What the Coaching Future Holds

Right now, by all appearances, we are standing in fine stead with our favorite college football program.  The Pitt team is coming of an 8-5 season with a head coach, Mr. Pat Narduzzi, who has won the hearts and minds of the Pitt faithful. Our recruiting has gone well under his watch so far; the staff coaches are doing their jobs to expectations and our student/athletes are going to class, keeping out of trouble and thus representing the University well.

This is what good football programs are expected to do and it looks like this will be the start of a nice run of multiple winning seasons if not some championship play in the near future.

If that happens, if we do that and Narduzzi stays the course over a long period of time (which in college football is 5-10 years) we will buck a nasty trend that Pitt has had with their football head coaches. It isn’t just losing games or scandal that separates Pitt from successful coaches – sometimes it happens when the program looks to be in good shape – at least on the field of play.

It doesn’t take a long memory – just seven years actually – to realize things aren’t always going to turn out how we want them to at Pitt.  The thing that we have lacked in our history is stability and without that we have had more turmoil than smooth sailing

That is because things don’t always stay the same and changes happen when we least expect them.

As much as we may hate to admit it I think that in the back of Pitt fan’s minds there lies the nagging question of “How long is Pat Narduzzi going to stick with us?” I know, why jinx it by bringing it up? But the truth is that it is an issue that has a basis for current discussion even as much as we do not want it to happen for many years.

We see that writ large in the history of Pitt’s head coaches and the decisions they have made along with the decisions Pitt administrators has made about them.

Right now Pat Narduzzi is in the HC position, AD Scott Barnes is making good plans and actually sticking to them and a we have Chancellor Pat Gallagher who seems to be a true sports fan and who is willing to provide the resources to run things correctly. That is a trifecta not seen on the Pitt campus for decades.

All the pointers are positive. That is a relief and interjects a sense of fun into fan’s lives… and because that is a different feeling that we have had recently we are flying through a pink cloud of contentment… at least most of us are.

But we also know that as Pitt fans we tend to always worry about what is going to happen next week, next month and next year.  It is the nature of the beast when you follow a college football program which has had more ups and downs than a sine curve since we were students…of any age.

We older fans we tend to look back at the mid 1970s to 1984 as our “Glory Years”. Well, they are that if we are discussing Pitt football over the last 40 years only .  Of course  students of Pitt football also know that our true Glory Years – when we were kicking out National Championships like a Mormon wife does babies – were back in the first three decades of the 20th century.334_inside-display-image_0

The legendary John Bain “Jock” Sutherland coached Pitt to five national titles. His 1937 team ranked as the best in the land, with a 9–0–1 record. Among the Panthers’ vanquished opponents that year were Penn State (28–7), Notre Dame (21–6), Nebraska (13–7), Wisconsin (21–0), and West Virginia (20–0). The tie was a 0–0 deadlock with Fordham.  

Under Glenn “Pop” Warner, Pitt won three national titles in four years. Considered one of the greatest coaches in football history, Warner directed the Panthers to unanimous titles in 1915, 1916, and 1918. During that period, Pitt won 30 straight games.

Interestingly enough both of those legendary coaches left Pitt under duress. For Sutherland it was this:

After years of struggling with the University for sustained financial support, Sutherland resigned in 1938 because the school’s Chancellor, John Gabbert Bowman, instituted a policy of de-emphasis for the football program, eliminating athletic scholarships, student athlete stipends, and the recruiting funds. Bowman’s moves, which resulted in Sutherland’s departure, were controversial among students and supporters of the football program.[20]

Fast forward to Johnny Majors accepting the position at Pitt and we see a steady climb from a 1-10 1972 season to a National Championship year 12-0 record.  A whirlwind of success that made us students and fans at the time feel like we were on top of the world and the future looked so bright it was scary.

And scary it turned out to be when Majors left the Pitt job for Tennessee… announcing that move on December 4th – weeks before we were to play in the Sugar Bowl of that year.

Majors to Pitt

Perhaps the best played four year stretch in Pitt’s history was the years between 1978 through 1981 when Coach Jackie Sherrill racked up a 41-7 won/loss record including three straight 11-1 years.

You could stack up HC Pop Warner’s 1915-1918 years against that when we went 31-1 but that was the really olden days.

Sherrill had us on the cusp of a championship and we wanted him to be HC for a long time but reality reared its ugly head and the split between the administration and Sherrill, mostly about the financial aspects of his employment, got in the way so off to Texas A&M he went… and the program sputtered along after two good years then sunk back down.

The bottom line with the Pitt football coaches is that the school has been either a stepping stone to better coaching jobs or a graveyard where coaching careers end.

From 1972 on we have these graveyard guys: DiPasqua; Done; Fazio; Done, Gottfried; Done, Wannstedt; Done all those careers are buried alongside the ghost of old Pitt stadium.

