One year ago today the University of Pittsburgh made one of the best decisions they’ve made in a very long time.
After repeated failures following the firing of Dave Wannstedt, Pitt hired long-time Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.
It would be an understatement to say that the school hit a grand slam with Narduzzi.
The success and impact of Narduzzi goes well beyond the 8 wins this season. “Duzz” and his assistants have built a foundation that will bring success over the foreseeable future.
In my opinion, the the most important thing Narduzzi and company have done is brought life to the Pitt football program.
In my 20 years at KDKA TV, I’ve never witnessed this type of excitement for Pitt football. Prior to Narduzzi, Pitt football talk ended after the last game of the season. That’s certainly not the case now. Go on Twitter or message boards at anytime and someone is bringing up a Pitt topic.
Narduzzi got the excitement going by his masterful use of social media. Starting things like “The Pat Signal”, Birthday wishes, maps of where the Pitt coaches are recruiting, etc has been brilliant as a way to keep fans informed and talking Pitt football.
The other aspect that Narduzzi has rebuilt is the bond between the WPIAL schools and Pitt. That bond was broken when Wannstedt was fired but now is as strong as ever.
From Damar Hamlin, to Lamont Wade to Paris Ford to Donovan Jeter, all the top local talent is seriously considering Pitt. They might not select Pitt, but they’re ALL thinking about them.
The final thing that Pat Narduzzi has brought back is a winning attitude. The football team isn’t going to be second class citizens to anyone.
One of the first things he did was make sure Pitt upgraded the football facilities so that they could compete with the best programs. Mission accomplished. The university spent millions on upgrades and now they’re something that coaches are using as a selling point to recruits. They couldn’t do that before.
Another indicator of Pitt’s new attitude is the type of recruits Pitt is going after. Gone are the days of competing with MAC and non Power 5 schools, Pitt is offering and going after the top talent talent in the country.
Aside from offering uncommitted kids, Pitt is trying to lure kids that have already committed to big schools. There’s a confidence within the program that they have as much to offer as any top school.
Pitt now has stability something that is a must for any successful program. That stability can all be credited to the hiring of Pat Narduzzi.