The Pitt Fan base got their wish.

Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson was let go earlier today, and seemingly as a bonus, Wide Receiver coach Kevin Sherman was let go with him.

The only surprise is that Narduzzi actually pulled the trigger.  Speculation was rampant that loyalty would outweigh performance, and Watson would get another year, but in the end Shawn Watson’s performance was just not good enough, if not for the coach, then certainly for the fans, who made a public spectacle of cancelling season tickets and sending direct feedback to Athletic Director Heather Lyke via email and social media.  Right, wrong or indifferent the people spoke, and Pitt listened.

And while College Football is not a democracy, it is in many ways a business, and the fans are the customers.  So two points to Pitt for listening to their customers, especially when the data supports it.

Watson’s undoing, of course, was his inability to move the ball and score, which are fairly basic requirements for an offense.  Watson presided over the lowest combined two-year yardage and scoring totals since 2011.  When you layer in his inability to use and recruit Tight Ends, his lack of Quarterback development, and the horrendous three-game stretch at the end of 2018 which resulted in three losses and 8.7 points per game, the writing was on the wall.

Here is a look at what Watson accomplished at Pitt:

2018, 7-7, 6-2 ACC, Won Coastal Division

  • Pitt ranked 98th out of 130 in yards per game (370)
  • Pitt ranked 94th out of 130 in points per game (25.6)

2017, 5-7, 3-5 ACC

  • Pitt ranked 97th out of 130 in yards per game (366)
  • Pitt ranked 101st out of 130 in points per game (23.9)

graph - university of pittsburgh yards per game 2011 - 2018

graph - university of pittsburgh points per game 2011 - 2018

And so the questions begin.

Will Pat Narduzzi fall into the same old trap?  (Hiring for relationships instead of track record)

Will Pitt go cheap?  (How much was Watson making?  Will they increase the salary pool?  Pitt has certainly gone cheap in the past, and it would hard to get somebody much worse than Watson)

The elephant in the room of course is “Can anybody work with Pat Narduzzi”?  He’s now gone through three coordinators in four years, and while not all of it can be attributed to Pat himself, that is not the kind of turnover that makes any boss look good.

But…lets assume the turnover wasn’t Pat’s fault.  Two of Pat’s lost OC’s were lured away by what is widely regarded as the best conference in College Football, and certainly the richest.  Jim Cheney (UGA) obviously upgraded his situation, and Matt Canada (LSU) was lured by a big payday and clearly didn’t consider the downstream consequences of chasing the money.

Let’s also assume Narduzzi doesn’t fall into the same old relationship trap, and lets assume Pitt decides to open up the pocketbook.  Now this is a fun game.

Who would they hire?  What system will that person bring?  What kind of an impact would they be able to make in 2019?  For the love of God can they please be an ace recruiter?

What I can say is that the rumblings on social media and the blogs have been positive.  Supposedly important people at Pitt wanting to get the right guy in place.  Are the rumblings real?  I certainly hope so.  We all saw what happened for Pitt Basketball when we cut Stallings and brought in Jeff Capel.  Making a similar move at Offensive Coordinator would add some momentum to a Pitt Football program that sorely needs it.

Hail to Pitt




140 thoughts on “Watson and Sherman Gone

  1. Curious as to why it took so long (after bowl loss). Those stats don’t lie.

    I think finding an ace recruiter almost trumps on field coaching ability – as long as the new OC is competent in that regards the emphasis needs to be on people skills for at least one of the new coaches.

    Regardless, good news overall, and great to see that Heather reads and heeds the POV.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Zero chance Duzz was going to publicly fire someone (friend) during the holidays. I’m sure they knew their fate for several days. Timing was most likely a courtesy out of respect

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m throwing down the gauntlet here and ask for all the posters whether a Narduzzi detractor or not, to give their suggestions on who PITT should hire now. I seriously can’t wait to hear and read all the shouting and the SOP comments. If you didn’t have a particular coach or style a of coach or three in mind, then what were you really wishing for?

    My biggest concern is a designated QB coach more than anything…… PITT doesn’t need two defensive back coaches.


    1. Nothing wrong this past year with 2 RB’s with 1000 plus yards each. The fact that was accomplished without the threat of any passing game is quite remarkable actually.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. I’d rather not see Canada. Been there, done that. He has had mixed success at all his stops.

    I’d like to see a RPO, more wide open college offense. I mention Larry Fedora being mentioned for the Miami OC job. Something similar to the offense he ran at UNC, Not sure what OC’s are out there and available.

