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Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi has emerged as the leading candidate to become the next head coach at Pittsburgh, sources told Yahoo Sports on Monday.
Narduzzi had interviewed with both Pittsburgh and Colorado State within the last week, sources said. Narduzzi was the leading candidate for the CSU job as well, but sources say he was more interested in the Pittsburgh job. He’s been a candidate for several head-coaching jobs in recent years – he turned down Connecticut and interviewed with Louisville last year, and also was in the mix at Cincinnati before it hired Tommy Tuberville two years ago.
The 48-year-old Narduzzi has been one of the top assistant coaches in the country, coordinating a Michigan State defense that consistently has been among the nation’s best. The Spartans this year were ranked No. 7 in total defense, their fourth straight season in the top 10 in that category. During the 2013 season, when it won the Rose Bowl, Michigan State was No. 2.
Narduzzi was the highest-paid coordinator in the Big Ten in 2014, with a three-year contract worth $900,000 annually.
Pitt is replacing Paul Chryst, who left to return to his roots as head coach at Wisconsin. Chryst spent three years at Pittsburgh, going 19-19. He was the fourth coach of the Panthers in the last five seasons, as the school churned through Dave Wannstedt (fired), Mike Haywood (fired before ever coaching a game), Todd Graham (left for Arizona State after one season) and Chryst.
That instability was a factor in the school firing athletic director Steve Pederson last week.