It broke on twitter via Richie Walsh for KDKA-TV. And quickly confirmed by other outlets.
Defensive line coach Tom Sims is no longer with the team, according to a source.
Sims, a defensive tackle at Pitt who was a sixth-round draft pick in 1990 after his senior year, played in the NFL until 1996 with the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts.
Pat Narduzzi hired Sims, 49, back to his alma mater from Youngstown State in 2015 when Narduzzi took over as Pitt’s head coach.
With national signing day now in the rear-view mirror, and four defensive line recruits officially in the fold, Narduzzi will look for a new assistant to coach that position.
Narduzzi also said Friday morning on a conference call that when the NCAA approves a 10th assistant coach for Football Bowl Subdivision programs, which it’s expected to do in April, he will most likely add to the defensive staff.
From a coaching standpoint, this comes as a surprise. I thought Sims had been doing an excellent job considering injuries and lack of depth on the D-line.
His work with Shakir Soto from DE to DT in his senior year was excellent and Tyrique Jarrett was a force inside.
Add in the fact that he was the only member of the staff that was a Pitt alum, and there is a bit of extra pain in seeing him let go.
The bigger question is who does Coach Pat Narduzzi have in mind to take the spot. Immediate speculation turns to Charlie Partridge.
Charlie Partridge was D-line coach under Walt Harris and Dave Wannstedt before leaving to take the same position at Wisconsin under Bret Bielema. Partridge followed Bielema to Arkansas where he rose to co-DC and assistant head coach, before becoming head coach at Florida Atlantic in 2013.
While Partridge is a good position coach, he is an even better recruiter. Especially in Florida. That was part of the reason FAU hired him. He did recruit well considering it was FAU, but the wins did not follow and after three straight 3-9 season was fired after the 2016 season. Lane Kiffin is now the HC at FAU.
The speculation of Partridge being the guy, is partially fueled by the fact that shortly after news of Sims being out Partridge began following several Pitt coaches and members of the Pittsburgh sports media on Twitter.
If it is Partridge, then the move does make grudging sense. Narduzzi has openly said that Florida is an important area for recruiting. This past recruiting class had seven recruits from Florida as compared to four from Pennsylvania.
Recruting in Florida is tough and only about to get harder. In addtion to FSU, Florida, the entire SEC, ACC and lots of the Big Ten and other major schools. You have the second tier programs — FAU, FIU and USF — that have all made a big upgrade at head coach in terms of recruiting. USF now has Charlie Strong. FIU has pulled Butch Davis off the scrap heap and as mentioned, FAU has Kiffykins.