Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Pittsburgh formally introduced Pat Narduzzi as its new head football coach Friday, with the former Michigan State defensive coordinator aiming to bring stability to a program that has endured a number of leadership changes in recent years.
Narduzzi brings strong credentials to his first-ever head coaching gig, having been honored with the 2013 Broyles Award recognizing college football's top assistant.
The 48-year-old constructed one of the nation's premier defenses during an eight-year tenure at Michigan State. The Spartans have ranked in the top 10 of FBS in both total defense and rushing defense in each of the last four seasons, helping the school reach a major bowl game in the past two.
"Pat is widely regarded as a rising star in the coaching profession who is ready to lead his own program," Pitt athletic director Dr. Randy Juhl said. "It was obvious from our conversations that he also embraces the responsibilities he has beyond the game. Pat wants to impact the lives of his student-athletes long after their Pitt careers end. We are excited about what our young men can accomplish, on and off the field, under his watch."
The move is also a homecoming of sorts for Narduzzi, who grew up around 70 miles from Pittsburgh in Youngstown, Ohio. His father, Bob, was the head coach at Youngstown State from 1975-1985.
"It is an honor to join a program with such great history and tradition," said Narduzzi at Friday's press conference. "I am very eager to begin working with the young men who are already in the program and meet people throughout the Pitt community. We are going to work very hard on the field, in the classroom and in the community to make the University of Pittsburgh proud."
Narduzzi takes over a position vacated by Paul Chryst, named Wisconsin's head coach last week following Gary Andersen's surprising departure for Oregon State.
He will be Pitt's fourth head coach since 2010 and inherits a program that has gone 6-6 in the regular season in each of the last four years. The Panthers are currently preparing for the Jan. 2 Armed Forces Bowl, with offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph to serve as interim head coach for the game.
Prior to his stop at Michigan State, Narduzzi also served as the defensive coordinator under current Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio at Cincinnati from 2004-06.