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Pitt's Pat Narduzzi hires 'highly driven recruiter' as assistant coach

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, 4:57 p.m.
Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi speaks to the media about his first early signing class of 15 Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi speaks to the media about his first early signing class of 15 Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi, Dec. 20, 2017
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi, Dec. 20, 2017

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi hired former Central Michigan defensive passing game coordinator Archie Collins to be his 10th assistant coach. But he just isn't ready to reveal where he will use him this season.

The only certainty is that Pitt's defensive staff will have a new look, with Collins and defensive coordinator Randy Bates, who replaced Josh Conklin (now head coach at Wofford).

Collins is no stranger to his boss, having worked as a defensive graduate assistant at Michigan State with Narduzzi from 2010-2012.

Most recently, Collins forged a reputation as one of the top coaches in the Mid-American Conference. In 2015, he was named the MAC's Recruiter of the Year by Scout.com , but he also apparently knew what to do with those players when he got them on the field.

After four seasons as Central Michigan's secondary coach, he was promoted to defensive passing game coordinator last year when the Chippewas led the MAC in interceptions (19, seventh in the nation), fewest passing yards allowed (an average of 185.5 yards per game, 20th) and pass efficiency defense (108.8 rating, sixth).

Central Michigan cornerback Amari Coleman and safety Josh Cox were All-MAC selections. Coleman returned three interceptions for touchdowns in his career and Cox was seventh in the nation in interceptions last year with six.

Central Michigan ranked among the nation's top 25 teams in passing defense in 2017, 2015 (No. 24, 193.0 average) and 2013 (No. 20, 203.9). In 2016, CMU finished eighth nationally with four defensive touchdowns — all pick-sixes by defensive backs.

"Archie is a fantastic coach and highly driven recruiter," Narduzzi said in a statement. "We wanted our 10th assistant coach appointment to be an impactful hire and we achieved that by bringing Archie to Pitt.

"I first met him when he was a high school coach in Detroit and later I had him as a graduate assistant. Archie went on to do really exceptional work at Central Michigan and he'll be a great asset for our entire program."

Collins, a finalist last year for FootballScoop's Defensive Back Coach of the Year award, expects his familiarity with Narduzzi to be an asset in his new job.

"I'm very familiar with coach Narduzzi, the way he teaches and his goals for our players," Collins said in a statement. "We will play with toughness, effort and knowledge to win championships. I'm thrilled to get right to work."

Collins, who played safety at Michigan State from 1996-1997, coached high school football for seven years in the Detroit Public School League (Cass Tech, Mackenzie and Southeastern), producing nine all-state performers.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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