University of Pittsburgh Director of Athletics Heather Lyke announced Tory Verdi as the 10th head coach in Pitt women’s basketball history Friday morning.
Verdi will be officially introduced as the next head coach of the Pitt women’s basketball team at a press conference Friday afternoon (12 p.m.) at the Petersen Events Center. A live stream of Friday’s press conference will be available HERE.
“Tory Verdi owns an outstanding track record of elevating basketball programs on and off the floor,” said 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. He is a passionate teacher of the game and personally invested in his student-athletes. We are thrilled to welcome Coach Verdi, his wife Heather and children Avery, Bradyn and Tyler to Pitt.”
Verdi comes to Pitt after spending the past seven seasons at Massachusetts where he helped lead the Minutewomen to 128 wins. Verdi guided the program to new heights as it secured its first regular season Atlantic 10 title this past season after earning the program’s first Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2021-22.
“I am beyond excited about this opportunity,” stated Verdi. “From the first time I stepped on campus and in the Pete, I felt at home. It’s time to awake the sleeping giant. I know that we will win and win big. Together, we will move mountains. We will put a product on the floor that our community, city of Pittsburgh and state of Pennsylvania will be proud of. We belong. Change is coming.”
With a wealth of experience at both the collegiate and professional levels, Verdi-coached teams have advanced to postseason play in 17 of the past 22 seasons. Over his seven years in Amherst, Mass., Verdi has turned Massachusetts women’s basketball into a consistent contender in the A-10 and beyond, returning the program to heights not seen since the 1990s.
The 2022-23 season turned into one of the most successful campaigns in program history as the Minutewomen as they posted a 27-7 overall record and a 14-2 A-10 mark while qualifying for the WNIT and advancing to the second round for just the third time in program history. The potent offensive attack posted the highest scoring average (76.2 ppg) since the 1979-80 season and marked the third straight season it has led the A-10 in scoring offense. The offense was led by Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year, Sam Breen, who earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors after averaging 17.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 47.5% from the floor and connecting on 46 three-pointers.
The 2021-22 season shattered glass ceilings and broke records, as the program garnered its first Atlantic 10 Championship title to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first appearance since 1998. On March 5, 2022, UMass topped Saint Joseph’s for Verdi’s 100th win at the helm of Massachusetts to advance to the A-10 Finals. The No. 3-seeded Minutewomen defeated No. 1 seed Dayton in the title game to hoist the A-10 trophy.
Throughout the season, UMass made history receiving votes in a national poll for the first time since the 1994-95 season and earning votes five times during the year. Individually, Massachusetts saw Breen and Destiney Philoxy become the 21st and 22nd Minutewomen to eclipse the 1,000th career point each. Both Philoxy and Breen played in their 100th career games on the year, as well.
Prior to Verdi’s arrival in Amherst, he accumulated a head coaching record of 72-61 across four seasons at Eastern Michigan. His teams advanced to the 2015 and 2016 WNIT, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance, and the Mid-American Conference Championship Game in 2015.
Arriving at EMU for the 2012-13 campaign, he took an 8-22 squad to a record of 24-13 in 2014-15 and 22-12 in 2015-16. He also secured the MAC’s No. 1 recruiting class twice during his tenure.
Under Verdi, the 2015-16 MAC West Division preseason favorite Eagles made their mark in the EMU record books. Defensively, the team totaled the fourth-most rebounds in a single season (1,364), while also ranking seventh all-time in blocks (92) and third in steals (386).
EMU’s high-tempo offense poured in 2,445 points, the third-most in a single season in school history, along with dishing out 435 assists, good for seventh-most. Additionally, the Eagles converted 218 three-pointers, ranking fourth all-time and marking the third consecutive season in which EMU made 200 or more triples.
A large part Verdi’s 2014-15 record-setting performance came from the Eagles late run during the regular season and into postseason play. EMU finished the regular season with wins in its final four games, while also winning seven of its last eight. The Eagles appeared in eight postseason games, winning six of them. The Eagles advanced to the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship, winning four-of-five MAC Tournament games, before advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2015 WNIT. The Eagles rewrote the EMU record book with 124 different all-time top performances, including the most points in a season (2,549), field goals made (936), rebounds (1,539) and three-pointers made (223).
Verdi spent two 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at the Kansas (2010-11, 2011-12). The Jayhawks advanced to the 2012 NCAA Sweet Sixteen and the 2011 WNIT Second Round.
Prior to his arrival in Lawrence, Verdi was an assistant coach at Nebraska for five seasons (2005-10). The Huskers advanced to the postseason every year Verdi served on staff in Lincoln and collected the Big 12 Regular-Season Championship in 2009-10 with a 16-0 conference record. History was made that season as the Huskers secured a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and reached the Sweet Sixteen.
Verdi spent three seasons on staff with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun (2003-05), reaching the postseason during each year and winning the Eastern Conference in 2005.
In 2004-05, Columbia tabbed Verdi the top assistant and eventual interim head coach.
Verdi was inducted into the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame on April 24, 2016.
He graduated from Keene State in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Following that, he completed his master’s degree in computer technology from Hartford in 2003.
A native of New Britain, Connecticut Verdi and his wife Heather have three children, Avery, Bradyn and Tyler.
Year-By-Year With Tory Verdi
Overall Conference Team Accomplishments
Year W-L Pct. W-L Pct.
Columbia (Interim HC)
2004-05 3-7 .300 3-7 .300 —
2012-13 8-22 .267 6-10 .375 —
2013-14 18-14 .563 7-11 .389 WNIT Second Round
2014-15 24-13 .649 11-7 .611 WNIT Third Round
2015-16 22-12 .647 10-8 .556 WNIT Second Round
2016-17 9-21 .300 3-13 .188 —
2017-18 14-16 .467 6-10 .375 —
2018-19 16-16 .500 7-9 .438 —
2019-20 20-11 .645 9-7 .562 NCAA Tournament Canceled
2020-21 16-8 .667 7-5 .583 WNIT Third Round
2021-22 26-7 .788 11-4 .733 NCAA First Round
2022-23 27-7 .794 14-2 .875 WNIT Second Round
CAREER 203-154 (.569) 94-86 (.522) 1 NCAA, 5 WNIT
- Career record: 203-154 (.569)
- 5 WNIT appearances, 1 NCAA Tournament appearance
- Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champions (2023)
- Clinched program’s first No. 1 seed in Atlantic 10 Tournament (2023)
- Set the program record for wins in a season (27)
- Set the program record for Atlantic 10 wins in a season (14; 2023)
- Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year (2023)
- Clinched program’s first Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship (2022)
- Back-to-Back 20+ win seasons for first time in program history (2021-22; 2022-23)
- Two Atlantic 10 Players of the Year (2022, 2023)
- Four All-Conference First Team members
- Six All-Conference Second Team members
- Five All-Conference Defensive Team members
- Three All-Conference Rookie Team members
- Four All-Conference Academic Team members
- 14 Atlantic 10 Conference Players of the Week