    My fear isn’t the PN hire’s a coach he knows. I fear he hires a coach that runs a boring pro offense. Worse yet, he promotes Tim Salem.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. One prerequisite would be that PITT hires someone who wasn’t fired last week and they would rather hire someone away from a preexisting job. Canada would be the exception here but his buyout would have to be astronomical. << Then again, he can keeping walking…. Loyalty is important here.


    1. Ike, we may be able to pick up an OC who was “fired” because the head coach was dumped and the new guy wants to bring in his own team. In that case, a good OC may be now on the market.


    1. If Pitt hires Jim Bob Cooter, he’d have to come to Fran’s tailgates and hang out with Scooter! Cooter, meet Scooter!

      Course once the game starts all bets are off with Scooter…🤨

      Go Pitt!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. The dude was only a graduate assistant in college, has crashed and burned in the NFL, had a DUI while at Tennessee and was charged with burglary for climbing up into a window and getting into a woman’s bed. Take if from me he is not coming to Pitt.


  5. I lyke Getsy for many reasons…
    Young, smart, experienced and local.
    Recruiter? Not sure. Could not find a current salary either.

    And what’s not to Lyke about Heather?


  6. You make a valid point pmd, it would depend the reasons the head coach was fired. For instance, if he was fired because his offense sucked would not be a good thing. Where’s Cignetti these days?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m for the triple option. Bring in Paul Johnson. I’d like pitt do something totally different the rest of acc. If army can lay 70 on Houston, it can work.


      1. However, when the triple option is stifled – and teams with good defenses tend to stifle it – it’s really boring to watch, IMHO…


  7. HgbFrank – Now you’re talking my language. It’s not like we have an offensive line to worry about not being recruited for a spread. 👀


  8. hope this doesn’t break the ‘no politics’ rule here but I see where Bill Walton is suggesting Obama as UCLA’s next BB coach. Thus, I suggest Condolessa Rice for OC; if she is good enough for selection committee …. But come to think of it, as far as politics go, she is about the least offensive figure that I know, so maybe not.


    1. Wow, talk about a security nightmare! Secret service guys everywhere, fans getting wanded on their way into the game, and dissatisfied fans getting dragged out for yelling at the coach…. Na, can’t see it.


  9. Hope Heather has to sign off on this hire. Afraid if Duzz makes the hire alone he will hire someone who will not show him up as HC or be so successful fans will want him to be HC.

    Still stunned the trigger was pulled on Watson.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. RE: selecting a new OC, my comment from the previous thread:

    For a new OC, I would try to hire the best OC from the FCS universities (James Madison, North Dakota State, et. al.). Remember, Chip Kelly was the OC at New Hampshire when Oregon hired him as its OC. Here’s what Kelly did at New Hampshire, per Wikipedia :

    Kelly was promoted to offensive coordinator at New Hampshire (1999–2006). The Wildcats’ offenses averaged better than 400 yards per game of total offense in seven of his eight seasons[1] In 2004, the school broke 29 offensive school records; compiling 5,446 yards of total offense and scoring 40 or more points in seven games. Their best offensive output was in 2005 when the Wildcats finished second nationally in total offense (493.5 ypg), third in scoring (41.7 ppg) and fifth in passing (300.1 ypg). They completed the season with an 11–2 record.

    He was named the College Assistant Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston following the 2005 season in addition to being selected as “one of college football’s hottest coaches” by American Football Monthly.[5] In 2006, quarterback Ricky Santos won the Walter Payton Award under Kelly’s guidance, after Santos finished second in balloting for the award in 2005.[5]


  11. Yes dan72, that’s where I’m at. It’s like we just did the right thing, and did it fast! I was not expecting that, but then again, a lot of things have gone right since the hiring of Heather Lyke. If the powers that be forced this so quickly, then that means to me that we have high expectations and hopefully cash to match it. Keep in mind, Narduzzi’s last few hires, including Borbs & the DC seem to have been solid choices in retrospect.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Disagree about Borbely. He is a half-coach. If he can only coach run blocking and can’t coach pass blocking, he shouldn’t be the line coach.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I disagree Joe. Borbley is a verteran coach and his lines have never been better then mediocre pass blockers. More often than not they’ve been in the bottom third of the NCAA. I’d not be surprised if he was cut loose after we sign a new OC

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I won’t be surprised either, Mike. Especially if the new OC has “his guy”. Great article, BTW as always.
            What stat are you using to gauge pass protection – sacks, hurries?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I have no idea. I can only judge him starting next season when he will have two true tackles starting. If it is bad then he will need replaced.