The up and out men; Majors, Sherrill, Harris, Graham and Chryst are coaches who went on to bigger and better programs and, not the least of it, better paychecks – some by a long shot.

What does this have to do with the 2016 football program and Pat Narduzzi?  Possibly everything and hopefully nothing. But we would be sticking our heads firmly in the sand if we didn’t acknowledge that if Narduzzi has a solid run of two or three successful years he’d be a major target of other programs.

I truly believe that we have to face the fact that Pitt hasn’t been an elite program and I don’t just mean counting wins – but by tepid at best alumni and donor support, lack of administration interest and support and perhaps the deepest wound of all in extremely fickle fan support.

If Pat Narduzzi pulls out 8-9 wins in this season’s tough schedule and beats some of those talented teams in Clemson, OK State, PSU and North Carolina in his second year at the helm here he is going to be a prime piece of meat on the coaching rotisserie. Schools with bigger and better programs – and more full pocketbooks than Pitt has – are going to be hounding him to leave.

We can say all we want about his not taking other jobs while a coordinator at MSU… but we overlook the fact that he was the highest paid staffer in the Big Ten in 2014 pulling in almost a million per in salary- $907K to be exact.  That is pretty darn close to what HCs were making at a lot of schools themselves. He also was the assistant Head coach so add incentive clauses and extraneous monies to that $907K and he was sitting pretty.

Factor in also that his children were in grade school and high school during the eight years of Narduzzi’s time at MSU.  That educational and social stability for the family means a lot to people who move around every few years as I can tell you from experience. Thus he had some strong and valid reasons to stay right where he was in East Lansing.

So in 2014 at age 49, which still leaves him many coaching years ahead, he takes the Pitt job for a pay raise of less than a million dollars.  After his last December’s contract extension of two years he’s now making $2.0M – so his 2014 salary was  surely less than that.

Even with that extension pay raise he’s 68th in the nation in salary folks. Put it this way – there are at least 19 programs who are currently paying their HCs at least $3.5M base salary which is salary money – multiplied over a five year contract – that far outpaces what Pitt has been willing to pay anyone.

HC Salary 2016

Every single one of those schools, with the exception of maybe Louisville, is considered  to have a ‘better’ program than Pitt does now.  Tack on the reality that if any of those schools start seriously chasing Narduzzi they will increase that current base salary of the departed coach to entice Narduzzi to sign the dotted line…let’s say to at least $4M per.

I keep hearing fans and the media say “Well, Pitt can pay more now...” and I wonder why exactly that is.  The Pitt admin says “his salary is competitive” but that is based on being competitive with ACC head coaches – not nationwide.

Does anyone really believe Pitt is going to match a $4M base then add on all the incentives and other payments that greatly kicks up a HC’s compensation package?  I’ll believe it when I see it and personally I don’t think we’ll see that kind of a financial jump.

Narduzzi is at the point in his life right now – or at least in a year or two – where he could easily be in the position to get that “Screw You” money from a bigger program that has deeper bank accounts.  It is every true professional’s goal to be at the top of his chosen profession.  I think Narduzzi is just that type of man and will take the shot at the top if he’s offered.

All that said –  I also had a conversation in Annapolis the night before the 2015 bowl game where Pat Bostick Jr leaned over to me and said “It really is a different time at Pitt now Reed.” He’s as inside as it gets so I have to hope that is and continues to be the case.  I think he’s right in  Admin’s attitude and providing other support systems… but with the money issue I will have to actually see Pitt match a $4+M per contract offer.

Believe me I want Pitt to have good solid seasons with a good HC in Pat Narduzzi and I believe we  will have that.  The question in my mind is if we can keep that marriage intact when in the future Pitt is put in the position of reaching a financial level it isn’t prepared to go as a University.

Notes:

July 11, 2016

PITTSBURGH – Pitt sophomore safety Jordan Whitehead has been named to the 39-player watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is annually presented to college football’s top defensive back by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

 

 

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58 thoughts on “What the Coaching Future Holds

  1. I really think that if we improve as many of us think we do, the salary will take care of itself, not like in the past. The administation for the first time EVER and that included Wes and Cas who were buffaloed into any increases as they were “scared” of the coaches, “get it;” and I don;’t think they will let it happen.

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  2. Well said, Reed. I understand the salary concern, but I think Pat Bostick is right. This administration is really willing to pay for quality. And as an extension to the subject of changes in administrative initiatives/priorities I can’t stress enough how much more Pitt is doing now as far as pursuing new grants and research funding.

    I think I read that Pitt received 4 different major grants (energy, medical, etc.) from the government in the last 2 or 3 months alone. Pitt is really becoming a pillar of research in the East and big time money is making it’s way to the University. Obviously, none of this money would go to football, but Gallagher (the real MVP) understands the importance of athletics as a way to bring attention & publicity to universities.

