After three years we have compiled a 21 & 17 record under Pat Narduzzi as the head coach at Pitt. On the day he was hired I think we Pitt fans would say that if we were told that he’d have that record we’d have been a bit disappointed.
Our previous HC, Paul Chryst, was 19 & 19 in his three years at Pitt but when Narduzzi was hired the Pitt administration proclaimed that it was a new beginning! for the football program and that it would have much more support, mainly financially, from the new Chancellor Pat Gallagher and from the then new AD Scott Barnes.
Or so we were told. I have wondered if this was the case or not especially given the low salary we paid Narduzzi at the signing – $1.8M base contract which was 62nd among 129 FBS head coaches in 2016.
Regardless of the support, or the lack of it, Pat Narduzzi hit the ground running by ripping off two eight win seasons in a row by going 8-5 each year with one of those losses being the bowl game at the end of the season. When you haven’t had a double-digit winning season since 2009 and for about 30 years before that eight wins looked pretty damned good.
Among those 16 wins was a great 2015 match against Penn State, at home, that we had after a 16 year hiatus of playing those rivals of ours. Perhaps topping that was an unexpected and wonderful upset of then #2 (and eventually the National Champions) Clemson down in Death Valley in 2016. Both were ‘signature wins’ and both very much appreciated by the fans.
Fast forward to this last season where things went south with seven losses stacked up against only five wins. Fans had a feeling we’d slip a bit from 2016 mainly because we lost both QB Nate Peterman who had one of the best years a Pitt QB ever had, along with the declaration by RB James Conner – a heart and soul leader of the team.
But I don’t think many fans felt we’d limp along to only five wins. Prior to the season I predicted either seven wins or possibly six… “But no less than a .500 season” Well, I was wrong about that.