  12. In addition to hiring a new OC, I would give the responsibility to the new OC of hiring a new receivers coach and a new QB coach (and a new TE coach, and, if necessary, a new line coach). Those three, at least, have to have the same approach to the offense.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Instability at a critical position like offensive coordinator is disturbing, but when the data, trendlines, and public perception (which impacts recruiting as well as attendance) are so poor, you have to make a change. As for replacement options, I’d kick the tires on the following candidates:

    David Yost
    Offensive Coordinator
    Utah State
    3rd Scoring Offense
    11th Total Offense
    17th Passing Offense
    31st Rushing Offense

    Ranking 3rd nationally in scoring speaks for itself. Yost, who is from the Gary Pinkel coaching tree (Toledo & Mizzou) led a balanced offense, which Narduzzi should appreciate. Additionally, Yost is from Carrollton, Ohio (Canton area) and a Kent State State graduate who has worked at Kent State and Toledo, so he should be familiar with the recruiting area.

    Jeff Lebby
    Quarterbacks Coach
    6th Scoring Offense
    6th Total Offense
    36th Passing Offense
    8th Rushing Offense

    Would be a leap to the coordinator position, but Lebby has had the benefit of learning at the knees of Scott Frost and Josh Heupel as they built some of the nation’s most potent offenses, primarily with recruits ranked at or below the level of Pitt signees. Also would bring ties to the fertile Florida recruiting region.

    Brian Wright
    Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach
    9th Scoring Offense
    30th Total Offense
    68th Passing Offense
    25th Rushing Offense

    The passing numbers are a bit low for my liking but the ratings are really bunched at this level and the differences between ranking in the 30s and ranking in the 60s is only about 30 yards a game. The high rank in scoring offense relative to total offense suggest great efficiency, although that could be influenced by opportunistic special teams or defense. The running game is strong, essentially the same as Pitt’s in ypg, accompanied by a much more dangerous passing threat. Wright is from Wooster, Ohio and graduated from the College of Wooster before going on to work at Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic, so he has experience recruiting two of Pitt’s target areas.

    You could also target a member of Houston’s old, pre-Holgerson coaching staff. I believe the offensive coordinator, Briles, went to Florida State, but if they’re feeling frisky (which they won’t be), Pitt could pluck someone else (QB coach, etc.) from a team with these stats:

    5th Scoring Offense
    7th Total Offense
    16th Passing Offense
    24th Rushing Offense

    Whoever Narduzzi chooses will say a lot about whether his vision and execution can match his ambition.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Tee Martin, another coach with college play-calling experience, also is looking for work. USC fired Martin as its offensive coordinator after taking away his play-calling duties in October.

      Martin, a former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, is regarded as a good recruiter who brought 21 top-100 players to USC, including Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree Jackson and Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yost is an interesting guy. Wonder if he and Narduzzi brushed elbows in the coaching arena? Having roots in Ohio, he may have interest in returning. 47.5 points per game and in one game scoring 73 points.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. UlteriorMotiffs – I like the list. I kept mine localish. I also had B-Wright on my list.

    I can’t see Duzz going going full spread so I kept my list a little more conservative too. Plus, as someone else mentioned, the defense needs balance. A good defense has to have time to rest. Even Bama runs out of steam when they’re on the field for 90 plays.

    Regarding FCS or D2, I’m all for it. Generally, better to hire the HC and not the coordinator in that case. I haven’t looked at any east coast coaches yet in those divisions. Morehead came from those ranks.

    I just hope for an inspired hire.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Wbb – I saw that. Nothing really fits what his previous profile has been. Established OC with P5 experience running a pro style offense.


  16. BTW, my son tells me that 50 years ago today, Pitt named Frank Kush as their head football coach.

    Unfortunately, five days later, Kush changed his mind. Pitt then hired…..Carl DePasqua…

    Also, later that month JoePa turned down the Steeler’s job – thank the Lord!
    Course the Steelers hired some unknown named Chuck Noll (but you should never hire someone who doesn’t have head coaching experience…😊).

    Go Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks MajorMajors, I learned something from your post. I did not know that Frank Kush was a Pitt Head Football coach and I am from the same little town where he came from! Too bad he changed his mind!