    With that said, it is absolutely imperative to keep a quality football product on the field and he knows Narduzzi can do this. He will make it very difficult for Narduzzi to walk. I’ve worked with Bostick in the past, he is a good guy. I completely trust what he told you. I think Gallagher will try to keep Narduzzi as happy as possible.

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  3. Lot of variables. If we get good enough, top 15 program for a few years in a row, maybe a couple ACC Championship games in a row, then everyone will have to reassess. I don’t think, no, I know we’ll never match an Alabama or Notre Dame.

    But, if he turns the program around, and there starts to be a solid 50K in the stadium for every game, then everything will be different then. And, I mean butt’s in the seats, that it doesn’t look like a high school game, and we’re known as a perennially good team, the administration will have to make some decisions.

    We have a lot going for us. His alma maters are not a factor. Rhode Island and Youngstown St..

    Michigan St. Coached there for 7 or 8 years, knows some people. Is it his lifelong dream job, I don’t know.

    Again, variables. Big games at other places sound great.

    What if he has Pitt in a position where we (including HCPN) are having national games of significance against Clemson, Fla. State, Miami and N.Carolina quite often??? Suddenly the gap between Pitt and other schools is not as large.

    Good news, if people are throwing boat loads of money at him, we must be in a good place at the time I would think? With assistant coaches and recruiting in a good place I would think.

    Plus, he’s got to turn it around. Tough year this year with the schedule. Could be the same as last year, and the true Pitt fan knows this. We could have a better team and making progress, and have the same record or even a little bit less. But, the fans that are watching every game, every play, will be able to tell. One of those anomaly years, where the record may not matter that much, as to the teams progress. (not counting some kind of bottom falling out).

    By year 3 and 4 though, there’s gonna have to be some movement up the ladder, and no matter the schedules, people want to see W’s.

    That’s when he becomes a hot commodity, but then we’re in a better place. And at least I think we have some people in the administration, that won’t at least just let him walk away.

    A lot to be seen.

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  4. The gorilla in the room (forgive me if I’m not using this properly) is that Mich ST HC Mark Dantonio is 60 and has a history of heart issues. Should HCPN continue with seasons of 8+ wins, he would be high on the list for his replacement in the next few years. And if HCPN should bring Pitt to a couple ACC finals in the next few years, he will have more than MSU interested.

    Pitt FB has had a history of periods of success followed by longer periods of mediocrity; no reason to think this trend will not continue.

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  5. Re-reading the article I don’t think I got the point that I really want Narduzzi to be here for the long run across well enough. But we see ups and downs with Pitt football – and college football in general – enough, as wwb notes above, that I think this will be a serious concern should Narduzzi do over the next 2-3 what we think he will.

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  6. A hard-nosed Italian from Youngstown coaching at Pitt. Seems like such a perfect fit—from his perspective as well as ours. Let’s hope that he sees Pitt as his “home.” That has to mean something, if we are willing to be competitive in pay and our Chancellor and AD reward him for performance.
    H2P

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    1. Best comment on the thread. Look at the Steelers – continuity and success. Guys who play for the Steelers want to remain here, for the most part, often turning down a few shekels more elsewhere. If Narduzzi keeps a decent string going, which I think he will, Pitt will man up and pay him. The plus is he is a ‘hard nosed Italian from Youngstown’ and fits in at Pitt very well. Pittsburgh is a great city. Hoping Narduzzi settles in and realizes, like the Oracle of Omaha, sometimes being home is more important than getting that last nickel.

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  7. Reed, your timing stinks. The man is in the process of recruiting, fall camp (#2 for him) hasn’t come but you are dragging out the “What IF’s”. We all know the realities of different programs and allocations for coaches, but Holy Catfish, can’t you hold on for his second year?????? It must be the toxics of Pittsburgh with incessant complaining that get into the nostrils and remain with us when long gone away.

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  8. Older – Pitt football blogs have discussed the good bad and indifferent issue regarding the program every week of every year – what I and others write on here had zero effect on recruits or their families. believe me – i have talked with enough player’s parents to know 99% of them don’t care what is written on the Internet. They just really don’t care.

    As for the timing it is valid because I truly think that if we have a big season – 9 or 10 wins against that 2106 schedule the pressure will come flooding in for Narduzzi to take a ‘better’ position elsewhere. Will he do it? Who knows” But it sure could happen – just like he could stay.

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  9. It’s tough to read about the past, but incredible how after 17 years at the helm the then Chancellor, Bowman, decided to de-emphasize football in 1938 and led to some dark times in the 40s. Not that it was rosy in the 50s and 60s, either. I simply don’t understand why the university never wanted to take athletics serious. It does nothing to jeopardize the academic side of an institution.

