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USATSI Gallery - Northwestern vs No. 23 Pittsburgh - Pinstripe Bowl

USATSI Gallery - Northwestern vs No. 23 Pittsburgh - Pinstripe Bowl


Pittsburgh 76, Syracuse 61

The Panthers defeat Syracuse, on November 26, 2016.


USATSI Gallery - Georgia Tech @ Pittsburgh

USATSI Gallery - Georgia Tech @ Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh 42, Penn State 39

The Panthers top Penn State, on September 10, 2016.


Pittsburgh 28, Villanova 7

Photos from Pittsburgh vs. Villanova on September 3, 2016.

As a rising star in the coaching profession, Pat Narduzzi annually entertained overtures from programs throughout the country.

In his eight years at Michigan State, Narduzzi built a reputation as one of college football's brightest coordinators. He was a perennial entry on various "hot hires" lists forecasting the next crop of impact head coaches.

For Narduzzi, however, becoming a head coach wasn't as important as finding the right fit.

He found that right fit at Pitt.

"There wasn't any doubt, I knew Pitt was the one," Narduzzi said. "It's got everything. I think you've got the ability to do big things here. There couldn't have been a better fit."

For Pitt fans, it seemed appropriate that Narduzzi was officially named the Panthers' new head coach in the midst of the holiday season on Dec. 26, 2014. Like a surprise gift, Narduzzi's arrival has provided an afterglow that continues to burn bright. He has been instant energy for Pitt, on and off the field.

Reflecting their new head coach, the Panthers displayed a tough and tenacious style of play in 2015. Narduzzi led Pitt to an 8-4 regular-season record--its best 12-game mark since 2009--and a berth in the Military Bowl. Pitt finished as the runner-up in the ACC Coastal Division with a 6-2 mark, its best conference record ever.

Pitt boasted the ACC's top offensive and defensive newcomers. Freshman safety Jordan Whitehead was named the league's Overall and Defensive Rookie of the Year. Redshirt freshman tailback Qadree Ollison, a third-string reserve when the season began, was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year following a 1,000-yard rushing campaign.

The momentum carried into the offseason when Narduzzi and his staff signed a 2016 recruiting class rated 32nd nationally by Rivals, Pitt's highest ranking in eight years.

"Coach Narduzzi has a way about him that draws you in," said Whitehead, who earned All-ACC on the football field and was also an ACC All-Academic selection. "He gives us the belief that we can do anything. I want to win a championship with him. We have a chance to do some big things."

The son of a head football coach, Narduzzi grew up 70 miles from Pittsburgh in Youngstown, Ohio, a town that also takes pride in its industrial heritage and football tradition. He embraces and celebrates the culture of the "Steel City," and wants his football program to reflect the qualities that make Pittsburgh great.

"We are going to work very hard on the field, in the classroom and in the community to make Pitt and Pittsburgh proud," Narduzzi said. "We will play with a tough, blue-collar mentality--and how else would you want it in the city of Pittsburgh? When somebody plays the University of Pittsburgh, they're going to know they were in a brawl. We will work tirelessly as coaches and players to get things done every day.

"I am highly motivated to build this program into national prominence. I'd like to win a bunch of football games here. How are we going to do that? We're going to do it with relentless energy. You can win championships here. It's a world-class university and they expect the best at Pitt."

Narduzzi arrived at Pitt following eight highly successful years as the defensive coordinator at Michigan State. Under his direction, the Spartans were the only team to rank in the nation's top 10 in total defense and rushing defense each season from 2011-14.

Working under two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year Mark Dantonio, Narduzzi helped Michigan State to five Top 25 finishes.

In 2014, the Spartans finished with a No. 5 national ranking and 11-2 record following a stirring 42-41 victory over Baylor in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Narduzzi's defense shut out the high-scoring Bears in the fourth quarter, opening the door for 21 unanswered points by Michigan State in one of the most thrilling games of the 2014-15 bowl season. Michigan State boasted the nation's top rushing defense in 2014, yielding just 88.5 yards per game. The Spartans finished third nationally with 34 turnovers gained and eighth in total defense, holding opponents to just 315.8 yards per contest.

In 2013, Michigan State finished No. 3 in the country following a Big Ten title and 24-20 victory over No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl. In the wake of that championship season, Narduzzi was named the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Broyles Award, annually presented to the country's top assistant coach.

Narduzzi has tutored an impressive list of decorated defensive players, including first team All-Americans in cornerback Darqueze Dennard, safety Kurtis Drummond, linebacker Greg Jones and defensive tackle Jerel Worthy.

