Updated 6 hours ago
Jay Vidovich has been the head men’s soccer coach at Pitt for less than two years, but he understands what it was like for his predecessor, Joe Luxbacher.
“Coach had to deal with a lot of different things,” Vidovich said. “Soccer was put off to the side and neglected (by previous Pitt administrations). Coach was in a no-win situation.
“Then, he was taken from that situation in the Big East and thrown into the ACC. That’s being put out in the ocean without a life raft and then putting bricks on your shoulder. It wasn’t helpful.”
Results over the past six seasons — the most recent four in the powerful ACC — show with black-and-white certainty that Vidovich’s rebuilding job won’t be easy. Pitt hasn’t won a conference game since a 2-0 victory against Seton Hall of the Big East on Oct. 8, 2011. If you insist on counting them up, that’s 49 conference games in a row (0-42-7).
To start this season, Pitt will play an exhibition game Sunday at American in Washington D.C., and another next Saturday at home against VCU. The regular season begins Aug. 25 at Ohio State.
Vidovich is just brash enough to think he can change the culture at Pitt. His resume not only indicates it’s possible, but suggests it’s only a matter of time.
Perhaps former athletic director Scott Barnes’ most enlightened hire in his brief Pitt tenure, Vidovich turned Wake Forest into a national powerhouse over 21 seasons, compiling an overall 272-121-50 record with 13 NCAA Tournament berths and the 2007 national championship in his final 14 seasons.
“We were looking for an impact hire to change the culture and trajectory of the program,” Barnes said before he left for Oregon State. “Jay is, without question, that individual.”
Vidovich spent the 2015 season coaching Portland Timbers 2 in the United Soccer League before Barnes hired him in December of that year.
“It didn’t work out where I was, and…