    I graduated from Ohio State in 1997 and though not one fiber of my body bleeds Scarlett and Gray, the school decided in 1990 to really become a football power and the academic side has thrived as well. No longer do you need only a pulse to get into tOSU. You better score in the high 20s on your ACT to even be considered. I’ve heard Pitt is really difficult to get into now as well. So how come the Pitt program continued to be average and cheap under Nordenberg? Granted, under his watch Pitt went from averaging 3.2 wins in the 1990s to averaging 7.4 in the 2000s. Pitt should have won more games in the 2000s when looking back.

    That just shows the potential of the Pitt program as those wins were achieved by the school wanting to try to win but more so on the cheap side as better assistants and bigger recruiting budgets weren’t stressed. It didn’t help that Walt lost some games he never should have and blew the 2001 season with the no-huddle offense that backfired. Wannstedt’s QB issues cost Pitt some wins from 2007-10.

    The so-called smart Pitt administrators not understanding the word “Continuity” when used in the context of a football coach has been the real destroyer. If I had my druthers, Gottfried would have coached thru the 1998 season and then Pitt makes its next move to find someone. Pitt was going to be really good in 1990 and you just have to watch the 1989 Sun Bowl on Youtube and also know who was joining the program that summer to see some exciting times were in store. Not to mention Gottfried could recruit pretty well.

    As a Youngstown guy I sure hope Narduzzi is here for the long haul. He’s going to need good QBs and stability at offensive coordinator to be great at Pitt. Here’s to MacVittie and Canada being the real deal because we know Narduzzi will build a defense at Pitt.

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  10. Reed, I am familar with the spreadsheet you posted in this article. I was curious about how much Narduzzi was making around mid season and found out it was 2 million. After he got his extension I was wondering how much of a pay raise he got but pitt never released the pay details. My point is in your article you state Duzzi just got a raise to 2 mil when in truth that was his salary before the extension. I could be wrong but I think he is making more than 2 mil. I doubt it was a big enough raise to change your concerns but I thought I would just let you know.

    Ps. According to that spreadsheet mike london is the hc of virginia

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  11. If he wins 9 or 10 games with the current lack of D talent I am taking him to dinner to watch him turn water into wine. They should immediately bump his salary to 4 mil per year.

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  12. By the way….WOW, is Franklin paid too much! That kind of money should bring you Michigan State results in the Big 10.

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  13. Is Narduzzi from Michigan? Does he have any family ties in that oh-so-beautiful city of Lansing?

    There’s no place like home fellas. We keep him competitive – and maybe not even to the tune of $4 M and he takes care of us. $3 M in ‘da Burgh and you live like a king. (Heck $300k in ‘da Burgh and you like like a king…)

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  14. Marble- Well, not to sound snarky but I and millions of other Pittsburghers don’t feel that way. That Tri-State area loses population every year because there are bigger and better opportunities other places – just as across the nation people leave their hometowns.

    This isn’t the old days where everybody either stayed in PGH or longed to go back to PGH. And I’m not toosure someone who may be looking at 3.5M+ per year is worried about the slight Cost of Living difference PGH holds – unless you want to live in NYC, San Fran or Honolulu.

    I used to get the “When are you coming home” talk from my friends all the time when i was in the military living in Hono, Wash Sate, Alaska, NYC, etc…. Was kind of surprised they seriously thought I’d give that up…

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    1. Times are a changing in the burgh Reed, population decline has halted. New and exciting companies coming in, Google, Uber, Apple, etc…
      New development in East liberty, Lawrencville, Garfield, it’s unbelievable. The perfect storm is a brewing, pay the man and he will build it. Trust me PITT is very wealthy.

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    2. When I moved to the Gulf Coast 37 years ago, i thought I would move back to Western PA when I retired. Now that I’m retired, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve never had to shovel sunshine.

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  15. Everyone’s different and has had different experiences. Lived in San Fran for a year and a half, and two years in Phoenix. Parents getting older, all my family in W. Pa., Oh., Md. and Va.. Couldn’t wait to get back to Pittsburgh, and took a big pay cut to do it. A big sense of life relief when I found my way back East. Now on everyone”s top city every year, top food city by New York Times last year, top tech city a few years ago, I’m thrilled. Only thing I wish, I wish the shore was close enough to do at least a day trip. Can’t have everything though. Can do long weekends if I want to.

    I digress, what do we really know? This could be where he wants to be, and with the new administration, perhaps they will put him at a higher bracket that satisfies him in the future?

    Maybe he bolts? Maybe he does have a dream job? Maybe money is the #1 thing with him? As Pitt fans, we’ve been conditioned, that after the season, none of us would be surprised to hear on the news, that Pat Narduzzi has called a press conference. LMAO.

    Maybe it’ll be different this time??

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  16. Granted I was 4 months old, but I love history in general, and think I know Pitt history well…I never ever knew Majors had already accepted the Tennessee job before the Sugar Bowl. Good job on the kids behalf staying focused on the task at hand and manhandling the Dawgs 27-3 to be crowned national champs.

