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Pitt's Narduzzi hires Arkansas assistant as offensive coordinator

Jerry DiPaola
| Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, 9:33 p.m.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has hired Arkansas' Jim Chaney to be his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, according to a source close to the situation.

Chaney's appointment follows a trend by Narduzzi to fill his staff with veteran coaches. Chaney, 53, coordinated the offensive units at Purdue (1997-2005) and Tennessee (2009-12) before joining Arkansas coach Bret Bielema's staff in 2013. At Purdue, Chaney tutored New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

He also was Tennessee's interim coach for the final game of the 2012 season.

Previously, Narduzzi hired Florida International defensive coordinator Josh Conklin to the same position at Pitt and former Maryland assistant Andre Powell, a 27-year veteran, to direct running backs and special teams.

Chaney, who coached offensive linemen and tight ends for the St. Louis Rams from 2006-08, helped Arkansas achieve a significant improvement on offense this season. The Razorbacks (7-6, 2-6 in the SEC) went from scoring 20.7 points per game in 2013 to 31.9 this season, including 30-0 and 31-7 victories against Ole Miss and Texas in two of the last three games.

Chaney was the highest-paid assistant on Bielema's staff with a salary of $550,000 and a $100,000 buyout, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Bielema said last week that new contracts were being finalized for three of his assistants, including Chaney.

Narduzzi hopes to fill out the remainder of his staff this week. Vacancies exist at wide receivers, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, defensive backs and tight ends. He is expected to name Rob Harley, formerly of FIU, as his linebackers coach.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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