PITTSBURGH — Pitt strength and conditioning coach Michael Stacchiotti is new to the program, joining the Panthers earlier this month from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the departure of Dave Andrews.
But some of his ideas aren’t exactly going to new to those that are long-time observers of the Pitt program.
Stacchiotti spent the last two seasons working under Aliquippa native Anthony Piroli, first at Mississippi State and then with the Buccaneers.
Piroli was an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Pitt in 2008-09 under Buddy Morris, who is now the head strength and conditioning coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Morris, also from the Pittsburgh area, had three stints with the Panthers, from 1980-89, 1997-2001 and 2007-10, working under Jackie Sherrill, Foge Fazio, Mark Gottfried, Walt Harris and Dave Wannstedt.
Stacchiotti never directly worked under Morris, but he considers himself part of Morris’ coaching tree, and said he’s inherited many workouts and ideas from Morris and Piroli.
But don’t call it a philosophy.
“To steal a Buddy Morris quite, ‘philosophies are for philosophers,” Stacchiotti said at his introductory press conference last week. “I have an eclectic view of strength and conditioning based on the fundamental principles that apply to the athletes of football.”
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been an influence on Stacchiotti’s work from Morris, Piroli and others that he’s worked for and with.
“A lot of the programming that Buddy implemented, Anthony implemented with the Mississippi State football team where we were at and then with the Buccaneers,” Stacchiotti said. “I just took all of that adapted it to make it my own.”
Morris coined the term “Pitt Iron Works” for his gym that helped developed many of Pitt’s future NFL players along the way.
“I think Buddy is someone I always looked up to being a person from the area,” Stacchiotti said. “He’s obviously a legend in strength and conditioning. You hear stories from coaches on other teams and obviously Anthony and Roger Kingdom, who worked on the staff with Buddy at Arizona. … Following in his footsteps at the Iron Works is really an honor.”
But Stacchiotti, in his first opportunity to be a head strength and conditioning coach, is also eager to put his own stamp on the Pitt program.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) February 10, 2020
“Obviously, it’s not going to be a copy and pasted program, but the base of the training is based on Buddy’s program, which he adapted from people he’s learned from,” Stacchiotti said. “We’re all thieves in the field of strength and conditioning, but we make it our own and our adaptations based on the knowledge and material that we’ve been exposed to.”
That knowledge continues to expand with the technology that has been invested into conditioning areas in recent years. Pitt players have worn biometric monitors that allow the strength staff to monitor their vitals and other data from daily practices.
“Every day, we have GPS’s out there trying to manage how our guys physically are doing and who’s worked too much,” head coach Pat Narduzzi said in 2018.
— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) February 6, 2020
On that front, Stacchiotti sees a strength and conditioning program that has been well-maintained and is up to date when it comes to the most modern technologies and practices.
“I think Dave ran a tight ship,” Stacchiotti said. “It’s not a ground-up approach, but we’re going to be doing things a little bit different.”
So if there are big changes coming, they’ll be changes, just not in philosophy.