      1. Windber, PA

        Cardiac Hill might have been renamed “Mount Kush – East” given his notorious coaching techniques. At least the players would be close to Presby. Not sure that having Kush would have been a good thing in the long term.


        1. Compared to Carl DePasqua it would have been significantly better in both the short and long term. Johnny Majors first camp at UPJ had players throwing up all over the place!


  17. Jim Chaney
    Matt Canada
    Shawn Watson

    I have no idea who should be our next offensive coordinator; but here are my open thoughts:

    ** As some suggested a different direction — not a retread established coach but a young “innovative” gun now making a splash; even if it is from an FCS school

    ** A coach who has the ability to convince PN he has the ability to be an above the line offensive coordinator which would allow PN to continue the successful collaboration with Randy Bates on the defensive side of the ball.

    ** A full time quarterbacks coach

    ** An assistant offensive line coach who can teach pass blocking 🙂

    ** An OC who will stay minimum 3 years.

    ** No Matt Canada

    ** An OC who will start the best quarterback.

    ** A good recruiter

    ** I can go on & on but you get the idea…………….

    Liked by 2 people

  18. MM, I came home after a rough week of work thinking “OK” no more Pitt stuff for me – it even recruiting. But I gave in and checked The POV and there was your article. Sure, the firing of Watson necessitated an article but the tone and content of your article was perfect. Reed really made a good decision handing the POV over to you. Thank you MM and thank you Reed.

    And let’s give PN credit for where it is due. Watson had to go. If PN kept him and the offense was next year as it was this year PN would be gone. And as POVets have pointed out there are explanations for the disastrous offense that arguably could have displaced the blame from Watson. But that’s not how it works. If the offense stinks (and it did) then the OC gotta go. And because he did so then we have to say that PN made the right decision. Was it a no-brainer, yes. But that doesn’t change the fact that PN made the decision. And he made it timely so he gets double credit.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Let’s also not forget the Duzz wants to save his own neck more so than Watson and every other assistant Pitt coach! :>)


  19. Wow this was a surprise. I lyke Heather more and more every day! Great article by the way. Liked the bar charts, lots of info at a quick glance!

    I do not want Canada or any other retread. I would go with an up and coming coordinator from a FCS school as has been suggested above. Larry Fedora would be a great choice though I doubt he would come work from someone he beat every time he faced him.

    As for the rest of the offense side of the staff, I would let the new OC bring in his own people if he thinks they are better than what we currently have in place.

    This made my day! Maybe Mr. Narduzzi is slowly growing into this head coaching job. It has been a painful process though. Unfortunately we all should not be too ecstatic until we see who is hired.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I am late to the partyyyyyyy…..hope yinz saved me a beer….

    Lotsa guys can coach offensive football….this is an opportunity to change the personality- climate of the present staff by looking at the characteristics of prior successful Pitt coaches and take into account Narduzzi’s shortcomings…diversify hire an out-going coach who can connect with the local communities and coaches.. get someone who can bring in a new level of excitement to the fan base… get a recruiter who knows the ACC and SEC footprint… get someone who will be open to the local press and get them in the home team’s corner… get someone who is so damn good that Narduzzi elevates his game… get and up and comer full of energy a wants to make a name for themselves and PITT… pay them well… the right person will bring in a healthy return on our investment…

    Hail to Heather…next on the list-get rid of the Mountaineer yellar…!!!

    UPitt… get back on here… we just got rid of a couple of Dicksocks… do you think Mr Big Calf’s has gotten the message???? Would love to hear your thoughts brother.

    Liked by 7 people

  21. I think with the $1 million offer to Canada two years ago they have set the bar for minimum OC salary. Candidates will know what he was offered to stay


    1. I never believed Pitt offered Canada a million a year. Real easy to say that after the guy leaves and that would be so Pitt to try and make itself look good. That is a tough task in itself after these past 36 years of mediocrity.


      1. Speaking of Canada and the alleged Pitt million $ offer reminds me of a true story an old timer from Amarillo would tell: Years ago this old timer owned a liquor store. One night a guy comes in and asks for a pint of 4 Roses whiskey. As the old timer is bagging it the customer asks how much is it? The old timer says $4.99…. to which the guy responds “Terrible’s Liquor sells it for $3.99. So the old timer tells the guy “then buy it over there!” To which the customer reply’s I would but they’re out of it.” To which the old timer says: “Well, when I’m out of it I sell it for $2.50!!!”


