Two days after reports surfaced that Pittsburgh had bagged its new head coach, that move has officially come to fruition.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Pitt announced that Pat Narduzzi has indeed been tabbed as the 37th head coach in the history of the football program. Narduzzi will replace Paul Chryst, who left earlier this month after three years on the job to take the same position at Wisconsin.
Narduzzi turned into one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the country during his tenure at Michigan State
“Our goal was not only to find the best football coach but also a person who would uphold the values and mission of the University of Pittsburgh. In Pat Narduzzi we have found that person,” said Pitt’s acting athletic director Dr. Randy Juhl in a prepared statement. “His achievements on the football field are well documented. Pat is widely regarded as a rising star in the coaching profession who is ready to lead his own program.
“It was obvious from our conversations that he also embraces the responsibilities he has beyond the game. Pat wants to impact the lives of his student-athletes long after their Pitt careers end. We are excited about what our young men can accomplish, on and off the field, under his watch.”
Narduzzi has spent the past 11 seasons on Mark Dantonio-led coaching staffs, three coming at Cincinnati (2004-06) and eight at Michigan State (2007-present). This will be Narduzzi’s first head-coaching job at the FBS level.
He will delay getting a full-time headstart on this phase of his career, however, as Narduzzi confirmed that he will coach MSU’s defense in the Cotton Bowl against Baylor.
“I am very honored to be the new head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh,” said Narduzzi. “I want to thank Chancellor Gallagher, Executive Vice Chancellor Jerry Cochran, Dr. Randy Juhl and Donna Sanft for providing me with this tremendous opportunity. It is an honor to join a program with such great history and tradition. I am very eager to begin working with the young men who are already in the program and meet people throughout the Pitt community. We are going to work very hard on the field, in the classroom and in the community to make the University of Pittsburgh proud.”
In addition to it being his first job as head coach, Narduzzi became the first current defensive coordinator to land a head-coaching job during this season’s spinning of the coaching carousel.
Of the 12 previous coaching hires made at the FBS level in 2014, five have been current FBS offensive coordinators while a wide receivers coach (David Beaty, Kansas) landed a sixth. Four others were current FBS head coaches, and the other two were head coaches atDiv. III (Lance Leipold, Buffalo) and high school programs (Tony Sanchez, UNLV).
With Narduzzi’s hiring being made official, Michigan is now the lone remaining FBS program without a head coach. That’s likely to remain the case through the early part of next week as UM awaits word on whether they can land Jim Harbaugh.