A day after a vacancy to be head coach at Michigan State opened up, former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said he is not a candidate for the job. Narduzzi reportedly mulled over the possibility of being the next head coach of the Spartans overnight and confirmed his commitment to the Panthers on Wednesday.
“I’m here at Pitt and I want to be here at Pitt,” Narduzzi said when speaking with the media at a signing day press conference on Wednesday (according to PGH Sports Now). “That’s where I want to be.”
Mark Dantonio resigned as Michigan State’s head coach abruptly on Tuesday. Dantonio stepped down as head coach on the eve of the second National Signing Day, bringing an end to his 13-year run as head coach of the Spartans. Although Mike Tressel has been named the program’s interim head coach, Michigan State is currently conducting a national search for its next head coach. Narduzzi was quickly pegged as a likely candidate for the job.
Before taking the opportunity to become a head coach at Pittsburgh in 2015, Narduzzi had been a long-time assistant under Dantonio. When Dantonio left his position as defensive coordinator at Ohio State to become the head coach at Cincinnati in 2004, Dantonio hired Narduzzi from Miami Ohio to be his defensive coordinator with the Bearcats. After three seasons at Cincinnati, Dantonio was hired by Michigan State to be its new head coach in 2007. Dantonio brought Narduzzi with him to continue serving in the same role as a defensive coordinator. Narduzzi held that job in East Lansing for eight seasons before getting a job offer from Pitt to be the head coach. The 2020 season will be Narduzzi’s sixth season as head coach of the Panthers.
Not surprisingly, Narduzzi and Pitt Athletics Director Heather Lyke were sure to touch base and get on the same page on short notice once news of Dantonio’s resignation spread.
“We talked about the situation that presented itself yesterday afternoon and wanted to make sure he knew that we wanted him to be at Pitt,” Lyke said, according to PGH Sports Now. “It’s a relationship business, that’s what we’re in, and so I just connected with him and got his thoughts on what he was thinking.”
We don’t typically talk about coaches and signing day decisions for head coaches, but this may be the best signing day news for Pitt football the program could have asked for. Earlier today, it was reported Michigan State also swung and missed on Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell. Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell may not be in the running either.