        1. It was also widely speculated that the LSU football offer to MacVittie was not true as well. Well Les Miles indeed finally get his player as MacVittie signed to play for him recently.. He must have really wanted TM


  22. Still believe that offer was legitimate. Same as the scholarship offer to MacVitte who ended up going to play for Les Miles this year. << It must have been real..


  23. Instructive article Mike, especially the Ross Perot charts. I won’t give too much credit to PN for this firing. I think Heather is 100% responsible. I also agree that she will continue her stellar hiring pattern and find a winner.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Rick. Lol Ross Perot charts. “Let me show you something here about Shawn Watson”. I agree probably heather’s doing, and that’s alright with me

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I see some mention that we need an OC who can recruit. That would be awesome and very refreshing — and virtually unprecedented at Pitt.

    Will someone please refresh my memory on when we had an OC who recruited good players…

    I remember when Wanny brought in Cavanaugh — I thought Matt, with his background, would at least be able to bring in excellent QBs… Boy, was I wrong.

    Really like the idea of an OC who can recruit though… Would like us to try a younger guy whose background and style would excite the current players.

    Go Pitt.


    1. Best part is it will be a full house at the Pete and the crowd will be fired up. Something we don’t offer in football at Heinz, which handcuffs our FB recruiting…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Here is the link to USA Today report on assistant coaches salaries for 2018.

    If you want to know what the guy from Toledo, Utah State or even Matt Canada at Maryland makes, you can use this report.. There is over 1300 names.

    To make your life easier, click on the word school in the header title. The report will sort alphabetically by school. Scroll down to the school you want & find your coach,

    Remember anything in RED gives more history. Another short cut to where a coach previously worked. I found out the guy from Utah State (a Canton, Oh. area native) has spent a good amount of time in the pacific time zone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How much does Pitt pay their guys?
      I’m thinking Bates and Watson were making around $500k-$750k
      I’m thinking that Pitt’s overall budget for assistants is probably in the $3M-$3.5M ballpark, which amounts to what Narduzzi is hauling in all by himself
      So Pitt isnt being cheap but they arent breaking the bank either; most likely middle of the ACC
      You get what you pay for
      Narduzzi is a top 40 coach in compensation
      If Pitt could find an extra million, they could hire much better coordinators
      $1 Million seems to be the line where the wheat is separated from the chaff


    1. I’m definably no Gandalf. I identify with Radagast. But if I was one, I would probably be an apprentice to one of the blues – “Out of sight & nobody knows about what we do or where we are”.


  26. OT: Big time BB recruits today for NC game. Here’s hoping the BB team doesn’t lay the same type of egg that the girls team did by losing to ND 100 to 44 this week.


  27. at least the fans will show …. I believe it is supposed to be a sellout. It’s been a while (FB or BB) when a recruit can be wowed by a Pitt home crowd

    Liked by 1 person

  28. FWIW a little different perspective

    Paul Zeise@PaulZeise
    14 hours ago
    Replying to @PantherLair
    For what it is worth Elijah thought the world of Coach Sherman, said he was maybe the best coach he’s had and that he pushed him hard and made him a much better football player. I can’t speak for anyone else or to his recruiting but I am confident saying he is a good FB coach


    1. it should be known that Sherman was Elijah’s position coach for only a brief period. NTL, these people are human and are not total failures even if they are fired.


    2. Chris Peak@PantherLair

      I’ll say this about Kevin Sherman: he was the coach when Jester Weah turned into a pretty good receiver and when Maurice Ffrench’s trajectory pointed up (limited by opportunities). I think he did a decent job


    3. I’m sure he may have positively impacted individuals, but coaches are judged on the overall product, and the receivers didn’t perform as a group.


  29. Who knows why Sherman lost his job. Maybe it was the recruiting part that did him in. But I do believe getting any top rated WR recruit excited to come to Pitt this year would have been very difficult based on what Pitt showed offensively this season. Ditto for getting any TE recruit to take us seriously.


  30. Well, as wbb stated Elijah Zeise had only one WR coach in college…as to Peak’s statements… a position coach exists to make individuals play better but more importantly his group should be taught to play better ball also. That certainly didn’t happen at Pitt. We just watched two seasons of poor route running and mediocre play from our WRs.

    Yes, our QBs sucked those two years but the WRs were a below average bunch and, imo, poorly coached and poorly utilized.

    Weah didn’t blossom his last two years because of Sherman; it was because he went to a sports psychologist to help him get over his actual catching the ball “yips” which is a mental problem, not physical. Once that happen Weah played better football.

