December 6, 2017

Extensions. Contract lengths. Those are all vague concepts when it comes to contracts for college coaches. The buyout is the thing, and a new contract/extension for 7 years (or a 2 year extension if you prefer) certainly will up the buyout.

Sorry, burying the lead. During the basketball game last night, there were tweets coming out of an extension in the works for Coach Pat Narduzzi. Along with increasing the salary pool for assistants.

Sure enough.

Pitt announced the extension this morning.

University of Pittsburgh Director of Athletics Heather Lyke announced today a new seven-year contract for head football coach Pat Narduzzi that ensures his leadership of the Panthers through at least the 2024 season.

Narduzzi is establishing Pitt as a rising contender in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. The Panthers have won 21 games under his direction, the most victories by a Pitt head football coach in his initial three years since Jackie Sherrill (28 wins from 1977-79). Narduzzi is 2-0 against teams ranked among the nation’s top two.

“We’re thrilled Pat Narduzzi is our head football coach,” Lyke said. “We are deeply committed to helping him, his staff and his student-athletes achieve at the highest levels in the ACC and nationally. Coach Narduzzi is a tireless worker, dynamic leader and passionate about building outstanding relationships with our student-athletes and everyone connected to our Pitt family. He and his staff are fully dedicated to building a national-caliber program the right way, on and off the field.”

“I am tremendously blessed to work with such great leadership at the University of Pittsburgh in Athletic Director Heather Lyke and Chancellor Patrick Gallagher,” Narduzzi said. “When I initially accepted the head coaching position at Pitt three years ago this month, I said we could achieve great things if we were all moving in the same direction. Thanks to Chancellor Gallagher and Heather, we are all definitely moving in the same direction with a shared vision for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

“It is a tremendous honor to be the head football coach at Pitt. My family and I are extremely appreciative of the opportunity to be part of this great university and city.”

Narduzzi’s relatively brief tenure has witnessed many milestone moments and achievements, including:

  • A season-ending 24-14 victory over No. 2 Miami, the highest-ranked opponent the Panthers have ever defeated at home. Pitt snapped the nation’s longest active winning streak at 15 games by beating the Hurricanes.
  • Defeating two teams that finished in the top 5 of the final 2016 College Football Playoff rankings. The Panthers gave No. 2 Clemson — last year’s eventual national champion — its only loss (43-42) and kept No. 5 Penn State out of the playoff field by defeating the Nittany Lions, 42-39.
  • Sending 14 of his former Pitt players into the NFL. The Panthers had five players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, their highest total in six years.
  • Eleven ACC All-Academic Football Team honorees the past two years, the second-highest total among conference schools.

This past season Pitt fielded one of its youngest lineups in recent memory. The Panthers had only four seniors in their starting lineup against Miami. Narduzzi’s defense — which limited the Hurricanes to regular-season lows in total yards (232) and points (14) — utilized only one senior starter in the final month of the campaign.

“We are really enthusiastic about the team we have coming back for 2018,” Narduzzi said. “We had a lot of younger players who had to grow up on the job this past season. It all came together in the Miami win on both sides of the ball and we’re looking forward to continuing that momentum with a great offseason.”

The terms, as usual with Pitt, were not disclosed.

Since his hiring in December 2014, Narduzzi has only been included once on Pitt’s federal tax documents, which indicated he made $1.83 million in total compensation from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. Base compensation was $1.31 million at that time, but Narduzzi was given a two-year contract extension by former athletic director Scott Barnes in December 2015, which also almost certainly boosted his pay.

The boost to the assistant pool is good news. Not that I expect significant changes in the coaching staff — Narduzzi has already been emphatic about OC Shawn Watson coming back in 2018. But with the NCAA allowing a 10th assistant coach on the staff, it’s good to have some extra flexibility in hiring.

It obviously is good for recruiting as it makes it a little harder to negatively recruit against Pitt by claiming Narduzzi is looking to leave or Pitt isn’t committed.

