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Opinion

Vukovcan: It’s Time Pat Narduzzi Got the National Respect He Deserves

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The upcoming season is important to Pitt for many different reasons.

The 2022 Panthers have a roster loaded with talent and need to take advantage of that and a schedule that’s set up for them to have success.

Success should no longer be defined by having a seven or eight win season or making it to a mid-tier bowl game. This program has graduated from those standards and needs to view success as competing for, or winning the ACC Coastal Division.

This season, anything less than second place should be viewed as underachieving.

It’s important for Pitt to reach that because that’s the only way this program and their head coach will start earning some respect from the national media.

The latest example of how Narduzzi and Pitt are viewed is when long-time Rivals.com head of recruiting and now national media personality Mike Farrell (MikeFarrellSports.com) released his ranking of the top ACC football coaches.

Farrell has Narduzzi ranked No. 8 of the 15 coaches.

I respect Farrell and have been a long time fan of his work but in no way do I come close to agreeing with his ACC coaching rankings.

That doesn’t make me right and him wrong or vice versa. That’s the fun part of sports.

Of these 15 coaches, and it should really only be 14 because Notre Dame isn’t a full time football member of the ACC, Narduzzi should be no lower than number four.

In seven seasons at Pitt, Narduzzi has an overall record of 53-37 with a conference record of 36-22. In those seven seasons, Pitt has won two Coastal Division Championship, one ACC Championship and finished in second place twice.

Compare that with some of the coaches Farrell has above Narduzzi and it’s a clear disrespect for what Narduzzi has accomplished on and off the field at Pitt.

Having Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson at No. 2 is mind boggling. Let’s start with Narduzzi being 2-0 against Wake Forest, including the spanking they gave them in the ACC Championship Game last year. To go along with that, Clawson was only 32-31 at Bowling Green prior to arriving at Wake Forest. In his eight seasons at Wake, Clawson is 51-48 with a conference record of only 26-37. Not saying he’s a bad coach, but Clawson isn’t better than Narduzzi and it’s not close.

Mack Brown could be number three if that ranking is based on his entire career. Then I’m ok with it. If it’s based off of his second tenure at North Carolina then this is another miss. Let’s see how things go for the Tar Heels without Sam Howell.

You can make the case for having Dave Doeren No. 4, but in his nine seasons at NC State, he’s done nothing better than Narduzzi. In that long tenure, he’s never had a double-digit winning season, has only finished second twice and couldn’t even win the division last year despite a down season from Clemson. With the Wolf Pack, Doeren is 64-49 with a conference record of 34-40.

Just a reminder, Narduzzi’s ACC record is 14 games over .500.

I’ve already made my point regarding Notre Dame and I’ll add that Marcus Freeman has never coached a game. Is he at No. 6 because of his early recruiting success? Anyone with a pulse can recruit Notre Dame football.

The final one is Jeff Hafley at No. 7. Come on. In two seasons at Boston College, Hafley is 12-11. I don’t even have the stomach to continue to argue against this one.

The overall point of all is that people around the country still aren’t impressed with what Narduzzi has accomplished.

I made a lot of references to records and team finishes but something that also has to be considered when judging Narduzzi as a coach is the amount of players he and his staff have put in the NFL.

Unlike programs like Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, etc. he isn’t coaching a roster full of 4 and 5-star players. Despite this, Pitt is not only having players drafted but they’re sticking on NFL rosters and becoming key contributors.

Jason Pinnock, Dane Jackson, Avonte Maddox, Brian O’Neill, Rashad Weaver, Patrick Jones, James Conner, Tyler Boyd, Damar Hamlin, Kenny Pickett are just some names that immediately come to my mind.

Pat Narduzzi is a good football coach and Pitt is program on the rise. Is he perfect? No, but he’s a good fit at Pitt and hopefully people around the country will start recognizing that and that the Panthers weren’t just a one year wonder.

A good way for them to do that is to make a return trip to Charlotte in December.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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RonDon
RonDon
1 month ago

I would

Jim
Jim
1 month ago

I like it this way … HTP 💙💛

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
1 month ago

We’ve produced NFL talent for years with Duzz and before Duzz. That’s never been an issue. What we haven’t done is WIN consistently. Great season last year, but we need to see more of that before I will be concerned about the respect he gets or does not get nationally. Mike Farrell might as well write for CBS…he’s of that caliber. He is a nobody.

TJ
TJ
1 month ago

I agree. And to think that just a few seasons ago, many fans were calling for his head. Right, wrong or indifferent, I think most “experts” will need to see several consecutive seasons of coastal titles before giving Pat and Pitt a pass. H2P !

(forgot Whitehead)

Will
Will
1 month ago

Narduzzi never coached Aaron Donald

Dukes

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