The reality is that change is just a part sports; college football in particular
Whether it be through graduation, transfer, coaching dismissals or as Pitt found out this week, through a job promotion. No program in the country is immune.
The key for the successful programs and organizations is how they deal with the roster turnover and the decisions they make in replacing what they lost.
Pat Narduzzi is dealing with very situation right now as the Pitt football program found out on Friday that wide receivers coach Chris Beatty accepted a job to become the wide receivers coach with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Before I get into the crucial decision ahead for Narduzzi, I want to clear up one thing that’s been floating around over the weekend on message boards and Twitter. Pitt isn’t at fault for losing Beatty. Despite what some fans are suggesting, even if Beatty held the title of offensive coordinator, he would’ve accepted the opportunity to coach in the NFL.
Narduzzi and Pitt weren’t slow on the switch with anything. Beatty is now the wide receivers coach for an exciting and high-scoring offensive team which means that he could be one hire away from getting an opportunity to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL. I hope he gets that opportunity because he’s a great guy and a talented football coach.
Speaking of talented football coach, that’s what Pitt is on a mission to find in a replacement for Beatty.
I don’t believe it’s an overstatement to say that this is a huge hire for Narduzzi. It’s not quite to the level of replacing an offensive or defensive coordinator–but I think it’s almost as big. When Narduzzi made the homerun hiring of Beatty two years ago, it completely changed Pitt’s recruiting for the better. With his deep ties to Virginia and Maryland, in just a short time, Beatty was able to take the lead in the Panthers landing elite talent from those areas. Especially in the case of Virginia, a state where they had never been able to break through.
It’s one thing to sign players and it’s a whole another thing to beat top schools for the elite talent as Pitt was able to do by getting 4-star wide receiver Jordan Addison, 4-star defensive end Naquan Brown, 4-star running back Rodney Hammond and 3-star recruits Malik Newton and Myles Alston. In the case of Newton, he held offers from Clemson, North Carolina, Penn State and Texas A&M before signing with Pitt.
Beatty was able to get into areas that Pitt had been shut out of and was able to establish a new recruiting pipeline. Without Beatty it will be a much harder proposition.
But just because Beatty won’t be recruiting Virginia for the Panthers doesn’t mean they have to, or should, abandon the area. It’s critical that the team continues recruiting in that area and that should be a factor in Narduzzi’s next coaching hire.
Archie Collins, who now arguably becomes Pitt’s most important recruiter, is doing a terrific job in the states of Georgia, Ohio and Michigan. Cory Sanders, another ace recruiter, is having a huge impact in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and a trio of Pitt assistants led by Charlie Partridge are doing well in Florida.
I believe that the replacement for Beatty has to have strong ties in Virginia. Unless Ryan Manalac, Pitt’s new linebackers coach has to that area, Narduzzi needs to target someone that has roots, or at the very least strong contacts, to keep the recruiting pipeline in Virginia alive. Beatty already started the blueprint for recruiting there and the state has too much talent in it for Pitt not to have a strong presence.
Narduzzi has done extremely well with a few of his most recent assistant coaching additions, the pressure is now on to do the same with this one.