This move also looks good for Pitt as far as committing to pay for a coach they want, even after a season where the team took a step back. Especially if the optimism that ended this season is born out in 2018.

We are seeing how crazy the coaching carousel is. In the power conferences, teams are making decisions  almost frantically from year to year. Throwing even bigger bucks around as more programs keep pursuing that “next level,” that “next coach.”

And with few exceptions, everyone keeps overestimating the appeal of their own program. (How’s it going Tennessee?)

Even below the Power 5 programs, you see it. Chris Hudspeth was fired from Louisiana Lafayette after a 5-7 season. Three years ago, Hudspeth was a rising star a guy some pushed Pitt to pursue. He suffered a few rough seasons and is out despite taking the Ragin’ Cajuns to six bowl games in seven years.

This doesn’t guarantee Narduzzi doesn’t leave at some point. All it does is make it clear he is wanted here, and harder for some other school to pry him away.


It will be interesting to see how much Pitt upped Coach N’s salary and his assistant money pool.

Even more interesting will be to see if Pitt increased the money required to take Coach N away from here

Comment by mtoolmn 12.06.17 @ 12:48 pm

Very glad he got a new deal. H2P

Comment by frank md 12.06.17 @ 12:50 pm

Was that a bow tie he was wearing in his picture with the AD?

Comment by JP 12.06.17 @ 2:23 pm

I agree and am pleased that he was extended. But….here’s the bad part of the deal. Let’s say for discussions sake all goes right next year and Pitt wins 10 games.

Any name college team can come in and put a ridiculous $$$ offer on the board, and Narduzzi is gone…extension or not.

Not fair but it’s life in the NCAA. See Majors and Sherrill!

Comment by Dan 72 12.06.17 @ 6:29 pm

Dan 72, I hope we have that problem to deal with every few years if necessary.

Comment by tvax1 12.06.17 @ 8:27 pm

Tvx1 Good Point …. agreed. I still believe Pitt Football can catch lightning in a bottle one more time and win it all. Of course I still believe in Santa…. depending on how much scotch has been consumed!

I believe Narduzzi is the coach to do it.

Anyhow, like the other loyal 38,385 I will be in my seat in 538
for Albany and State Penn in September. God willing!

Comment by Dan 72 12.06.17 @ 8:37 pm

They had no choice with all the coaching changes going on etc. They need stability in a head coach if they are even to begin to attract some talent.
The NCAA needs to step in and regulate these institutions of higher learning (lol) when it comes to coaching salaries. It is apparent that the school presidents do not have the power themselves because of outside influences (boosters). Therefore they need to relay upon some institutional control via the NCAA. On the other hand those that can pay should think about separating from the NCAA and form semi-pro status and get it over with. Lets start to call it what it is. Its play for pay. No one can tell me that some of these kids are paid , schools just know how to hide it better.
If the NCAA or the schools themselves cant police coach pay scales then perhaps the congress or state legislatures should step in. Folks, these are colleges not pro sports franchises.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 12.06.17 @ 9:57 pm

@Dan 72 – I do think Duzz has something special with his connection to his teams and I think he is figuring things out that he needs to.

If the recruiting comes together(big IF), that lightning may just strike. KP might just be the spark and I hope to see him play for a few more years.

Comment by tvax1 12.06.17 @ 9:58 pm

Pitt Dreamer, it’s all about the ROI. I remember about 6-7 years ago when it was Jim Calhoun was the highest paid state employee .. and he said that he is brings in much more than he is paid.

As long as PSU draws > 100k when playing Southwest Directional St and OSU brings in > $100M in annual revenue, high profile coaches are going to get paid handsomely.

Even with the raise, I expect PN to be near the bottom of the ACC in salary since most of the coaches were making nearly twice than what he was.

