If you had told me two months ago that Pat Narduzzi and Heather Lyke weren’t going to be seeing eye to eye, I’d have said you were crazy. After all, Narduzzi was on the search committee that eventually recommended the hire of Lyke to replace Scott Barnes.
However, that line of thinking may not be too far out of line.
Multiple sources have told Pittsburgh Sports Now that over the last couple of weeks, the relationship between Narduzzi and Lyke has become strained.
What’s the source of this divide between Pitt’s head of athletics and football coach?
The biggest issue right now is the subject of tarping the upper deck of Heinz Field. For a number of reasons, the subject matter has upset Narduzzi.
Lyke publicly raised the possibility last week without consulting or getting Narduzzi’s input, which didn’t go over well. Considering that he’s the highest-profile coach and person it will impact, a conversation was probably warranted.
Secondly, the idea was brought up publically without much if any discussion within the athletic department. How much would this cost? How much of Heinz Field would be tarped off? How would this financially effect the Pitt season ticket holders?
Finally, Narduzzi, who is not in favor of tarping off seats, believes it would negatively impact his recruiting and let Lyke and others know that other coaches have already started using it against Pitt.
Tarping off seats at Heinz Field isn’t the only source of friction.
Getting more money for assistants is a common practice in college sports. Unless you’re at a powerhouse program like Alabama, LSU, etc., assistants aren’t paid in the same tax bracket as the head coach. For that reason, the head coach appreciates the hours and efforts of his staff and tries to get them more money.
Narduzzi is trying to do just that and it’s being met with resistance from Lyke and Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.
Speaking of assistants, when a team doesn’t win in college or professionally, it’s common for changes to be made on the teams staff.
I can tell you that Narduzzi doesn’t want to make any changes with his assistants. On Thursday, he came out in total support of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.
Was that just a coincidence? What will happen if Narduzzi is asked to make changes when he doesn’t want to?
Keep in mind that college coaching staffs are expanding to 10 next year so there is going to be a ton of movement amongst assistants this offseason. Staying static might be hard, even if Pitt wants to.
The point of all this isn’t to suggest Narduzzi is leaving Pitt. It’s just to point out that like at a lot of athletic offices and work places, employees and bosses don’t always agree and this relationship between coach and AD is one to watch as we approach the football offseason.