    I didn’t see anything at all from Watson or Sherman that made me think there weren’t absolutely expendable.

    The poster above is correct about Borbely – his OLs have always sucked at pass protection.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. PghSportsNow lists the names of a few possible hires for OC. Their thinking seems lean toward someone with a Pitt connection.

    Up until now, Narduzzi has not exactly shown much of the same leaning.


  32. I would say Sherman is gone due to recruiting. When two of your starters are transfers and only Ffrench caught more than a handful something is wrong. Pitt used to be wide receiver U and as recently as Boyd we had a guy setting records. Coaches can only do so much if guys can’t get open and make the catch. We were lucky to have Mack and Lopes but only because most others have been complete failures so far.


    1. The coach can teach technique and I believe our receivers lacked that – in some cases they couldn’t even help their scrambling QB in distress by improvising & running to an open spot on the field.

      But then again, our QB often overlooked a wide open receiver, sometimes in the end zone.


    2. I wouldn’t call Ffrench a failure; he played behind Henderson his first 2 years and of course this year, no WR did well. And Ffrench did have two KO returns for TDs. I really think Mack and Ffrench make up a pair of WRs that can produce next year provided the QB can deliver


  33. One difference is that no new recruits have arrived for the women’s team yet. Still all Coach Suzie’s players. But Coach White has signed 5 recruits plus one transfer for next season.

    This will be another tough season for the women’s team but I think you can already see that the players are getting better coaching from the new staff…

    Go Pitt.


  34. It could just be me, but I think often that a defensive minded coach in the pro’s or in college, is oft replaced by an opposite when he is terminated. So, it seems to me then, that Narduzzi will now be hiring his replacement. What an interesting dilemma. Dan may have touched on that, but not explained.

    Also, I think it was Narduzzi or the last AD that said, you always have a short list of coaching talent tucked in your shirt pocket for occasions that require it. It seems that you shouldn’t fire an OC unless you know for sure that you have a better candidate ready to join the ranks. Doing anything different seems more like luck versus an actual plan. If Narduzzi is waiting for next week at the coaches convention to make the hire, why?

    Look, oklahoma’s head coach just nabbed his defensive coordinator from ohio state. He didn’t play around. He didn’t “wait” until the recruiting period was over before making the move (as many do for some contrived, business practice urban legend, stupid obligatory reason).

    With regard to the firings, Narduzzi isn’t as dumb as he looks….well…. Anyway, it was easy for him and the AD to play good cop, bad cop. Narduzzi, the good cop with his friend says, man I have been to battle against the AD because she wants to get rid of you and believes that you are the weakest link of the staff. I disagreed with her and I am fighting to keep you dear Shawn. Shawn says, hey don’t lose your job on my account. I have under-performed and you shouldn’t fracture your relationship with your boss to try and protect me. Narduzzi,…well…..if you insist good friend. Let me see if i can get you some cash on the way out too, good friend. Narduzzi maintains friendship with Watson and pits Watson against the AD which doesn’t matter because those two will never be together again. The AD is none the wiser and has another high positioned coach out there that doesn’t like her and she doesn’t even know it.

    It’s a slimy world. No wonder these coaches are all paranoid. They are getting played by their own kind and aren’t smart enough to figure it out.

    Well if Salem has been advised to de-emphasize the use of a TE in his recruiting pitch, maybe the new OC will tell recruits that we will punt on third downs. Oh crap, we’ve done that before…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. we’ll see how quick the new hires are made. Remember how long it took for Watson to be hired …. it went from mid Dec to after LOI day … but of course, Canada wasn’t fired. I was always under the impression that Watson was not PN.s first, second or even third choice (of course, he would never admit it). I do know that Bama assistant became Billy Napier became a PN twitter followerer in mid Jan, and then Fraud hired him the very next week as OC the following week.

      I remember after firing Wanny, Smug Steve went after Golden, Holgerson, Graham and Sumlin (2 of them were already hired elsewhere and the other two scoffed at his salary offer) … before hiring Hayward, He did the very same thing at Nebraska after firing Solich.

