Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson and wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman will not return to Pitt for the 2019 season, head coach Pat Narduzzi announced on Friday.
“I want to thank Shawn and Kevin for their efforts and dedication to our program,” Narduzzi said. “Certainly we wish them and their families the very best in their future endeavors.”
The decision comes just five days after Pitt’s Sun Bowl loss to Stanford, when Narduzzi called his level of confidence in his offensive coordinator “high.”
Watson oversaw a Pitt offense that finished 98th in the country in total offense and 94th in the county in scoring offense. The Panthers were especially unable to move the ball through the air, finishing 121st in passing offense. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett had his passer rating drop from 125.8 as a freshman in 2017 to 120.3 as a sophomore.
Narduzzi will be looking for an offensive coordinator for the fourth time in five years. Jim Chaney coached just one year at Pitt before leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Georgia. Matt Canada served one season in 2016 before leaving for the same position at LSU.
Watson came to Pitt after one year as quarterbacks coach at Indiana. He was previously the offensive coordinator at Texas, Louisville, Nebraska and Colorado and the head coach at Southern Illinois.
Sherman was part of Narduzzi’s original staff at Pitt, having spent the last four seasons coaching wide receivers. The only remaining coaches from Narduzzi’s staff are now tight ends coach Tim Salem, running backs coach and special teams coordinator Andre Powell and linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Rob Harley.
Sherman came to Pitt after coaching wide receivers at Purdue, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Ohio, VMI and Methodist.
Both of the players that have already announced they will transfer from Pitt this offseason were coached by Watson and Sherman. Quarterback Ricky Town and wide receiver Darian Street will leave Pitt with eligibility remaining.
Incoming four-star freshman quarterback Davis Beville, the only player that Watson was primarily responsible for recruiting in the 2019 class, has already enrolled at Pitt and is on campus for the start of the spring semester.
Pitt has two wide receivers signed in the class in Jared Wayne from Clearwater Academy International in Florida and Will Gipson from Aliquippa.