    Now as far as Narduzzi staying here long term, I think it’s possible. If he were to start getting to ACC Championship games and Top 25 annually, Pitt will have no choice but to approach that $4 million a year mark. That’s just what it takes to be a big time program and keep a successful coach around. If Pitt is not willing to pay in that range, he will certainly leave.

    He has said publicly he’s a guy that don’t like to move around, so him wanting to make Pittsburgh home for the long run is possible.

    Home attendance is a concern to me. Many programs sell out and have a great atmosphere for home games. Pitt will never sell Heinz out regularly, but getting 50-55 thousand per game is reasonable, if the team is successful for a stretch.

    Hopefully Narduzzi can have the type of success where we’ll find out if Pitt is willing to pay what it takes to be a big time program and if Narduzzi wants to lay roots here or use this as a springboard to a bigger program…

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  17. Exactly. He hasn’t done anything yet. It will take another year or two for him to have his talent on D. Then we shall see what wins occur.

    Recruit recruit recruit

    Get some big wins

    Show you have overcome your achilles heel, the triple option

    Then, maybe another team comes calling

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  18. The bottom line is, and always will be, do not fall in love with any coach.
    Briles at Baylor.
    Sarkisian.
    Poopypants.
    It has been one year, and while I like the direction of the program (delusional optimism as always) , many of the close wins last year could have been losses.
    Commensurate pay for performance.

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  19. Of course all this is early times and speculation but that is what fans do during the doldrums.

    I have some other larger articles in draft form for the next two weeks then we will get involved with players and the camp.

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  20. Has it occurred to anyone that if PN brings the program to such a level that he is a “Hot Topic”, that then Pitt, too, will be a ” Hot Topic”? We won’t need to be looking for MAC coaches, or coordinators for PN’s replacement. If he does what we all think he will do at Pitt, we should be in a pretty good position to hire a good replacement.

    I get the feeling that being close to his family and his roots is important to him. I can empathize – at his age, I greatly savored ( and still do) every opportunity to spend time with parents and sibs.

    He has worked for a coach who is in his “Final Job”, and has demonstrated stability – not job hopping – to PN.

    True, he may want to cash in, but will he feel like starting over in his mid-50’s? There would be a lot of pros & con’s to weigh…not just $$.

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  21. Hainsey picks ND. ND owns the WPIAL this year and has Jurkovec’s verbal for next year.

    Sorry but PN doesn’t even own his back yard. Let’s not lose our heads yet.

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  22. Great article, great comments. Aren’t we due for a coach to stick around for 10 years?? C’mon!!! You can only bet on red so many times, black’s gotta hit!!!

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  23. I have no doubt that HCPN feels very comfortable here at Pitt , and is very appreciative to be here. I’m just saying that after nearly 10 successful years as a defensive coach for a program that plays in the conference that garners the most annual revenue, he would be a prime candidate for MSU. And Youngtown may be closer to Pgh than East Lansing … but not by a heck of a lot.

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  24. PK – Pitt will never use a penny of that endowment for football salaries. If we have money from other sources it will be the ACC TV rights and associated payouts or the general operating funds

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    1. Agreed, point is that PITT has money and with the proper leadership (Gallagher) we can compete with the big boys! Remember the front door.

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  25. Reed will have to correct me on this, but in the military as well as law, a preemptive strike is a strategic method employed to stifle your adversaries and catch them off guard before they know what hit them. It takes some creativity. I would propose that the Administration handle the situation preemptively, thus thwarting attempts from other universities to lure our coach from us. Gallagher should go about the business of extending Narduzzi every year that the results are good. A one way extension, if you will. Suppose the Narduzzi salary going into 2016 is $2M for 4 years.

    I would bracket the HC for 2016 as follows For 14-15 Win Seasons, your salary is $4.5M, or the average of the top 5 college coaches. For 12-13 Wins, your salary is $3.8M. For 10-11 wins, your salary is $3.5M. For 9 wins, your salary is $3.1M. For 8 wins, your salary is $2.7M 7 wins is is $2.5M. Everything else is $2.2M.The 2.2M has a one way escalation clause each year, so that at a minimum, he will make $2.2M unless he hits a higher target of wins. If he does that, it is a win win. We want to keep rolling the years, so lets say it is a five year contract.We should pay big money if he wins big, just like a corporation does with their sales force and executives. No different here.

    Some might say that he would be inclined to break the rules to get the money and I say that you can contract language that out as well. I think that he stays here for a long time. He could have had other jobs and balked. Who would want to step in the shoes of Saban, Kelly, Dantonio, Meyer. That path has already been made. Create your own path for someone else to follow. Does he want to be the answer to the trivia question as to who followed the great _________, or would you like the rivia question to be, who followed the great Narduzzi? I say the latter.

