PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan/AP)- Pat Narduzzi stood just outside the doorway, hands stuffed inside his pants pockets, and glanced at nine national championship trophies highlighting the proud history of a program churning in mediocrity. The youngest gold football is nearly 40 years old. By the math of the latest coach charged with restoring Pittsburgh to relevance, that’s far too long.
“We need to put another one in there,” Narduzzi said.
KDKA’s Rich Walsh’s 1-on-1 with Pat Narduzzi:
The work begins now.
The Panthers officially named the longtime Michigan State defensive coordinator as their fifth head coach in five years on Friday during a press conference at the team’s South Side facility, the search committee unanimous in its belief the energetic 48-year-old can give Pitt the traction it desperately needs to find its place in the new-look ACC.
Narduzzi fills the vacancy left by Paul Chryst who left the program nine days ago to return to his alma mater, Wisconsin.
“Today is the beginning of a dream come true for me and my family,” Narduzzi said. “I hope it’s a dream that will last many years to come.”
Narduzzi comes to Pitt after serving the past eight years as the defensive coordinator at Michigan State. His Spartans have been ranked in the top 10 of the Division 1-A defense the past four seasons.
He is a Youngstown, Ohio, native and he said Pittsburgh just feels like a perfect fit for him and that it feels like home.
“I knew this was the place,” Narduzzi said. “I was going to go after this job, and I wanted this job.”
Narduzzi’s father served as head coach of Youngstown State from 1975-85. He still keeps a pair of his father’s wingtips in his closet and still has the street address of his childhood home committed to memory.
Narduzzi, 48, is the Panthers’ fifth coach since 2010. He will return to coach the Spartans in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1 before returning to the Panthers.
He says his Pitt team will play a tough, physical, blue collar-type of football that will make the City of Pittsburgh proud.
The Fan’s interview with Pat Narduzzi (Pt. 1):