      In this case, I would hope PN and Heather can work together and use their connections to hire a viable candidate …. we’ll see

      Liked by 1 person

  35. That’s quite a story there Huff the III, lots of suppositions being tossed about. Who knows, you could very well be right on your account of the firing of Watson? I did find the account very entertaining. Me? I lean towards giving the coach a little more credit. I will say that I hope Heather does have her nose in this next hire. There are some interesting names out there, Ulterior had a very enlightening comment as did the PSN on possible candidates. ike the I

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Great post, Huff. That shirt pocket list Narduzzi has may not be so long if he intended to bring Watson back, but was overridden by the boss. But he better get things moving, because the good candidates will go fast. Look for a cheap hire, say a QB coach from a top program who is getting older, and needs to move up quickly.


  37. An NFL QB coach would not be turrrrrible, I suppose.

    I would hope the AD keeps her nose way out of the hire, other than to okay it. She knows nothing about offensive coordinating or football. That would be like me asking Reed to manage my 401k.

    Good grief. You all salivate and get excited just typing her name on here that your objectiveness has flown the coop. It is almost cult-like it’s so scary. Way too early to say anything as someone pointed out to me a week or so ago when I was told that she just needs time. My fear is that this group has been so tainted for 38 years of sport diddly, that we latch on to any scintilla of evidence that suggests something might be changing for the better and overblow it…


    1. Seriously Huff III, I think the world of you and your comments but your criticism and negative obsession of Heather reaches higher levels than the people who just plain thinks she done a good job.


  38. Wasn’t Watson toiling as a non-coach before HCPN called?
    The same could be said for a certain O-line coach.
    Maybe, just maybe, we could hire a varsity player instead of one on JV.

    Only at Pitt will they hire mediocrity and expect something more.
    35 years and counting.


  39. Gasman my friend, PITT and Narduzzi hired Chaney and Canada prior to Watson. The track record isnn’t all the bad. 2 for 3 will get you into the baseball Hall of Fame!!


    1. Ike,
      Given our propensity for SOP, mediocrity and the celebration of all things 7-7, I prefer a what have you done for me now approach.

      And, while Matt Canada caught lightning in a bottle at Pitt, he was fired from NCState, booted from LSU and not retained by Maryland. 1-4 gets u out of the majors and into an over thirty league.
      Chaney, too, was unemployed, and couldn’t wait to bolt after the verbal beat downs from mediocre, cant win a bowl game, Pat.


  40. Not a negative obsession at all. My point is that she hasn’t done anything other than fire the same coaches a high school AD would fire. When she does something good I will congratulate her. Same with Narduzzi. If he hires a well known OC, I will not salivate and say how great the new OC is however. I will wait for actual results, not salivate on potential.

    I will admit that i know many that travel in her circle nationally and most have indicated that she is in over her head from day one from an AD perspective. They do say she is very nice. That’s not me saying it. Pitt went cheap. Pitt went for diversity and inclusion in a time where universities are pushing political agendas more than most would ever think.

    Thanks for the kind words about my posts. I try. I will also say that if we all typed the same thing, this would be boring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting take Huff. I would say the majority of fans have no idea if HL is ‘in over her head or not’ and so all we have to go on is her output.

      So far she’s (visibly) done the following:
      1. Fired Stallings and hired Capel (win)
      2. Started to clean house on other tenured non revenue coaches that (reportedly) didn’t perform (perceived win if this is true)
      3. Ostensibly forced Narduzzi to part ways with Watson (win)

      These are three things, and I know there is a lot more to running an athletic department, mainly does the department flourish and grow finically, facilities wise (do not bring up ON Campus Stadium here but if she could pull that off she should never be questioned again), athletically (ie successful teams) and of course academically (graduation rates). Again I only see what I see but so far she’s not doing any worse that her predecessors and in some areas she’s doing much better


  41. Huff, so more than one AD from other schools told you that Heather is in over her head?
    My only question would be how long ago did you hear this? When she first took the job or more recently after she has been on the job for awhile?
    Necessary info IMHO.


  42. Fran, it was early, but a good and fair question. I don’t go ask about her every time i am in Indianapolis or at the Annual Convention. I also don’t walk around talking Pitt Pitt Pitt, so there are always multiple discussions on multiple fronts going on. Will get another feel in a few weeks whilst in Orlando.

    Mike’s point above was about three things and although spot on, he really made the point I was trying to make which was why is most everyone saying how great she is doing when there isn’t much she has done that can even be gauged. It’s a frustrating point. It’s like having a new CEO at a company. People can like them and they can be nice and all, but at the end of the day, you don’t see results for a year or two. At that point, you can start determining whether the CEO has done a good job or not, but reading how excellent her results are…..are a bit premature in my mind.

