MSU's Pat Narduzzi would be good fit at Pittsburgh

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing – Now that it appears Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst will be the next coach at Wisconsin, another job has opened that could be appealing to Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.

While there have been other openings this season, none – Wisconsin and Nebraska included – have had the fit the Pittsburgh job would have for Narduzzi.

The Panthers have shown they are willing to hire a coordinator – Chryst was the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin when he was hired in 2012 – and Narduzzi knows the area well. He is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, and is Michigan State's primary recruiter in the area.

So while it first seemed like Michigan State would avoid any sort of Narduzzi Watch this offseason, the latest probable moves have changed all that.

And even as successful as Narduzzi has been at Michigan State, his boss won't be holding him back.

"I think that's a good thing, as I've said before," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said after the end of the regular season. "Those are opportunities I hope that at some point in time, I hope all of our coaches are considered for."

Staff moves certainly could affect the Spartans down the road, but it is also an indication of a program on the right track. Michigan State has certainly been that, winning 10 or more games in four of the last five seasons.

"I don't think you'd want it any other way," athletic director Mark Hollis said. "It's like a rite of spring that every NBA team wants Tom Izzo and the rites of winter is your football staff is pursued. That generally means success. We have a lot of quality assistant coaches, and Pat is so well-prepared to be a head coach.

"I know some schools are very interested in him and he has my highest vote of confidence that he's ready to fill that role, and I've made that very publicly known. At the same time he is a valuable asset to our program and we hope to keep him around as long as we can until the right job comes along. But there's no question he's ready."

Nothing is official yet as Wisconsin hasn't announced a hiring and athletic director Barry Alvarez said nothing would come until at least Wednesday. But reports out of Wisconsin say Chryst is the choice, and in Pittsburgh there are reports he has already informed his team, which is preparing to play in the Armed Forces Bowl on Jan. 2.

In Narduzzi's time at Michigan State, the Spartans have become one of the top defenses in the nation and produced last year's Jim Thorpe Award winner, Darqueze Dennard, who was also a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.

This year, the Spartans have the No. 7 defense in the nation and have produced two more players – defensive end Shilique Calhoun and cornerback Trae Waynes – who are projected as first-round selections.

Michigan State will play Baylor in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1. Narduzzi is scheduled to take part in the Spartans' bowl media availability on Tuesday.