Many things can be pointed to when looking to credit the rise of Pitt football over the last few seasons.
In the end, no matter what sport you’re talking about, it always starts with having the talent to compete and ultimately win.
Although there have been some hiccups along the way, the bottom line is that in their last 24 games, Pitt has a record of 18-6. That’s pretty darn good.
Pitt has been able to fill their roster with talented–and sometime under the radar players–because of a really, really good group of assistant coaches. Undoubtedly the best Pat Narduzzi has had since becoming head coach.
Credit has to go to Narduzzi for making these hires and also the administration for doing what it takes to keep these coaches together. Doing what it takes means giving these coaches raises and stepping up when other Power Five programs have tried to hire them away from Pitt. Make no mistake about it, that has happened, and Heather Lyke and the university have done what it takes to maintain continuity and help Narduzzi keep his assistants.
Assistant coaches such as Charlie Partridge, Archie Collins, Tiquan Underwood and Cory Sanders get mentioned a lot for the job they do on the recruiting trail, but one coach seems to get overlooked and at best is seriously underappreciated.
Tight ends coach Tim Salem was a member of Narduzzi’s first coaching staff in 2015 and he’s still here and going strong. The 61-year-old Salem and Andre Powell are the longest tenured members of Pitt’s staff.
Over the years, fans have questioned and expressed their displeasure with Salem for some recruiting misses and the talent assembled at the position, but the overall job Salem has done has been outstanding as he’s been very instrumental in getting some very talented players to Pitt.
Each assistant coach has territories in which they recruit, and Salem is responsible for New York, the New England states and parts of New Jersey.
Here is a reminder of just some of the players that Salem has led the way to recruit to Pitt:
QB Kenny Pickett
3-star recruit, Class of 2017, Oakhurst, New Jersey. Currently the starting quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
3-star recruit, Class of 2017, Windsor, Connecticut. Playing for the New York Giants.
3-star recruit, Class of 2020, Brooklyn, New York. Recently set the all-time Pitt record for rushing yards in a single game.
2-star recruit, Class of 2019, Hightstown, New Jersey. Starting Mike linebacker.
3-star recruit, Class of 2020, Millville, New Jersey.
3-star recruit, Class of 2017, Wayne, New Jersey. Current starter on Pitt’s offensive line.
4-star recruit, Class of 2022, Brockton, Massachusetts.
3-star recruit, Class of 2016, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Former All-American specialist.
3-star recruit, Class of 2019, Manorville, New York.
3-star recruit, Class of 2016, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.