Pitt Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi has turned his football team into a respectable program. His success this season warrants far more attention than he is receiving for an ACC Coastal Division Championship for the Panthers.
It has been a long time coming for Pitt, but they are back in national conversations as a potential New Year’s Six bowl team. Narduzzi inherited a team at the end of the 2014 season that was a middle-of-the-road squad in the ACC under Paul Chryst.
In his seventh season at Pitt, Narduzzi has a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Kenny Pickett and one of the most exciting teams in the country. In the ACC, the Pitt Panthers are the top offense with an average of 43.9 points-per-game and a top-five defense in the conference. The Panthers have the conference’s top receiver, Jordan Addison, who has a total of 1,272 receiving yards, while Pickett is second in the conference in passing yards with 3,857 yards through the air.
It is evident that Narduzzi has turned this program into one of the best teams in the ACC. This will be Pitt’s second appearance in the ACC Championship Game under the guidance of Narduzzi. The first one came in 2018 when Pitt fell to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, 42-10.
Pitt's Kenny Pickett is on pace to have the most prolific QB season in @ACCFootball history.
Leading the Panthers to the ACC title game, no player has done more for his team in 2021.
He is deserving of the @HeismanTrophy.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) November 22, 2021
While at Pitt, Narduzzi has a 51-36 coaching record and only has one losing season– 2017. The Panthers are looking for their first 10-win season since 2009 when Dave Wannstedt was Pitt’s head coach. 2021 is Narduzzi’s fourth season with at least eight wins. Even in the COVID shortened season in 2020, the Panthers went 5-5 with Narduzzi in charge.
Narduzzi checks in at No. 5 on Pitt’s all-time wins list for head coaches. His 51 wins put him one win behind Walt Harris, and Narduzzi will be able to tie Harris on Saturday with a win over Syracuse. If he sticks around for one more full season, he will be able to catch No. 3 John Michelosen and No. 2 Pop Warner.
From 2007-2014, Narduzzi made his bones as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator. Now that he is a head coach, he seems to be even more comfortable than he was as a defensive coordinator.
The Panthers will represent the Coastal Division in next month’s ACC Championship Game after they clinched their division with a win against Virginia on Nov. 20.
Narduzzi did not become successful on accident. He put a solid foundation in place in Pittsburgh and now the program is starting to trend in the right direction. This has been an outstanding season for the Pitt Panthers and Narduzzi deserves a ton of credit for the team’s success.