Comment by wbb 12.07.17 @ 9:08 am

link to

“Pitt, once a heavyweight, has become an afterthought”

Comment by NickC 12.07.17 @ 10:26 am

Problem is, Pitt isn’t going to compete against any of these schools that are now paying coaches $4, $5, $6, $7 million a year. They just won’t.

Comment by Pitt of Glory 12.07.17 @ 11:47 am

“ESPN…once a heavyweight now and afterthought.”

ESPN should do a documentary on their problems…

Comment by BigB 12.07.17 @ 12:25 pm

Yeah ESPN layed off 140 staff last week, NFL revenues dip, Fox sports and Fox BIG network taking revenues from collegiate play. On coaches pay, Pitt is PITIFULL on football coaches pay .You invest where you can see ROI. Football is the only sport that qualifies if done right. On the addition of a new coach : However it gets done a dedicated QB coach is always a +++ in recruiting good QB talent. A recruiting ace is always an ace in the whole. If you can find a 2 bagger that’s a hire to nail. On this years team: They had 79 kids who were sophomores or younger. 17 of this years starters had never started before. Stability and build.

Comment by Pitt60 12.07.17 @ 1:08 pm

The system stinks, but Pitt has few options. If Duzz continues to struggle and a string of .500 teams follow then Pitt is stuck for 7 years with a mediocre coach as they wont have the funds to buyout his contract.

Alternatively if he hits it big with a string of 8-10 win seasons, he’s likely gone with the wind. When paying $7M/season, no big deal paying another few million of the buyout.

For Pitt or any college with limited resources its lose-lose situation.

However, the undeniable fact that we all have to live with is that the ONLY chance for success is continuity, changing coaches every 3-4 years is a dead end path to failure. Recruiting classes lost, O and D schemes constantly in flux,which is an additional barrier to players’ success.

Lyke has to hold her breath, sign the deal, and hope that Duzz is both a good enough coach to significantly improve the team and honorable enough to respect the contract. I give both a less than 50-50 shot.

ESPN had its day but will soon be gone, best to ignore them. Their game announcers are horrible, biased, and generally boring.

Comment by Taxing Matters 12.07.17 @ 3:07 pm

We should all hope a bunch of schools come sniffing around Pitt in the next year or two, as it means Duzz got Pitt back to the 9-10 win level. If he pulls a Jackie S. and gets us three straight 11-1 seasons and then ditches us, I’m okay with that…as long as the search committee uses its brain not its a$$ and hires someone good — ie, not another Foge or Paul Hackett.

Comment by Matt N. 12.07.17 @ 3:13 pm

After all, Johnny M.’s success brought us Jackie — the point isn’t stressing about when your current coach might leave, its paying attention to the high-caliber assistants or up-and-comers at other schools and getting them in the pipeline when needed.

Comment by Matt N. 12.07.17 @ 3:15 pm

With our current talent, I have no doubt we can win 9-10-11 games the next two or three seasons if our coaches do their jobs. How amazing would it be spanking both PSU and ND next year — and we should beat them…if Pickett stays healthy and Watson stops brainfarting, he’s better than anyone we’ve had since Tyler Palko.

Comment by Matt N. 12.07.17 @ 3:19 pm

I agree that there a lot of young talent on the roster but when it comes to 10-11 wins, click on the link to the right side of this site entitled ‘FBS Schedules” If they have double digit wins in the near future, PN will indeed earn his money

Comment by wbb 12.07.17 @ 5:18 pm

What’s the over-under on turnovers for Pitt on Saturday…..30 maybe?

