Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi has been in the headlines rather frequently this season, and not for anything good. The Panthers are 3-8, somehow, with a largely defunct offense and a defense that ranks among the worst in the Power Five.
On top of this, Narduzzi has already stirred up some controversy in October when he said, “As a football coach, you lose a lot of good players from a year ago, and you think as a coach you’re going to replace them and obviously we haven’t.”
While Narduzzi’s comments were taken a tad out of context, they stirred up controversy internally and externally that put Narduzzi under further scrutiny.
Should Pat Narduzzi Be on the Hot Seat?
The answer to this question lies in what you think the ceiling of the Pitt Panthers should be and if a new coach can put Pitt closer to that. This season has been dreadful, to put it mildly, and there’s no defense for looking largely uncompetitive throughout the season. There will be coaches that lose their jobs for Pitt, an unfortunate reality. Should Narduzzi be one of them?
Narduzzi has been the head coach at Pitt since 2015. In that time, he is 65-49 overall and 43-30 in conference play. Narduzzi had just one losing season before this year in 2017 when the team went 5-7. Pitt consistently won eight games and Narduzzi’s 2021 and 2022 campaigns saw Pitt win 20 games.
While they are winning, there is a legitimate complaint to be had about their bowl record and record out of conference. Pitt is 22-19 out of conference and 2-4 in their bowl games. Outside of the ACC, Narduzzi’s teams have been inconsistent at best and not competitive at worst.
This goes back to the argument centered around Pitt’s ceiling. Should Pitt fans be upset about this season and not earning a winning record? Yes, absolutely. Being second-best in the ACC Coastal for years also isn’t something to openly brag about, given the state of those teams over the last few seasons.
Yet, they’ve consistently boasted winning records with seven to nine wins in most seasons under Narduzzi and are on the heels of two superb seasons.
That is the sentiment used to defend his job status. In a statement from Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just last week, she defended Narduzzi’s track record and Pitt.
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“This season is not up to Coach Narduzzi’s or Pitt’s standards. He has raised the bar on expectations for our program with an ACC championship and Top 25 finishes over the past two years. With the onset of the offseason, we will work together to thoroughly evaluate each aspect of our program, on and off the field, so that we can begin competing for ACC titles again.”
Will changes be coming to the Pitt program over the next few months? Without a doubt. However, based on his overall success with the team and the Athletic Director’s support behind him, Narduzzi is not likely to be part of those changes…unless he heads to East Lansing.