Dennard was a unanimous All-American in 2013, becoming the first Michigan State cornerback to earn that distinction. He also was the school's first winner of the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to college football's top defensive back.

Dennard was a first-round NFL Draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, the first Spartans defensive back taken in the initial round since 1961. In the 2015 draft, another Narduzzi pupil, Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes, was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings.

Narduzzi coached 19 first-team All-Big Ten selections. Four players won the conference's top individual awards under his watch, including two Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year honorees (Dennard in 2013 and Drummond in 2014). Shilique Calhoun was the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2013 while Greg Jones was the overall Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.

Prior to Michigan State, Narduzzi spent three years (2004-06) as defensive coordinator under Dantonio at Cincinnati, helping the Bearcats to a pair of bowl invitations.

In 2003, Narduzzi was the defensive coordinator at Miami of Ohio under the late Terry Hoeppner. The RedHawks stormed to a 13-1 record that season, capturing the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship and defeating nationally ranked Louisville in the GMAC Bowl to finish No. 10 in the Associated Press poll.

While quarterback Ben Roethlisberger headlined Miami's offense, Narduzzi's stout unit topped the MAC in rushing defense (19th nationally), scoring defense (22nd nationally) and pass efficiency defense (34th nationally).

Narduzzi served as linebackers coach at Northern Illinois for three seasons (2000-02). NIU won a pair of MAC divisional titles during his tenure and in 2002 had the league's top rushing defense.

From 1993-99, Narduzzi coached at his alma mater, Rhode Island, serving as the Rams' defensive coordinator his final two seasons. He began his coaching career at Miami of Ohio, working as a graduate assistant in 1990 and 1991, before earning his first full-time position as receivers coach for the 1992 season.

Narduzzi was an all-state performer at Youngstown's Ursuline High School, leading the Irish to the Steel Valley championship and Ohio state playoffs as a senior in 1984. He was a starting linebacker under his father, the late Bill Narduzzi, as a freshman at Youngstown State University in 1985 before transferring to Rhode Island, where he became a three-year starter for the Rams from 1987-89.

Bill Narduzzi was head coach at YSU from 1975-85. He led the Penguins to two NCAA Division II playoff appearances, including the national championship game in 1979, and twice was named the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Coach of the Year.

Bill was a tremendous influence on Pat's decision to pursue coaching as a profession.

"He's smiling from above," Pat said at his introductory press conference in reference to his father. "I got here because of him, without a doubt. A guy who would wake you up on a Sunday morning and get two hours of work in before church. He pushed and guided me through the process of coaching.

"There were plenty of conversations at the kitchen table growing up in Youngstown where I lived. He's excited, I know that. He'll be watching down, so we'll have another coach up in the big press box."

Narduzzi completed his bachelor's degree in physical education at Rhode Island in 1990 and later earned a master's degree in sports studies at Miami of Ohio in 1992. He and his wife Donna have four children: Arianna, Christina, Patrick and Isabella.

BORN April 22, 1966
HOMETOWN Youngstown, Ohio
ALMA MATER Rhode Island, 1990
FAMILY Narduzzi and his wife Donna have four children: Arianna, Christina, Patrick and Isabella.

Rhode Island Three-year starter at linebacker (1987-89)
YOUNGSTOWN STATE Starter at linebacker (1985)

Miami (Ohio), 1990-92 1990-91, Graduate Assistant; 1992, Wide Receivers
Rhode Island, 1993-99 1993-97, Linebackers; 1998-99, Defensive Coordinator
Northern Illinois, 2000-02 Linebackers
Miami (Ohio), 2003 Defensive Coordinator
Cincinnati, 2004-06 Defensive Coordinator
Michigan State, 2007-14 2007-14, Defensive Coordinator, 2013-14, Assistant Head Coach
Pitt, 2015-present Head Coach

2003 GMAC Bowl
2004 Fort Worth Bowl
2007 Champs Sports Bowl
2009 Capital One Bowl
2010 Valero Alamo Bowl
2011 Capital One Bowl
2012 Outback Bowl
2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
2014 Rose Bowl
2015 Cotton Bowl

2014 Safety Kurtis Drummond
2013 Cornerback Darqueze Dennard (Unanimous)
2011 Defensive Tackle Jerel Worthy (Consensus)
2009-10 Linebacker Greg Jones (2009 Consensus, 2010 Unanimous)

2014 Safety Kurtis Drummond - Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year
2013 Cornerback Darqueze Dennard - Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year
2013 Defensive End Shilique Calhoun - Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year
2009 Linebacker Greg Jones - Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

Pat Narduzzi

Pat  Narduzzi

Head Coach

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