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Pitt FB Recruiting

Tim Salem Might be the Most Underappreciated Coach at Pitt



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.

New Pitt recruit Kenny Pickett (Photo credit: Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Jason Pinnock

3-star recruit, Class of 2017, Windsor, Connecticut. Playing for the New York Giants.

Izzy Abanikanda

3-star recruit, Class of 2020, Brooklyn, New York. Recently set the all-time Pitt record for rushing yards in a single game.

SirVocea Dennis

2-star recruit, Class of 2019, Hightstown, New Jersey. Starting Mike linebacker.

SirVocea Dennis (7) – November 11, 2021 David Hague/PSN

Solomon DeShields

3-star recruit, Class of 2020, Millville, New Jersey.

Carter Warren

3-star recruit, Class of 2017, Wayne, New Jersey. Current starter on Pitt’s offensive line.

Photo Courtesy- Carter Warren

Samuel Okunlola

4-star recruit, Class of 2022, Brockton, Massachusetts.

Maurice Ffrench

3-star recruit, Class of 2016, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Former All-American specialist.

Maurice Ffrench (2) — August 31, 2019 Photo By David Hague/PSN

Matt Goncalves

3-star recruit, Class of 2019, Manorville, New York.

Phil Campbell

3-star recruit, Class of 2016, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

I truly believe, that I’d Salem were our OC, we would be 6-0 right now.

1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon

Just Win the Coastal and be content, 9-3 might do so.

Cignetti called the I-formation two tight formation that secured the W this past weekend.
The GaTech loss is well documented, failure to make game changing plays that would have demoralized them early.

BTW UTK is really good, we’ll find out how good in next few weeks.

1 year ago

I truly believe, that IF Salem were our OC, we would be 6-0 right now.

1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon

Deal with it. Narduzzi came from the run first Big Ten and he’s not going to change. Whipple’s Air Mail offense was not his idea. He was glad to see Whipple go. November is around the corner with unpredictable weather. That’s Narduzzi’s target.

Randy Joseck
Randy Joseck
1 year ago

Good article mike. Tim Salem is under appreciated. When he’s had TEs, he does a good job of coaching them up.

1 year ago

My main takeaway from this article is the remark that Heather Lyke has stepped up and paid the assistants to stay at pitt.

I believe this more than anything is the one way that PITT football can remain a top 25 program. Pitt has some disadvantages that will prevent them from becoming an elite program, but as long as the administration financially supports the football program in all ways, especially in paying coaches then I believe they can be a successful program like they have been the last 2 years.

Please keep it up Heather.

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