Comment by Jackagain 12.07.17 @ 8:34 pm

Florida, Florida State , Nebraska and then the almighty Texas A&M all have large giving bases.
Texas A&M’s contract funds came from some rich boosters and is already paid for. The schools mentioned above did not have packed stadiums this year. Florida State last game attendance made Heinz Field look filled.
At some point the lunacy will end with I hope the NCAA stepping in with limitations. The college game is being destroyed with this type of behavior, less people are attending and cable TV revenues are down and most likely will continue to drop. You live within your means I guess. Narduzzi is a good coach but not a high draft choice in coaching circles. As far as being a 10 or 11 win team, dream on. Next year we play Penn State, Notre Dame, improved Miami and maybe UCF could all be loses. Our last game only shows we have perhaps a good quarterback and Miami was taken by surprise. It will not be that easy next year when all teams can prepare better for our new QB, there still is a lack of good talent on this team and major elements will be leaving this off season. The goal I have is to win 7 or 8 games and I will be happy.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 12.07.17 @ 10:06 pm

The extension for Duzz and the $$$’s for his staff were necessary for recruiting stability. Now they need to finish strong. Remember, there are two LOI signing days this time around.

Note: 3 of the 4 playoff teams have HC’s with no prior HC-ing experience. Dabo is in his 10th season at Clemscum, Kirby Smart year 2 at Georgia and Lincoln Riley is in his 1st year as head coaches. All three were coordinators prior to landing their 1st HC-ing gig.

Difference between Pitt and these 3 playoff teams besides winning records this year – their schools all made a boatload of money off the football program with packed houses and big diners. Pitt, well you can answer that…

H2P! and may we have no more losing seasons in the next 7 years with a few 10+ win seasons sprinkled in.

Comment by Erie Express 12.08.17 @ 5:55 am

Erie – You hit the nail on the head. Diners are a major factor. Waffle Houses are ubiquitous across the south(west). Gus Malzahn celebrated Auburn’s victory over Alabama by taking his wife to a post game celebration at a Waffle House. Can’t remember if WH is in western Pa. If not, PITT needs more.


Comment by PITT-cocks Fan 12.08.17 @ 7:10 am

FWIW, in Saban’s 1st major HC stint at MSU in mid to late 90s, he did not immediately improve the team. He took over a .500 program and in his first 4 years, they were 3 games over .500. Then in his 5th season, MSU went 9-2. He was then hired by LSU where his career really took off.

There is no formula for success. Charlie Strong was great at Louisville in his first stint at HC but was a bust at Texas.

Gary Anderson was 24-22 at Utah St, 19-7 at Wisc and then went 7-23 at Oregon St.

Comment by wbb 12.08.17 @ 8:52 am

Pitt-cocks Fan – no that was a funny posting. Hard to proof read on a cellphone at 6 in the morning.

Diner = doner

Thanks for the laugh!

Comment by Erie Express 12.08.17 @ 10:57 am

Erie – I knew you meant donor but to easy to pass up. Especially since I was debating going to a WH or a local WH knock-off (Mr. Waffle) for breakfast. I choose the knock-off.

Comment by PITT-cocks Fan 12.08.17 @ 3:56 pm

Saban has donors who will buy kids cars…

Comment by Jackagain 12.08.17 @ 8:49 pm

Dabo did not start out at Clemson making $6 million a year, he won a national championship and built his program up. the $6 million is for that success. If the Duzz can do the same thing the cash will be there to pay him. UCLA’s new coach is making $4 million, I assume the Duzz is now close to $2.5 million with yearly esclations. not bad for a losing season.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 12.09.17 @ 12:53 am

Duzz and staff need to finish well with this recruiting class. Two 4* WR’s would be nice with a 3* RB. Currently, according to Rivals, Pitt has not offered any of the uncommitted RB’s in their top 250.

Same can be said for the LB position.

We practices are top secret – let’s hope the recruiting of 4* talent is top secret as well, but is at least in process and we see some real results soon.


Comment by Erie Express 12.09.17 @ 6:45 am

TCU and Jamie Dixon are ranked #20 and beat the #22 team last night.

I know he has better resources and admin support – but TCU was nothing before JD and Pitt was something before KS.

Now, Pitt is nothing with KS and TCU is something with JD.

Factual snapshot, don’t you think?

For the record, I was a JD supporter, but his recruiting was less than average towards the end.

