Pat Narduzzi, now in his fifth year as the head coach at Pitt, has had some notable ups and downs in his time leading the Panthers. Narduzzi has a record of 35-29 and an ACC Coastal Division title under his belt thus far.
This season Pitt was 7-3 with two games to play in the regular season. They were looking at a tier-one or at least a tier-two ACC bowl bid at the season’s end. Pitt then got embarrassed 28-0 at Virginia Tech and suffered a heartbreaker at home to Boston College 26-19 on Senior Day.
Now at 7-5, the Panthers find themselves headed to Detroit to play in the Quick Lane Bowl against Eastern Michigan from the MAC conference on Dec 26.
But despite the recent bumpy road that Pitt has traveled on, Narduzzi still thinks that the path that he is paving is heading in the right direction.
“We’ve reached the ACC Championship before,” Narduzzi said on Wednesday at his Ford Field press conference. “Our goal is not to just get there. But to get there and win the thing. In the next couple of years, we are going to win one – I guarantee you that.”
A different team has won the ACC Coastal each year since Narduzzi took the Pitt job in 2015. He doesn’t want any parts of the disrespect toward the lack of talent in the ACC compared to the likes of other power five conferences such as the SEC and Big Ten.
“There’s not a game in the ACC Coastal where you say, ‘Oh, this is a win.’, Narduzzi said. “All we’re doing is beating each other up every week.”
With the two straight losses to end their conference schedule and clear disappointing outcomes to what seemed to be a promising season – Narduzzi still has a goal that he has zoned in on for the program in the future.
“I’m happy with where our program is going,” Narduzzi said. “We are looking up at the benchmark in a Clemson football team. They’ve won a National Championship – and that’s the benchmark – That’s what we are striving for.”
Narduzzi said that Pitt will start preparing for Eastern Michigan after this weekend. The next two weeks that his team will get to prepare for the bowl game is a time where he says they can make positive strides as a program going forward.
“If you stop growing daily, then you’re probably going backward,” Narduzzi said. “We are trying to move forward.”