PITTSBURGH—Charlie Partridge, a renowned Florida recruiter who previously served as a Pitt assistant from 2003-07, will return to the Panthers’ staff as defensive line coach, Pat Narduzzi announced.
Partridge rejoins Pitt after serving the past three seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. Prior to FAU, he was an accomplished assistant at Arkansas and Wisconsin.
“I’ve been a big fan of Charlie’s work for a very long time,” Narduzzi said. “I remember watching his defensive lines at Wisconsin and really admiring how they played. Charlie’s players reflected his high energy and passion. He’s an incredibly bright coach who is an excellent teacher and knows how to develop players.
“Charlie’s familiarity with Pitt is a major asset and the fact that he has experience as a head coach will benefit our entire staff,” Narduzzi continued. “His reputation as a strong recruiter is highly deserved and will serve us well all across the ACC footprint, including Pittsburgh. I know there are a lot of people at Pitt who worked with Charlie before who are thrilled that he’s back wearing the Blue and Gold.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to return to Pitt and work with Coach Narduzzi and his staff,” Partridge said. “I'm fully aware that the University of Pittsburgh is a special institution in an amazing city with a top-notch football program that competes at the highest level in the ACC. I look forward to applying all the lessons I've learned since previously being here while also learning from this tremendous staff.”
At FAU, Partridge inherited a program in need of a complete rebuild, on and off the field. He responded to the challenge by signing three of the finest recruiting classes in school history, including a 2015 group that earned praise as the best in Conference USA. In the classroom, the Owls set new program standards for individual academic achievement and the highest team grade point average.
Partridge spent the 2013 season at Arkansas, where he served as assistant head coach and oversaw the defensive line. Under his watch, defensive ends Trey Flowers and Chris Smith were All-SEC performers, combining for 25 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. Partridge also contributed to the Razorbacks’ special teams units that featured All-SEC kicker Zach Hocker, who missed only two placements that season (13-of-15 field goals and 28-of-28 PATs), and punter Sam Irwin-Hill, who ranked 15th nationally with a 44.3-yard average.
Partridge was instrumental in one of the best five-year runs in Wisconsin history from 2008-12. Initially serving as defensive line and specialist coach, he was elevated to associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator for his final two seasons in Madison.
The Badgers won three consecutive Big Ten titles from 2010-12, earning Rose Bowl berths each season. The 2010-11 squads each won 11 games and ranked in the nation’s Top 10 at season’s end.
Partridge oversaw a physical, game-changing defensive front at Wisconsin. His most accomplished pupil was defensive end J.J. Watt, who was a 2010 All-American and winner of the Lott IMPACT Trophy as the national defensive player of the year. A first-round draft choice of the Houston Texans in 2011, Watt has gone on to earn status as one of the NFL’s elite defensive players.
Partridge’s initial Pitt tenure was from 2003-07. He had a positional focus on the defensive line for four seasons and the linebackers in his final campaign. Partridge also served as the Panthers’ special teams coordinator in 2006-07.
In 2007, Pitt ranked fifth in the nation in total defense, yielding just 297.7 yards per game. The Panthers closed that season with one of the most celebrated victories—and defensive performances—in school history: a 13-9 upset of West Virginia that shattered the Mountaineers’ national title hopes. Pitt limited the high-powered WVU offense to just one touchdown and 183 total yards.
Under the guidance of Partridge and defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads in 2007, a first-year starting middle linebacker named Scott McKillop led the nation in tackles (12.6 per game), earning All-America status and unanimous first-team All-Big East honors. Another Partridge protégé, defensive end Joe Clermond, led the Big East in tackles for loss (16.5) in 2006.
Pitt’s special teams were highly productive under Partridge’s guidance. In 2006, the Panthers led the Big East in net punting (37.5 avg.) and kickoff returns (24.1 yards avg.). During the 2007 campaign, Pitt topped the conference in field goal percentage (81.8%, 18-22) and PAT kicking (100%, 28-28), while ranking second in kickoff returns (22.9 avg.).
ESPN’s 2006 College Football “Play of the Year” was actually a Pitt special teams gem—Darrelle Revis’ 73-yard punt return for a touchdown against West Virginia. A first-round draft pick of the New York Jets the following spring, Revis told an NFL media gathering, “I love special teams. I have to credit my special teams coach, Charlie Partridge. He put me back there and let me help the team. Even if it was on punt block, I just tried to help the team any way I could.”
Prior to Pitt, Partridge served four seasons (1998-2001) at Iowa State in administrative and coaching roles. He was a defensive graduate assistant in 1998-99, working with the outside linebackers. Following the 1999 season he earned a full-time appointment as the program’s director of football operations.
In 2002, Partridge was hired by Eastern Illinois University as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. The Panthers advanced to the NCAA I-AA playoffs that year and shared the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) championship with an 8-4 record. Two of EIU’s losses came to I-A schools Hawaii and Kansas State.
An outstanding player himself, Partridge was an NSCA All-America defensive lineman for Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. A team captain and three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Partridge’s collegiate coaching career began at his alma mater as a Drake graduate assistant during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. In this capacity, he coached the running backs—producing a pair of 1,000-yard rushers each season—and worked as a strength and conditioning coach.
The PARTRIDGE File
Born: December 7, 1973
Hometown: Plantation, Fla.
Alma Mater: Drake, 1995
Family: Partridge and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Alexa and Kylee.
Drake, 1996-97, graduate assistant.
Iowa State, 1998-99, graduate assistant; 2000-01, director of football operations.
Eastern Illinois, 2002, defensive line and recruiting coordinator.
Pittsburgh, 2003-05, defensive ends; 2005, special teams; 2006-07, special teams coordinator; 2006, defensive line; 2007, linebackers.
Wisconsin, 2008-10, defensive line and specialists; 2011-12, associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line.
Arkansas, 2013, assistant head coach and defensive line.
Florida Atlantic, 2014-16, head coach.
Pittsburgh, 2017, defensive line.
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