Comment by Erie Express 12.09.17 @ 6:53 am

Duzz obviously sees the big long term picture after reading this mornings Trib articles on his extension. Duzz is a Youngstown blue- collar product who seems to appreciate the position he is in. He seems to love stability and has job he loves, staff and management he wants to work with and in a great conference where he can compete for championships and soon will. He is making over $2,000,000 a year to coach football… from his up-bringing he knows not many people in the world make that kind of money. I don’t think he looks at his profession through SEC lenses. He is not a job- hopper. I am behind him him and believe he is the right man for the job. Not all agree but that’s ok… many wanted Paul Chryst and Jamie Dixon gone for various reasons. Those men are very good coaches, It takes a top to bottom commitment including our support and that is easier said than done after roaming in the desert for the last 35 years with no real leadership to follow.

Comment by BigB 12.09.17 @ 7:34 am

link to

15 in a row.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.09.17 @ 10:49 am

Upitt – LMAO. You were one of Dixon’s biggest critics/haters on the blog. Please stop with the Dixon shit. You, of all people, do not get to get to go there … And that’s exactly why you’re a troll. Smh. There are very few Stallings fans on here so I’m not even sure who you’re trying to piss off.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.09.17 @ 2:16 pm

Who uses the word hater or troll that is over 16 years old other than you? I think Dixon is a so so coach but has support now unlike while at Pitt. He can recruit and coach apparently.You are so tough on a blog it is hilarious. Go back to 7-11 and get your shift in while wearing your Troutman Jersey.

That is my point before you jump in like you know something. You are so far up Pitt Basketball’s ass you have no clue. Remember all your give Stallings time and he deserves this and that. Well Boston College just beat Duke so throw that win out the window. He will maybe win 1 game in the ACC. Keep blaming Dixon for Stalling’s Flaws. He is ranked #20 and he had to get someone else’s players. I say what I want this isn’t your blog. WVU suspended best player and will still win by 18. We suck.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.09.17 @ 2:44 pm


Comment by Upittbaseball 12.09.17 @ 3:00 pm

Upitt – See … that’s exactly what I mean. Very few people on this site are saying that Stallings deserves time. Most accept he won’t be coach more than a year or two. There’s a faction of us that choose to still root for the team … and that’s really it.

Besides, this was a football post talking about Duzz’s extension and you toss in a basketball link to … wait for it … troll … with a coach you absolutely hated.

I do find it funny that someone who throws around sophomoric insults and nicknames like they’re candy at a parade, would accuse someone else of talking like a 16 year old. Come on, man. My 16 year old self would call that lame.

In regards to support, I’ve been saying for years the drop off with Pitt basketball started with SP coming back. Pitt basketball happened to peak when SP was here but everything was already in motion to be successful under Jeff Long. Assistant and recruiting budgets both took a hit and within a few years were a shell of what it was pre-SP. So please stop with your fake “points” that are hardly original and been discussed for years.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.09.17 @ 4:48 pm

#25 Pitt wrestling team losses the Backyard Brawl today to the unranked hoopies 24-10

Disappointing 1-3 start to the season.

Comment by Erie Express 12.09.17 @ 5:20 pm

Army vs Navy game was a classic today in the snow.

No dome, not much passing. Just good old fashion smash mouth football by some great young Americans.

Hail to the USA!

Comment by Erie Express 12.09.17 @ 6:27 pm

Erie – is there anything better than triple option football in the snow? The one game too where the unique uniforms actually work and don’t come across as gimmicky.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.09.17 @ 6:34 pm

The Duzz is the coach and he is building a program.Stability and recruiting will help him succeed—– as will everyone getting behind him and the team. You never know what recruit is reading your carping and moaning on a website or that it negatively influenced his decision re Pitt’ The athletic department also has to get control of the root sport Pitt exposure’ It is embarassing to be outshone by your major competitors ie WV, PS and ND with the quantity and quality of exposure. It seemed every time I turned them on this year it was WVU football!!!!! H2P

Comment by Pitt60 12.09.17 @ 11:38 pm

Pitt60….I have been saying the same thing about recruits reading the blogs for years. We have Jerk-Offs on here who can’t say ONE GOOD THING about Pitt sports. WTF are they doing here?? The SAME TIRED SHIT every post. TT and you are absolutely right.

