he had accepted the head coaching job at the University of Pittsburgh.

Verdi confirmed the report via text message with Daily Hampshire Gazette reporter Hannah Bevis late Thursday night. 

“The last 7 years have been an unbelievable journey for me. From day one, I had an administration that believed in me and walked with me every step of the way. I want to thank Ryan Bamford and Kirsten Britton for all of their support. The successes that we have had are the sole reason for my next opportunity,” Verdi said via text to the Gazette. “I want to thank my players and staff for all their time and effort. We built something special! What was once a struggling program is now a front runner for championships. I love my players and can only hope they continue to create special moments. I want to thank our fans. I so appreciate you coming out and supporting us. Much love!” 

Pitt made the announcement official early Friday morning. 

"Tory Verdi owns an outstanding track record of elevating basketball programs on and off the floor," said Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke. "This has been evident at each of his coaching stops, both collegiate and professional, during his 28-year career. I saw this firsthand when we worked together at Eastern Michigan, where his blueprint for success completely revitalized our program. Tory continued that exceptional work at Massachusetts, transforming a losing program into Atlantic 10 champions.” 

UMass posted farewell messages on the women’s basketball programs Twitter pages, thanking Verdi for his dedication to the program. Athletic director Ryan Bamford also emphasized the school’s continued commitment to finding a strong replacement coach.

“I want to thank Tory Verdi for his commitment to building a championship program over the last seven years,” Bamford said. “Our investment in women’s basketball is at an all-time hihh, which breeds excitement for our future under a new leader. I look forward to introducing our new head coach to our team and community very soon.” 

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Verdi went 128-86 in seven seasons with the Minutewomen, including an Atlantic 10 Tournament title and subsequent NCAA Tournament berth in 2022. UMass won the A-10 regular season title this past season, ultimately falling to Saint Louis in the conference championship game. The Minutewomen reached the second round of the WNIT and had their season come to an end with a loss to Harvard on March 20.

Since then, Verdi’s name has been linked to the Pitt job, which was vacated when the school parted ways with Lance White on March 3. The job will re-connect Verdi with Lyke, as the two worked together previously at Eastern Michigan. Verdi was hired away from EMU by UMass AD Ryan Bamford in 2016 after a 72-61 mark over four seasons.

TRANSFER PORTAL

With the announcement of Verdi leaving, UMass women’s basketball players immediately began to enter the transfer portal. Junior guard Ber’Nyah Mayo posted on her social media that she would be entering the transfer portal roughly two hours after Verdi’s departure was made official. 

Mayo has been a consistent presence on the floor over her three seasons at UMass, making the starting rotation as a freshman and never leaving it. She averaged 34.6 minutes a game and posted a .414 career field goal percentage. In the 2022-23 season, she made the A-10 All-Conference second team and was named to the A-10 All-Tournament team at the Atlantic 10 championships. 

This story is developing and will be updated.]]>