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February 5, 2017

Surprisingly Sims Out

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 11:01 am

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.

KS is not the future. The sooner you realize that, the sooner Pitt can be on track for excellence. He is a horrible hire by a horrible AD that was given horrible license by Gallagher and a horrible BOT to make the hire backed by a horrible search firm’s recommendation. Pitt is an abortion right now.

Comment by TX Panther 02.07.17 @ 8:33 pm

@Tx Panther Agree +1

Comment by Tommymac 02.07.17 @ 9:06 pm

KS is not a first year coach and he shold NOT be given a pass recruiting. 39th is awful – no way to compete in the ACC. SEC yes – ACC no.

The sooner KS is gone the sooner the bleeding stops. Every year he is here means big bucks lost in revenue – empty seats at Pete, apparel sales etc. – and more and more fans lost that will take a lot of work to get back in a glutted pro sports city.

The cost of a HCKS buyout vs the cost of lost revenue and advertising bucks spent to get fans back due to the collapse of the program must be taken into account in the equation by any competent administration.

Comment by Tommymac 02.07.17 @ 9:10 pm

The Pitt News article was savage but really not very far off base. The hire was a slap in the face to the fans. The fan base saw bullshit and called bullshit. Once you lose the fans it’s all over. It’s probably unfair to KS because he never had a chance but he was such an uninspired hire it’s hard to move past it. We get a do-over with the AD. Now is the time to take advantage of it and fix the basketball mistake. Let’s do it without trashing freshmen though.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.07.17 @ 9:37 pm

My point was he has 6 guys coming in and that the high number of recruits is supposed to jump you up in the ranking. A team getting 4 guys rated a little higher individually will bring in the lower team raking.

Comment by Jackagain 02.07.17 @ 10:35 pm

Just playing Devil’s advocate here: didn’t KS just recruit the first real center we’ve had in a long while? And point guard for that matter (in lieu of JR)?

Comment by panther94 02.07.17 @ 11:06 pm

A 3* Project Center who can’t shoot. 3* PG. No help for immediate future. No better than Dixon for the most part … and recruiting was supposed to be one of HCKS strengths.

No – time to right the ship. Nothing Stallings can do will gain back the respect of the fans and now it seems the student body… the longer Pitt waits to start rebuilding it’s reputation with it’s BB fan base the worse the situation will get.

Comment by Tommymac 02.08.17 @ 5:29 am

I’m not a Stallings fan, he has a lot to prove, but to assess his recruiting at this juncture is pointless. Next year will be a lot more telling. Regardless, the 2 guards he brought in are an upgrade over past years at the position(s), Wilson-Frame was rated by some publications as the #1 juco player in the country. And both Stevenson & Peace fill in very specific, desperate needs in areas we’ve lacked for several years. And Centers take a while to develop, McGhee was a mess until about his junior year- I’ll take a guy that can rebound, block shots & dunk (ala Eric Mobley) any day. If Peace doesn’t pan out, no regrets, take another guy with his attributes next year, this is exactly the type of player we need.

Comment by 1618mt 02.08.17 @ 8:39 am

I agree … I believe if the current team had a defensive center who can defend the paint, they would much better.

It’s been a while since we really had an athletic center; if Taft wouldn’t have left prematurely (or Adams of course) they could have made a big impact

Comment by wbb 02.08.17 @ 9:56 am

I am with previous blogger who said dump the NFL. I already went from college fb first then NFL second to screw the NFL When players started interjecting politics into the game ala Kapernik. Now they allow sponsors to get political with a Belgan brewing company(INBEV OWNS Anheiser Busch) and a snot nosed couple of left wing millionaires from the likes of Uber etc. Screw them all when I want politics I watch cable news and go to the internet NOT DURING MY FOOTBALL!

Comment by Pitt60 02.08.17 @ 11:03 am

I’ve seen the 3* PG, Aaron Thompson … he should be a 4*. The kid is legit and I’ve seen a lot of great players in Northern Virginia and Maryland. I watched James Robinson play at Dematha too and Aaron Thompson has a much higher ceiling. I’m much more excited for Thompson than I ever was about Robinson. Robinson was fundamentally sound but Aaron Thompson has that “it” factor. Aaron Thompson will surprise a lot of you. Perfect ACC PG for Pitt. Not saying he should be starting in year one. It’s always better for development to sit for a year but the kid is for real.

The center is 6’10 that won’t see significant time until he’s a red shirt junior.

KS has a good solid base coming in. Disregard the rankings. Pitt isn’t a Duke or Kentucky where you reload in one class. This is a class that sets the tone for KS moving forward. The building blocks. If he gets two superstars in the 2018 class, this class will look much much better. It’s a very solid base for the program though.