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  26. Interesting – but the top five average is 4.7M and I can say right now we won’t see Narduzzi nor any other Pitt HC get that kind of money in anywhere near the next few years.

    BTW – These ‘many offers‘ to be HC at other schools is a burgeoning Pitt generated myth and has been since we hired him.

    In all the research I did for this article I found exactly one solid offer to Narduzzi and that was from UCONN in 2014. There were also rumors that he turned down the Colorado State job earlier but apparently a formal contract was never offered by CSU to Narduzzi…

    http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2014/12/24/University-of-Pittsburgh-to-address-Pitt-head-football-coaching-vacancy-Friday/stories/201412240211

    He had entertained overtures in the past, turning down the Connecticut job last year and reportedly removing himself from consideration for the Colorado State job this offseason to focus on the Pitt job.”

    The bottom line was that he really wasn’t a hot commodity – no Power Five schools pursued him before Pitt and Pitt was by far his best offer (and almost only offer).

    All the Youngstown stuff is just that – things coaches say to appease the fan base.

    Remember Todd Graham’s ‘this is a destination job’? Narduzzi saying that he wants to be at Pitt for a long time means nothing in this sports world’s day and age.

    I like Narduzzi but Pitt fans are making him out like he is some sort of savior who felt some sort of Noblesse Oblige to come here and help out poor old Pitt and gracing us with his presence. That just isn’t true – If anything we gave him a leg up to a 1st time HC job that apparently no other Power Five school wanted to give him anytime in his 12 years of being a coordinator.

    Sorry my friends, I can’t stand hype that has no real basis. He was a good coordinator at MSU and I’m glad he’s here but to think that he’s worth any more money than another average HC is just wrong at this point. He gets paid an average salary and that about what he’s worth. He won one more game last season than we did in ’13 and all of a sudden we have to open the checkbook?

    That is ridiculous – as a matter of fact I didn’t like the first extension because he hadn’t proved worthy of it yet and what happened right after that was inked? He failed to get the team ready to play Navy in the bowl game and we got our asses handed to us.

    Oh – while I’m on a roll I’ll say this, lets call him a great recruiter when he does some great recruiting across the recruiting class and we see actual results on the field – we are crowning him on the basis of one #31 recruiting class. Hell guys – Chryst had a #35 class in 2013 and no one called him a great recruiter… but those recruits just won 8 games for Pitt last year.

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    1. No one knows how many opportunities coach PN had to leave Michigan State. That is a fact.

      As we learned with coach Stallings, the media and fans have no clue what goes on behind the scenes in the world of college coach searches. Coach PN was the hottest DC in college for at least several years.

      While official offers may not have been made or even made public, I can guarantee search firms reached out to him multiple times to get a feel for his interest in various head coaching jobs.

      That equates to opportunities to leave Michigan State.

      I am sure the truth is somewhere in the middle as usual. He didn’t have tons as Pitt fans like to say and he certainly had more than two.

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  27. I think we agree after 10 years Reed, so I hope you can poke holes in this so our streak continues. My proposal is about rewarding him for the better than average years and keeping him average during the average win loss years. I would even put in a slight escalation clause for a win over the Dairy College. My point is that hypothetically, by playing more games, more revenue is generated. That revenue generation goes to pay the coach more. It is not a budget issue that way. When he has average win loss years, he gets paid…..average. And vice versa.

    With regard to recruiting, I would incentivize Narduzzi and company for a top 10 class……without infractions! The problem is that the admin would have to pay out long before the infractions are uncovered. Welp, I answered that one. No to recruiting incentives.

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  28. PS – We would never be seen as cheap. Top 5 pay for top 5 The coach would never get his feelings hurt. The coach wouldn’t get plucked and the program wouldn’t get plucked.

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  29. My surprise (I did not remember) was that Johnnie Majors left Pitt for a 6 year, $60,000 per contract. What has happened to salaries since then? Amazing.

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  30. Ironically, the first really large contract for a FB coach was paid to Majors’ replacement, Jackie Sherill … by Texam A&M to lure Sherill from Pitt. Sherill also got a 6 year deal for > $1.7M

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  31. Keith F Smith, FWIW, I spent a nearly a week in late May ’08 at Fort Myers where it was about 89 deg every day. I couldn’t wait to get back to PA.

    My relatives lived on a golf course and NOBODY golfed in the afternoon. What good is sunshine when you can’t enjoy it? If I’m stuck inside, I want it to be dark and dreary outside.

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  32. Kevin Stallings was just on the Fan and quoted Roy Williams … “I’d rather lose 90 to 80 than 50 to 40” That should please many of the Pitt faithful.

    He mentioned Cam, Damon and Ryan as underclassmen who has impressed him so far in workouts … in addition to the 4 seniors (although I believe their workouts are limited in what they can do). He prefers a 9 man rotation.

