Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi dropped a bombshell on Friday, announcing that offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman will not return for 2019.
With the AFCA coaches convention beginning next week in San Antonio, Texas, it’s likely that Narduzzi will make some connections and possibly even interview some candidates there.
Who are some candidates that he might be taking a look at? Narduzzi is famously close to the vest with all news, and particularly when it comes to coaching searches, but here’s a list of coaches that might makes sense for Narduzzi to pursue:
Luke Getsy, Mississippi State offensive coordinator
A former Pitt and Steel Valley quarterback, Luke Getsy has made quite a name for himself in the coaching ranks. Getsy is currently one three coaches with offensive coordinator in their title at Mississippi State, but it’s head coach Joe Moorhead that’s calling the plays in Starkville, Mississippi.
Getsy has been a play caller just twice in his coaching tenure, at IUP from 2011-12 and West Virginia Wesleyan in 2009. Since then, he spent one year as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 2010, was the wide receivers coach at Western Michigan in 2013 and was offensive quality control coach and then wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers from 2014-17.
Assistant coaches typically have two-year contracts, and Getsy just finished his first season with the Bulldogs, so there may be a buyout involved in addition to competing with an SEC salary, which could make him an expensive hire.
Josh Gattis, Alabama co-offensive coordinator
Another SEC coach with offensive coordinator in his title that’s not currently calling plays is Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis.
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is leaving Tuscaloosa, Alabama to become the head coach at Maryland, but it was quarterbacks coach Dan Enos that was promoted to the play-calling role for 2019.
Gattis is familiar with the region, spending four years at Penn State from 2014-17 as wide receivers coach. He was previously at Vanderbilt in the same role from 2012-13 and Western Michigan in 2011.
A Durham, North Carolina native and a Wake Forest graduate, Gattis is familiar with the ACC recruiting footprint.
Alex Van Pelt, Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach
The former Pitt quarterback and Pittsburgh native has been making his living as an NFL coach since 2006, but he’s spent just one season as a coordinator in the pros, and after the firing of Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, may be looking for a new job this offseason.
Van Pelt spent just one year in Cincinnati after six in Green Bay as the Packers running backs coach and quarterbacks coach. He was also the quarterback coach in Tampa Bay from 2010-11 and offensive quality control coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in Buffalo from 2006-09.
Matt Canada, Maryland offensive coordinator
I don’t think a reunion is in the cards for the former Pitt offensive coordinator and recent Maryland interim head coach. Canada left Pitt because he wanted to be a head coach sooner rather than later and Narduzzi will probably want someone that he can finally keep long-term. That being said, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Narduzzi checked in on his old friend, who still seemingly has a job as Maryland’s offensive coordinator if he wants it and also recently interviewed for the Tennessee job, according to reports out of Knoxville.
Scottie Montgomery, former East Carolina head coach
Montgomery, a former Steelers wide receivers coach, was recently fired after a 9-26 stretch as East Carolina’s head coach.
But the Shelby, North Carolina native and Duke alum has plenty of ACC ties. He spent 2006-09 at his alma mater as the wide receivers coach, did two-year stint with the Steelers in the same position, and then returned to Durham as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator from 2014-18.
With the Steelers, Montgomery coached the likes of Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, sending both Brown and Wallace to the Pro Bowl in 2011.
His last recruiting classes at Duke included potential first-round NFL Draft pick Daniel Jones as a two-star recruit out of Charlotte, North Carolina and top Blue Devils receivers T.J. Rahming and Jonathan Lloyd.
Brad Salem, Michigan State quarterbacks coach
This is the third time we’ve listed Salem, the brother of Pitt tight ends coach Tim Salem, as a potential Pitt offensive coordinator hire. Will the third time be the charm?
The sixth-year Spartans quarterbacks coach runs a pro-style offense at Michigan State and has plenty of personal history with Narduzzi. Before he was quarterbacks coach, he was recruiting coordinator for four consecutive top 25 classes.
Salem has not recently been an offensive coordinator, having jumped to the MSU staff after a stint as head coach at Division II Augustana College. Before that, he was a high school coach, passing game coordinator at FCS South Dakota and offensive coordinator at Division III Luther College.
Ken Dorsey, Appalachian State offensive coordinator
Dorsey just pinballed from FIU’s athletic department to Appalachian State in December, but crazier things have happened his coaching carousel season (see Diaz, Manny).
Dorsey doesn’t have any obvious ties to Pittsburgh or Narduzzi, but was the well-thought of enough to land a job as the Carolina Panthers’ pro scout as his first job after playing. He then went on the be the Panthers quarterbacks coach for five years before spending 2018 at FIU.