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Opinion

Vukovcan: Pitt Could Use Infusion of Pitt or WPIAL Background on Staff

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Pat Narduzzi added another responsibility to his holiday work list after the announcement that his longtime assistant Rob Harley had accepted the job of Arkansas State defensive coordinator.

That means Pitt is now in the market for a new linebackers coach to join their staff.

Narduzzi hit home runs with his last few assistant coach hires in Archie Collins, Chris Beatty and Cory Sanders and will look to repeat that with Harley’s replacement.

Although Harley was a solid assistant coach, Pitt could use this chance to improve in a couple of areas that would benefit the program, particularly in the area of recruiting.

Looking at the makeup of the current staff, two things are missing. The staff is void of anyone that is from Western Pennsylvania and it’s also missing anyone that has worn the Pitt Panthers uniform. While some might look at that as overrated, I disagree and believe it’s beneficial if you are able to find the right guy.

When trying to get a top WPIAL player to commit to your program, it’s never a bad thing if that coach is from Western Pennsylvania but can also talk about what it’s like to stay home and play for Pitt. The only former Pitt player that Narduzzi has had as an assistant was Tom Sims, who was his first defensive line coach. Especially in college, I believe it’s an important element.

Even though it isn’t as talent rich as a decade ago, the WPIAL is a fertile ground for Power Five talent and although Sanders has done a nice job the last two years as Pitt’s lead WPIAL recruiter after replacing Harley, it would benefit Pitt to have a homegrown person as their lead man.

I’m sure Narduzzi has already been in touch with various candidates but if he’d like to go with my way of thinking, here are a couple candidates that would fit the description and could do very well.

Jarred Holley is a former four-year starter at safety for the Panthers and is currently the safeties coach for Greg Gattuso at Albany. Holley also served as a defensive graduate assistant for Arizona State following the end of his playing career. Holley was one of the smartest players during his time at Pitt on and off the field and has the qualities to be a star in the coaching industry.

The other person that I believe should be considered is a coach that I’ve previously endorsed and would no doubt be a star in college coaching and that’s Pine-Richland head coach Eric Kasperowicz.

Kasperowicz’s resume as a coach is star-studded. He’s a proven winner over a long period of time, winning two Pennsylvania state championships and being a finalist for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Coach of the Year in 2017.

On a yearly basis, he produces Division I and Power Five talent such as Phil Jurkovec, Andrew Kristofic and many others. During the course of his coaching career, Kasperowicz has developed relationships all throughout the WPIAL, which are invaluable.

Along with that, Kasperowicz has the credentials of being a 1993 Parade All-American safety at North Hills High School. Before selecting to stay home and attend Pitt, Kasperowicz also had Penn State, Michigan State, Georgia Tech and Syracuse as his final schools.

Kasperowicz is a Western Pennsylvania native, a former Pitt Panther and a marquee name in coaching. He’d be a home run hire for Narduzzi to add to the staff.

If Narduzzi wants to stay local, here are two more interesting candidates:

Scott Farison, the Duquesne co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach and Dave Plungas the Robert Morris defensive coordinator. Both are solid defensive-minded coaches that are familiar with the recruiting footprint and would add to the local standing of the staff.

Pitt has a chance to add youth to their staff along with hiring someone that fills some areas that I believe they’re lacking in. Let’s see how Narduzzi decides to go with this vacancy.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
8 months ago

I don’t think they “need” that, but you listed 2 very strong candidates.

Mtgj
Mtgj
8 months ago

Kasperowicz would be the perfect guy in so many ways but I have no faith that he would even be looked at. I hope I am wrong

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago

Pitt needs a high level QB Coach/QB recruiter. I love the idea of keeping WPA talent but we should land a high level QB prospect or atleast develop a QB with high level tools

Mdtkd
Mdtkd
8 months ago

Clearly coach has not made it a priority, whereas some previous HC did to their benfi. The it being he should hire a local hC from high school level. Isnt that the background of our successful Virginia recruiter?

Rich j
Rich j
8 months ago

Not enough elite talent in Western Pa.these days to really make a difference
in a local hire. We need someone with a national profile. Not taking anything away from those mentioned in this article. He needs to fire Borberly and and the OC and get some younger , better teachers and recruiters.For Pitt to go to the next level it needs some recruits that aren’t regularly found in the WPIAL on a yearly basis

Last edited 8 months ago by Richard Johnson
Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
8 months ago

Why do they need to hire a local guy ,there really isnt alot of high end talent locally anymore and the ones who are we’re doing pretty good at getting them ,the talent is in the south get another good recruiter for the south

Pitt Fan 54
Pitt Fan 54
8 months ago

This is the kind of thinking that always moves Pitt Football Backwards! How about hiring the BEST Coaching Candidate/Recruiter that you can find? That’s why Narduzzi will not limit his search to your narrow list of requirements.

PittBand
PittBand
8 months ago

The steel mills are a memory and the players with them. I agree with the statements, best available coach with a southern influence. This parochial line of reasoning is the sixties all over again. Gotta play PS and the hoopies. Look backwards, not forward. Why did we drop PS, because JoePa wanted an eastern league he would run. And the hoopies, they didn’t have the academics the ACC required. We are attracting players who look at football not as an end but as a bridge. Check how many fifth year players are leaving with a masters degree. Pickett will probably… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 months ago

I remember kasper more as a qb at his time at north hills. I’m not sure he’d give up a sweet deal of coaching a great program and teaching gym class. He probably wants to stay in western pa and not jump around trying to move up the coaching ranks. Plus kissing recruits butts in their living room isn’t for everyone.

Curtis Colbert
Curtis Colbert
8 months ago

PA. recruiting is important but, Pa. is not the only area our coaches recruit, I doubt kids in, VA., N.C.,S.C. GA, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, where there is a lot more talent on a yearly basis, would be too impressed with their recruiter being a local Pa.. guy.

PittBand
PittBand
8 months ago

The steel mills are a memory and the players with them. I agree with the statements, best available coach with a southern influence. This parochial viewpoint looks backward not forward. It’s the same with PS and the hoopies. We left PS at the altar of the JoePa Football League and the hoopies couldn’t project the academic standards of the ACC. Not withstanding, Pine Richland has the finest Division 2 college stadium in the state, is it Kasperowicz or the amenities. Another Pitt grad has been doing it better, for longer, with less at Thomas Jefferson. But I don’t see Bill… Read more »

Frank James
Frank James
8 months ago

Get the best coach who can recruit the best athletes, which are in SEC territory. With better athletes you win, and then local kids stay home. Gotta get rid of Whipple and get a real offense as well

 
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