    He was asked if any of the players realize what a great athlete Dick Groat was … he replied that these players probably think of Michael Jordan as an owner.

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  33. Documents unsealed today revolving possible disclosure back in the late 70’s to Pooppypants that creepy Jerr was just that.
    Boy, if true, I hope it doesn’t delay resurrection of the statue.

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  34. @PittPT, Pop Warner is a national football program for the wee folk. They have also delved into dance and cheer, and are involved in the scholastic aspect of the pee-wees. Donations etc.. They are a pretty big organization.

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  35. My team (I was the starting left tackle) won the local Pop Warner championship which got me both a trophy and a jacket. That was when I was 13 back in the mid 60s .. and is as far as I progressed as a FB player.

    Pop Warner was an old time FB coach and youth leagues were formed all over the country. I believe nowadays there may be regional and or national playoffs, not sure.

    When I played, you had to be aged 10 to 13 and weigh between 80 and 120. It may be different now.

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  36. The thing about Reed that you can always rely on is his pragmatic analysis of the situation. No rah, rah, cheerleading for the Pitt Faithful to get behind in a lockstep march formation like some other fan bases that will remain nameless. Rather, let’s reign in any unwarranted enthusiasm by considering when our HC of 19 months moves on to his next career destination. After all, this is Pitt who has had like a half dozen head coaches over that same number of years, right? Sounds rational when looking through the rear view mirror of Pitt football’s recent past. Problem is you can’t drive forward very well when your attention is fixated in such a manner.

    I don’t think that anyone would debate that the current landscape of Power 5 conferences with the championship playoff system & the money involved with TV and conference networks is completely different now than 40 years ago when Pitt won it’s last NC. So why then ONLY consider historical trends and past data when anticipating where this modern day administration is taking this institution’s football program into the future?

    Sorry Reed, without malice, I have to disagree with your entire premise on this topic.

    As some have already mentioned above, a coach like Narduzzi sure seems to be good fit here in Pittsburgh. His local roots cannot be discounted as you imply, that is important a local guy like Narduzzi, because he has stated himself in many different ways that his desire is to stay put where he feels comfortable. It is not always about fame & fortune. No matter how cynical you would like to be, or rather how naïve you would like to paint my perspective on the matter, Narduzzi just considers Pittsburgh his home turf, it’s that simple.

    Now, not so obvious is what amount of money keeps someone satisfied? It is more than just the finances when you’re discussing million+ annual contracts because egos, comparing compensation to other HCs, etc. come into play.
    Well, my opinion with Narduzzi is that once you start talking contracts that are in the 2 to 3 million/yr range, then Coach Duzz no longer goes after chasing the $$$. Then his priorities focus on factors that effect his own professional success. Things like administrative support, recruiting resources, physical facilities, fan support and opportunity to compete for championships, they all trump the money at that point with a personality like Narduzzi’s, IMO.

    Unlike you, I do consider Pitt one of those programs going forward that can become elite again and that has a very defined path to another NC if so inclined to commit to such an endeavor.

    I find it ironic when the argument is that programs like FSU & Clemson are just too powerful to compete against and will always be stumbling blocks impeding Pitt’s championship aspirations. That’s just not true. Clemson’s football program has only become really good over the period since Pitt’s decline after their last hay days period of the 80’s. Clemson has won ONE NC title, earned in 1981. So what makes them so tuff? All the things that they do tomorrow, that’s what. Great recruiting, good stable coaching, fan and financial support. All stuff that Pitt can do too IF they commit to it!

    The biggest issue at Pitt is US. The fanbase. Sorry, but we kind of suck as fans. We sit around and wring our hands debating things like when our first year HC is going to abandon our program this time. That is simply dysfunctional. Once we get that fixed, then Pitt actually does have the potential to fill up Heinz Field on a regular basis to watch a top 10 football program commit for championships. Pittsburgh WILL support a winner. They demand it in fact if you expect to fill up a venue. If Narduzzi builds one, we will show up.

    This is a new era in Pitt football, as it is a new era in Power 5 football in general. There are the haves and the have nots. With Pitt being in the ACC, we are one of the “haves”. Now within that structure there are the elite programs that are consistently striving for national championships. Pitt ain’t one of them, and maybe, never will be, but to say that the Panthers will never win another NC is just foolish because no one knows what the future holds, period.

    What I do know is that right now the stage is set for some good fortune for Pitt football. Our administration has committed to our football program, we have a coaching staff that seems poised for success, we have a fanbase that at least is interested in the program again and we are secure in a stable Power 5 conference, in a division that is winnable by the Panthers every year. The recruiting is looking better than it has under Chryst’s direction and both rivals penn state and WVU are back on the future schedules.