Having said that, if you’re going to get rid of KS in 3 years, just do it now and get it over with so we don’t end up in another rebuild.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.08.17 @ 11:04 am

Obviously there are three camps on the blog:

Run Stallings out now;

give him a couple years to win or else when the buyout won’t be so big and the new AD can put his stamp on the BB program;

or, just chill and get over it. He deserves time to develop his program with his recruits then decide.

Pretty much everyone is reconciled that the second or third scenarios are more likely to prevail. But the one thing we haven’s discussed much is where KS head is. Look, if he had a do over he probably would not have come here (unless it was the only option if Vandy canned his ass). But he can’t be enjoying this. Not just the losing but all the negativity on blogs, talk radio, press (including the Pitt News). And the one guy who was his security blanket who he could rely on presumably, Barnes, cut bait and ran home to Momma.

So, his life just has to be miserable right now. He just relocated here after living in the South for the past 17 years so that, in and of itself, makes for a challenging transition. Let’s face it, he’s persona-non-grata in many ways, fair or not. His relationship with the students is obviously not all peaches and cream (Narduzzi, not KS, is sending out emails asking for support for crying out loud).

Anyway, he has a contract and the gig at Pitt is his livelihood so there is no way he just pulls up stakes and says screw it. But, ou just wonder though if he might not fight back too bad if the BOT or new AD offers him a way out.

Maybe all of this is just wishful thinking on my part, lol.

Comment by wally 02.08.17 @ 12:24 pm

How many millions does KS make. I don’t believe his life is miserable. I should be so lucky and miserable.

Comment by Rayhpgh 02.08.17 @ 12:34 pm

Pitt doesn’t release salaries so you have to wait for taxes to be released.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.08.17 @ 12:38 pm


Comment by HbgFrank 02.08.17 @ 12:39 pm

wally – normally, I’d say there is zero chance that they cut KS loose but with the AD leaving and the fan base so disenfranchised, I think it’s possible. This has been one of he most unpopular hires I’ve ever seen for any sport … the closest I can think of is Mike Haywood but we never had to suffer through that. Of course that was also Pitt. Smh.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.08.17 @ 12:49 pm

Pitt60 – You’re right, politics is having a significant, negative impact on most sports, and sporting networks. Right now, it’s PART of the reason ESPN is losing so many subscribers, and costing Disney big money. The liberal spin on everything is finally causing significant numbers to tune out far more often. It used to be that sporting events/espn was a respite from ‘the real world’, but now it’s infected with the same garbage, more and more. Just last night I had the Pens on, and had to endure rainbow taped hockey sticks to support ‘a cause’ of the Flames’ owner (and hockey isn’t nearly as bad as some other sports). Honestly, I just want to watch sports, when I put sports on…..

Tossing – I think your projection of Peace’s contributions in the future are sensible, however it wouldn’t surprise me if he is an effective role player next year, or on the other end of the spectrum, if he never makes it at all. I do like his odds though.

Comment by 1618mt 02.08.17 @ 12:51 pm

1618mt – I think he has potential but it will just be a few years until it’s realized. A program like Pitt needs that though. I hope that didn’t come across negative. Some of my favorite players have been guys who work at it for years and it finally clicks.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.08.17 @ 12:56 pm

Tossing – I think you came across as realistic. And he “appears to be” exactly the type of guy I miss, a tenacious, passionate defender. Shamiel Stevenson seems to fit that role as well- I miss our old identity, and I’m hoping we will return to it one of these years…

Comment by 1618mt 02.08.17 @ 1:01 pm

KS definitely has me conflicted. I like the class he’s bringing in a lot, especially knowing this group of coaches has better relationships with the 2018 class … yet, I just can’t get over the way he was hired, his past at Vandy and the way he completely lost the team this year.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.08.17 @ 1:01 pm

Tossing, if the center can defend and especially rebound, I think he will see some PT right away. Maybe I’m spoiled from the Dixon teams, but I cringe every game at the number of offensive rebounds Pitt is giving up this year.

Comment by wbb 02.08.17 @ 1:15 pm

wbb – yeah, part of that has to do with the shifting defenses. It’s much easier to rebound out of man to man. The highlights I saw of Peace screamed 3 year project. Hopefully, I’m wrong.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.08.17 @ 1:22 pm

he looked pathetic on offense, I agree. But aside from Luther and Nix, the tallest player is Johnson next year …. there is another 6’9 player coming in (Brown) but he is supposed to be a perimeter player

Comment by wbb 02.08.17 @ 6:10 pm

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