Winning and being successful at any level takes takes talent in many different areas along with commitment.
Talent is not only needed on the playing field but also in the form of coaches and throughout the entire organization. As is said many times, long-term winning takes a team effort and isn’t a one man thing.
Although the win total has yet to reach what he’s hoping for, all signs are pointing towards Pat Narduzzi building a sustainable winning culture and program at Pitt. The optimism is real because of the young talent that Pitt has been able to add to their program in the last couple of recruiting classes.
When first arriving at Pitt in 2015, Narduzzi and his staff weren’t winning many recruiting battles for highly-sought after recruits but that isn’t the case anymore. In the last two years, this Pitt staff has been able to sign a number of four-star recruits such as defensive back Rashad Battle, defensive back Jahvante Royal, defensive end Dayon Hayes, wide receiver Jordan Addison, wide receiver Jaylon Barden, linebacker Naquan Brown, defensive tackle Elliot Donald, cornerback Khalil Anderson, running back Rodney Hammond and defensive end Nahki Johnson.
This current Class of 2021 is currently ranked No. 22 in the country according to Rivals.com, which is the highest for Pitt since the early 2000’s with Dave Wannstedt as head coach.
Without tremendous success in the win column to fall back on, how has Pitt been able to dramatically change the talent their bringing into the program?
The answer to that is pretty simple, Narduzzi has done a tremendous job of surrounding himself with assistant coaches and people in their recruiting department that are excellent recruiters. Everyone knows the recruiting reputation of Charlie Partridge but the difference has been the recent additions of Chris Beatty, Archie Collins and Cory Sanders.
The additions of those three coaches were grand slam hires by Narduzzi, arguably the best and most impactful moves he’s made since taking over this program. Beatty, Collins and Sanders are superstar coaches and will be for many years to come.
As referenced earlier, it takes both talent and commitment to sustain long-term winning. It sure looks as though the talent aspect is in the process of happening, now let’s find out about Pitt’s level of commitment.
Recruiting is the lifeline of any program and the job that his trio has done is no doubt being noticed across the country by other Power Five programs.
With all the coaching changes occurring since the end of the season, many new coaches are looking to bring new blood onto their staffs. Over the last few weeks, rumors and reports have floated with programs possibly being interested in Beatty, Collins and Sanders.
Beatty was mentioned as a name at South Carolina, Sanders was listed as a candidate for a job at Florida and just last night, Collins was listed as a possible candidate for a job at Michigan. To this point, they’ve been just rumors and nothing has materialized.
But, that won’t be the last time we’ll read rumors like this will pop up. When you’re talented and good at what you do, you’ll always be in demand and Narduzzi and Heather Lyke have to be aggressive and pro-active with these guys.
By aggressive, I mean money and job promotions. Sooner rather than later, Pitt will need to show a commitment in terms of dollars to keep these guys happy and employed at Pitt. Along with the money, Pitt will need to be creative in terms of making promotions. Although I haven’t spoken to them about this, I can tell you that all three of them aspire to be more than just a position coach and would like to one day become coordinators or possibly even a head coach one day.
How does the title Pitt offensive coordinator Chris Beatty sound? Or one day, Pitt defensive coordinator Archie Collins? That’s the type of aggressive planning that I’m talking about.
It might not happen this off-season but the time will come when an opportunity is presented to one of Pitt’s valuable young assistant coaches. Let’s see if Pitt is committed enough as a program to want to keep this staff together and make them all offers they can’t refuse.