Report: Pittsburgh finalizes deal to hire Pat Narduzzi as coach

Michigan State's Pat Narduzzi, one of the most highly acclaimed defensive coordinators in college football, reportedly will be the next coach at Pittsburgh.

Narduzzi was said to be Pitt's top target, and after reports of the hire surfaced early Tuesday afternoon, ESPN reported Wednesday that Narduzzi's contract with Pitt has been finalized. ESPN had earlier reported that it's expected he will be introduced as head coach on Friday.

Narduzzi, 48, will replace Paul Chryst, who left for Wisconsin last week.


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There have been 14 coaching vacancies this offseason, and 13 of them -- all but Michigan -- have been filled. (Michigan has its sights set on Jim Harbaugh.) Earlier Tuesday, Colorado State announced the hiring of Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo as its new coach; he replaces Jim McElwain, who was hired away by Florida.

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Narduzzi is the Panthers' fifth head coach in as many years. Dave Wannstedt was fired after the 2010 season and replaced by Mike Haywood. But Haywood lasted less than a month before he was fired following a domestic-violence arrest. Todd Graham was hired but lasted just one season (2011) before leaving for Arizona State. Chryst was at Pitt for three seasons.

Narduzzi's blue-collar style should mesh well with Pittsburgh. He takes over a team that has stars at running back (James Conner) and wide receiver (Tyler Boyd) but is devoid of defensive standouts. Michigan State won big with "lesser" recruits that became top-level players. Pitt never is going to out-recruit ACC foes Clemson, Florida State or Miami, but there's no reason it can't annually finish in the top five or six in the league when it comes to recruiting rankings. That, in turn, should lead to better results on the field. Pitt has won double-digit games only once since 1981 and has won as many as eight games just eight times since 1983.

Narduzzi had been coordinator at Michigan State since 2007; before that, he was the DC at Cincinnati for three seasons and the DC at Miami (Ohio) for one. He also has worked at Northern Illinois and FCS program Rhode Island.


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The other coaching hires this offseason: Buffalo and Lance Leipold (coach at Division III national titlist Wisconsin-Whitewater), Houston and Tom Herman (offensive coordinator at Ohio State), Kansas and David Beaty (wide receiver coach at Texas A&M), Nebraska and Mike Riley (coach at Oregon State), Oregon State and Gary Andersen (coach at Wisconsin), SMU and Chad Morris (offensive coordinator at Clemson), Troy and Neal Brown (offensive coordinator at Kentucky), Tulsa and Philip Montgomery (offensive coordinator at Baylor) and UNLV and Tony Sanchez (coach at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High).

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.