Let’s face it…we read this blog (and others) for news about the Pitt programs. I don’t mind a negative comment now and then, I’m negative about things now and then but if you don’t have anything positive to say then you’re a troll. Face it…you’re a troll. HTP

Comment by The Hagen 12.10.17 @ 1:13 pm

Hagen, Amen.

Comment by grizzly1 12.10.17 @ 9:43 pm

In their defense, Pitt has been offering the same old tired shit in sports (especially football) for a REALLY long time, so I’m a bit more forgiving/understanding when it comes to the standard issue angst. 30+ years of sub-mediocrity will do that to some people.

HCPN needs to stay for at least two or three more years. Probably longer unless things completely implode. Stability will absolutely help, but it will never get Pitt into the Top Ten perennially – PN isn’t that good and the system is completely stacked against Pitt. Factor in an administration that appears happy to cash conference checks with minimal investment in return, and that spells mid-pack ACC with an occasional division run. Sorry – that’s just the facts.

Some people come here for news. Others come to vent/bitch/gripe/commiserate. It all depends on the day/week/month/season/game. If all you want is the happy, candy coated, fan-boy stuff, I would direct you to the official Pitt websites that will be more than happy to inform you that “everything is awesome”. Conversely , you could watch the first Lego movie and save yourself a lot of trouble. Regardless, I like a healthy dose of controversy and skepticism – it keeps things interesting. I learn a lot every time I come here, which is more than I can say to the standard issue media outlets. The enigma of Pitt is harsh enough for the hard core fans – having an athletic department and administration that peed on our legs for years and told us it was raining has consequences. if you want pollyanna BS, this isn’t the right place.

And just to set the record straight – WVU is better than Pitt right now. They have been for a while. This year was ugly for them, and they still wound up in a bowl. Yes, it’s a shitty bowl, but Pitt will be at home watching (or at least hearing about) them. It’s OK to hate WVU – I always will – but they ARE better than Pitt and that’s a fact. So is PSU, and so are a LOT of D1 programs at the moment. Can HCPN turn it around? I sure hope so, because for me, 5-7 doesn’t inspire me no matter how many #1 or #2 teams Pitt beats on it’s way to a losing record.

Comment by 55 12.12.17 @ 10:24 pm

55, No…I don’t want ‘Polyanna Bullshit” and I agree that there has been a piss on their legs and tell them it’s raining. No I don’t particularly like the hoops coach and I’m very disappointed in the 5-7 season. And I’m pissed that WVU, PSU and some other dog shit programs are definitely better than us. BUT…the very tone of your post is civil. I object to the rude behavior exhibited by many fans on here. It’s OK to say negative stuff once in a while but how you say it should be civil. Listen…I can be as rude and raunchy as anyone on here but this is a public forum and when someone resorts to name calling CONSTANTLY and unending negativism then that’s across the line for me.

Comment by The Hagen 12.13.17 @ 5:38 pm

We just lost 2 QUARTERbacks and now only have one going into 2018. I know one is being recruited and one JC kid is coming. If Picket goes down we are done.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 12.14.17 @ 6:16 pm

Constructive criticism is not a problem but rants without basis and name calling is only bad press for Pitt fans on the blog and the program. The world is not as seen through rose colored glasses. If it is ugly it is ugly so you call that and move on. I wonder if changes will occur at Root Sports(Fox company) now that they were purchased by Disney/ ESPN ?? Since ACC has contracts with ESPN and Fox had Big 12 &10 ??? H2P

Comment by Pitt60 12.15.17 @ 1:51 pm

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