Ben Howland sees Pitt’s growth under Capel, challenge in Mississippi State

DAYTON, Ohio — Jeff Capel and Ben Howland have some similarities when it comes to their coaching tenure at Pitt, with the biggest of those being the state of the program when they took it over.

Like it was when Capel took over in 2018, the Pitt program was a complete mess when Ben Howland was hired in 1999, taking over for Ralph Willard. Prior to “Gentle Ben’s” arrival, the Panthers had registered losing records in five of the previous six seasons and hadn’t qualified for the NCAA Tournament in six years.

Although Pitt struggled in his first season, going just 13-15, that would be the end of losing for the Panthers for a long time. Starting in Howland’s second year, Pitt had a winning record for the next 16 seasons and the Panthers qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 13 of 16 years, missing postseason play just once.

Read the full story from our partners at Sports Now Group Pittsburgh here.

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