Well mediocrity abounds doesn’t it? Blowing a 16 point lead at home to a beatable Wake Forest team certainly smacks of it. I genuinely feel for all Pitt fans who had to suffer through that one in person. The good news is that Capel is only in year two of his rebuild and he still has the support of just about every Pitt fan I’ve seen on this board and on social media.
Pat Narduzzi, not so much.
Since posting our first ever end-of-season football survey – which focused on Pat Narduzzi and the job he’s done – on December 31st, I’ve received over 350 responses. That’s a tremendous amount of participation and I think it gives us a representative sample of POV readership and their opinions. Now what the actual demographic of a POV reader…well I didn’t include any of those types of questions on the poll, so that’s a raise the bar for next time.
Nonetheless, these are 350 people who clearly care about Pitt football, and who took some time to answer a few questions about it. I will caution that this data should be considered “directionally correct” and not as gospel. I say this because 42 people identified as a “regular reader and commenter”, even though I typically see the same dozen or so people comment on a regular basis. On the other hand, I have definitely seen up to forty people at a POV tailgate, so maybe I’m the one with the skewed perspective.
Anywhooo….here are the results:
First of all…a little about the folks who responded to the poll. I had hoped this poll would capture the opinions of those who read and don’t comment often, and that turned out to be the case.
370 total responses
- 11% (42) – Regular Reader and Commenter (read and comment 3+ times per week)
- 12% (44) – Regular Reader and Sometimes Commenter (read 2-3 times per week, comment once per week or once every couple of weeks)
- 67% (249) – Regular Reader / Rarely or Never Comment
- 9% (35) – Infrequent Reader / Rarely or Never Comment
Second…I wanted to find out what the baseline sentiment on Narduzzi was. As an observer, it seemed like pretty much everyone felt good about the hire at the time, and the data backs it up. A full 73% of respondents liked or loved the hire of Pat Narduzzi when it was announced.
359 total responses
- 73% (263) – Positive “I liked or loved the hire”
- 10 (3%) – Negative “I thought he was the wrong guy out of the gate”
- 24% (86) – Neutral “I had no opinion and/or wanted to wait and see”
But five years is a long time, and sentiment has shifted. I asked how people feel about Narduzzi today and 38% of respondents said they are not satisfied with the results. Only 30% answered that they were pleased with the team’s performance. That’s a far cry from the 73% of people who were optimistic about Pat in 2014. With that being said, I would like to qualify this question a bit, because the way this question was set up probably pigeonholed the respondents. I received a couple of comments that said that they were overall pleased with Narduzzi and supported him but they were not pleased with the team’s performance this year. My guess is that those that felt this way split their answers between “Negative” and “Neutral”, but there is no way to be sure. Next year I’ll probably split this question into two and add more options for the answers.
367 total responses
- 30% (110) – Positive “I am pleased with the team’s performance”
- 38% (139) – Negative “I am not satisfied with the results”
- 32% (118) – Neutral “He’s doing okay/ I don’t care”
Okay so with that out in the open, I next asked if readers thought Narduzzi can “get the program to the next level”. I defined the “next level” as consistent 9-10 win seasons and a top 25 ranking most years (for the sake of clarity, in my head I was thinking 3 out of every 5 years…next time I’ll spell that out. ) This question sparked some debate about two things. One… given that Narduzzi has averaged 7.2 wins per season, shouldn’t “the next level” be defined as 8-9 wins consistently instead of 9-10? Perhaps. However,10 wins is Pitt’s stated goal and so that’s where I set the bar. (we all remember the Randy Juhl quote about curing polio and winning 10 games don’t we?). The answer was interesting. Just 28% of respondents are convinced that Narduzzi can do it, but a full 40% think that he might be able to do it. That’s 70% of the fanbase who on some level still kind-of believes. So while the ‘Duz doesn’t enjoy overwhelming support, the majority of fans haven’t fully turned on him just yet.
366 total responses
- 28% (105) – Yes
- 31% (115) – No
- 40% (149) – Maybe
Finally, the final question I asked what a “what would you do?” question. And I asked readers if “they had absolute power over Pitt Athletics” would they keep Pat on long leash, keep Pat on a short leash or fire him right away? The answer, I think, reflects Narduzzi’s waning influence with the fans. 71% of fans said they’d give Narduzzi 1-2 more years and let him know that there were “next level” (i.e. 9-10 wins and a top 25 ranking) expectations. Only 8% said they’d fire him immediately, so yes, reports of fans turning on Narduzzi are indeed greatly exaggerated. Still, another couple of years of, sloppy, close wins over bad teams could change all of that.
372 total respondents
- 21% (77) – Give Narduzzi a long leash and several more years to build the program
- 71% (268) – Give Narduzzi 1-2 more years and make sure he understands there are “next level” expectations (i.e. 9-10 wins and a top 25 ranking)
- 8% (30) – Fire Narduzzi immediately.
So that’s it folks. The results of the first annual Pitt POV fan survey are in. What do you think?