    I’m happy and optimistic. Keep Narduzzi happy by paying him what he is worth IF he proves out to be a winner and let’s go out and win some ACC Coastal Crowns for a start. Then let’s just see where we go from there. I think that you will be surprised on just how long Narduzzi hangs around if we just keep our focus looking forward and quit being preoccupied with worrying about the “what ifs” instead.

    Now, just to entertain my Panther Pride enthusiasm this one time,,,,,,,

    All together now, LET’s GO PITT!

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  37. Well PN has been here longer than Fraud. I tend to not think about a head coaching move, I am more concerned with quality assistants. Majors took us from a doormat program to the top of the heap. My recollection is that people wrung their hands when the class act left for Tennessee. Most important to me was the quality of his assistants – he gave us Sherrill and the three 11-1 seasons until Pitt de-emphasized again. Pay for quality assistants as well. LET’s GO PITT.
    PS A judge and Pitt fan asked me from the bench yesterday who was the QB when Walt tried the hurry-up and had like three delay penalties? Said he sent them a $12 Timex. Who was that QB?

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  38. Reed, if you are searching for topics and information that might be very enjoyable to a lot of Pitt fans, may I suggest a chart of the head coaches and their coaching staffs from Majors in ’72 forward. People might be shocked at how outstanding some of those assistants were and their careers. Also, put together a list of Pitt guys who became head coaches in the NFL as well as those who became NFL coordinators and assistants.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Dr T- you made me cry. However, I never said Narduzzi was going to leave – just that as sports fans and Pitt followers it is a topic for discussion and it should be no matter how optimistic your outlook is. That article did exactly what I intended – got my POV and opinions across, with some research and facts thrown in and started good conversation.

    You seem to think that because I choose to look at the 360 degrees of issues that I’m pessimistic when the fact is that isn’t true. I hate to throw the word “reality’ around willy-nilly but the reality is that when discussing Pitt Football you have to look at the past, especially the recent past, and weigh that against what we all HOPE is the bright future.

    Were we Alabama or OSU, etc… that wouldn’t even be a concern but obviously we are not. We are Pitt and with that we have twists and turns and ups and downs and joy and disappointments.

    You choose to block off any concept of that things with Narduzzi and Pitt football that may not go exactly according to your (overly IMO) optimistic views. Good – have at it and we need fans like you.

    But I’m not just a fan when I write articles for thousands of people to read and think about and discuss – on here and around the water cooler. My ‘job’ with that is to examine the issues surrounding Pitt football and try to 1) educate readers as to factual things like stats, trends, etc and then to 2) throw my own thoughts out there to make people think about sides (Points of View hence the POV name here) of the news stories, issues and game results where they might not have done so before.

    I do not tell people how to think on here nor do I criticize people for the opinions they hold that differ from mine. I am not trying to be ‘right’ all the time. I am trying to learn as much as I can about what I’m writing about and get that through to our readers and commenters in an enjoyable and thought-provoking way.

    Because I write articles that do not cheer-lead or are Rah-Rah type pieces doesn’t mean I don’t have those very optimistic feelings inside me sometimes.

    Believe me I do for some things and you know what they are. Student/athletes doing good things in the classroom and on the field, coaches making good and solid disciplinary decisions, kids who sat on the bench and come out and contribute to a win, an administration that places the whole of the university before wins on a football field…etc… You have heard me talk about these things for over five years now Tom.

    It would be a huge disservice to you and the other readers if I didn’t love and care about Pitt and then come on here and kick out a about million words for you to read. So there are times when I think a dose of reality serves purposes on here but I also believe there is a time and a place to revel in the good things that the school and the program accomplish.

    The place for 100% optimism is Pitt’s Athletic Media Department, not in discussions among Pitt fans – you’ll never get that from me on here and I’m sure you yourself wouldn’t want that.

    On a separate note; Started Pitt POV BB articles for all the BB fans we have on here and on The Blather – hope you enjoy.

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    1. Reed, to the contrary, although I tend to be the glass half full kind of fan, I did not describe this article as pessimistic, those are your words. I did use the description, pragmatic, which as you just eluded to is the practical, fact based interpretation of the past and present to manufacture your POV. I have no issues with that, other than I disagree with the POV. (Sorry I made you cry, BTW).

      Just because I’m (overly, IYO) optimistic doesn’t make me right or wrong either, it’s just my POV, based on the facts of the recent history with Narduzzi, and my hopes on where this new era of Pitt football is going.

      Anybody who is not optimistic after Pittlanded in the ACC Coastal division, hearing of Chancellor Gallagher’s commitment to athletics, the dumping of Pederson and the initial success of Coach Narduzzi’s tenure is just not looking at the “reality” of the current circumstances.

      Yeah, so I’m optimistic, and for good reason. From your reply, sounds like you’re cautiously optimistic yourself. Good on ya, you should be. Pitt’s football fortunes are on the rise.

      Like

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