    She fired Stallings. Is that a feather in the cap? Really? Have we sunk so low with our expectations with our AD that the decision to terminate was a difficult one? He didn’t win ONE ACC game in year two of his regime. He openly berated his players, even on TV. Noone liked him and he didn’t recruit. It seems to me that the decision was easy, but let’s go to the tape. We gloss over the fact that although we ended up with Capel, that wasn’t the plan. I am glad she couldn’t close the deal with Hurley, but let’s not forget that Hurley was the first choice. It is part of her history.
    Clean house on other programs. Did anyone look at those other programs? I did. It isn’t pretty. I’ll send it to Mike later tonight. It will astound you how bad we have been. Again, a no brainer and maybe something good comes of it, I hope. However, I go back to the banter on here and to the person, everyone says how awesome the new hirings are. Time will tell and the desperateness to see a good program shades the glasses unfairly in my opinion. Maybe the right coaches were in place and they just needed better funding.
    Forcing Narduzzi to get rid of Watson. This scenario has played out and there will be great speculation about this. I will stick with my scenario although many will pump their respective chests out trying to take credit for something. This is basic business. In the insurance business, when a company had a great year financially, the underwriting folks proclaim how great they did in understanding and charging clients for insurance, maximizing profitability. When the insurance companies lose money, they blame the claims people for paying out too much. People try to take too much credit for what really happens and it is puffery. Me, I try to cut through the puffery and go to the facts.

    In my opinion, the facts remain that it is too early to determine exactly what our AD has done. I hope she hits a homerun on all of her hires. But was is success on those hires? If two new coaches do great and 5 do poorly, do we concentrate on the two good hires and say how excellent she is, or do we look at the five failures and say…hey, she failed 5 out of 7 times? Expectations are funny things. Most people are afraid to define them or be judged by them. Some have none and like it that way too. So what is success?

    This is great banter and I appreciate the feedback without calling me a 5th grader from Carrick.That was funny and a shout out to my friend UPitt! LOL!


    1. Agree probably too early to make an accurate assessment. Also agree the three examples I gave were no-brainers. And yet I think we’ve all lived in a world where Pitt doesn’t make those easy decisions. I guess my point is that in the land of the blind the one eyed woman is queen. And in a couple of years it may turn out that her vision was 20/20 all along. Then again it may not…


  43. Right you are Huff III. I’m not disagreeing with what you’re saying it just comes off to me a little on the negative side which is fine and all.

    So I do believe a job like an Athletic Director is hard to gauge early in their tenure. It takes time to turn an athletic department around and especially like a case such as PITT’s mess down in Oakland. I’ve always said I’m not sure if Heather was a good hire or not but we will see. My MO is to wait and then judge, of course it’s like an election exception the results trickle in much much slower. But we do begin to some some results eventually.

    and.. what I’ve seen so far I have to give Heather the benefit of the doubt. One thing I came impressed with is after Heather struck out with Hurley she rallied Gallagher to the cause and they both went down to Duke and convinced Capel to come to PITT. and BTW, the jury is still out on Capel at the moment. Yet, as far as I’m concerned, Lyke hasn’t done great but I do see some things that we haven’t seen at PITT for a very log time. Firing some of the subsidiary sports head coaches sounds like a no brain-er and all but it hasn’t been down at PITT very often prior to Heather arriving.

    Happy you didn’t take my original comment personally friend and I’ll say it again. When a see a comment from you, I sit up and listen intently.ike


  44. The discussion on HL is interesting. If I am summarizing accurately, Ike is saying she is doing a good job, while Huff is saying she is only doing what any legitimate AD would do. My perspective is that after the Pederson and Barnes years of incompetence or intentional dismantling of Pitt Athletics, having an AD actually making those decisions that would seem to be obvious is such a breath of fresh air that I consider it a good job. I am not concerned with what her price tag to come here was. For me I am happy with her performance thus far.H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Agree Mark and Mike. Don’t want to get too far over our ski’s. Let’s see how it plays out abit before anointing takes place.

    Maddox really had a bad series or two for the Eagles. I hate that for hm. Thought he was going to be okay in this game but after his interception got overturned, it has been all bad. It is obvious that chicago has chosen to go after him…and the last two drives have been really successful for the bears. Hope he rises up!

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Mike,

    Great Article. Love the Graphs as they tell us all we need to know.

    I hope Heather has sent Pat a list of names and the money necessary to make the change worth while.


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