The Pitt Panthers coaching search is reaching the final stages and increasing talk among Pitt boosters and university officials is that the school is confident of making an hire in the next 24-48 hours.

Two candidates have now emerged as finalists with the process accelerating and negotiations intensifying.[hide]

One is Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings who looks to be emerging as Pitt’s preferred candidate and is expected to be offered the job based on the university engaging into discussions with Vanderbilt about a buyout.

Stallings, 55, has been at Vanderbilt for the last 17 years, reaching the NCAA Tournament just seven times during that span. Stallings has a record of 6-9 in the NCAA Tournament with no final four trips.

A hiring of Kevin Stallings is not likely to sit well with Pitt fans and for those group of fans, the wrong candidate sometimes gets leaked as the likely hire, so there’s that to hope for.

Stallings, though is certainly one of the final two candidates.

It’s unclear who the other mystery finalist is. Pitt officials have been extremely high on USC’s Andy Enfield, a top choice among many boosters, but a much more difficult hire than someone like Stallings who Vanderbilt is trying to get rid of in the worst way. The belief has been that Enfield prefers to stay at USC.

Paul Zeise of the Post-Gazette has reported that North Carolina-Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts is someone AD Scott Barnes is very intrigued about. Keatts did interview but has the Louisville thing hanging over his head that could scare some top Pitt officials. Zeise has also thrown Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Linc Darner’s name out there as someone who might have interviewed that hasn’t been confirmed.

The Panthers kept things very quiet on Stallings until now so the mystery candidate might be somebody whose not out there yet.

Story Developing. [/hide]