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Pitt

Pitt extends Narduzzi's contract by 2 years

Jerry DiPaola
| Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, 8:30 a.m.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has heard the talk. He even has been hit with some of the Twitter shrapnel.

But he stood in front a group of reporters Thursday as the owner of a richer, longer contract intended to take him through the 2021 season and declared his enduring love for Pitt and his job.

“I've heard from high school coaches and recruits that people are out there slinging mud at us,” he said. “(Saying), ‘We're not going to be here long. We want to go do this, go do that.'

“That's great baloney. The message is Pitt is back, and we are going to be here for a while. I came here with the intentions of making this a long-term deal, and this is kind of where we want to be. This is just the beginning.

“I wouldn't have taken this job if I didn't want to be here. I don't like to move around. I don't like dealing with Realtors.”

Narduzzi's declaration comes after Gannett New Jersey reported “mutual interest” between Narduzzi and Rutgers before it hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash.

“Of course, I did,” he said, facetiously. Then, he got serious.“There were absolutely no conversations with, not only (Rutgers), but anybody. That's a fact. That's the world of Twitter that we are in nowadays,” he said.

Narduzzi, who spent 11 years with Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio (including three at Cincinnati), signed a two-year contract extension with Pitt that goes on top of the five-year deal given to him when he was hired 12 months ago. A Pitt spokesman declined comment on financial terms.

Speaking one year to the day after the Wisconsin coaching job opened up, ushering former Pitt coach Paul Chryst out of town, Narduzzi said he was surprised when athletic director Scott Barnes mentioned a contract extension to him approximately a month ago.

“I was in shock,” he said. “(I said), ‘Are you serious? Already?' It wasn't like I was knocking on his door, ‘Can you give me a raise and another couple years?' ”

Narduzzi said he also hopes to keep his coaching staff intact.

“I am going to do everything in my power to keep them there,” he said.

Narduzzi said he has a strong relationship with Barnes, who was hired four months after him. The two meet every Monday.

Former Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson was fired two weeks before Narduzzi was hired Dec. 26.

“I'm not sure if they hadn't made the move there that I'd be standing here today with you,” Narduzzi said. “To me, it was refreshing that there was going to be a change.”

Narduzzi said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher gave him the opportunity to speak to the new athletic director before he was hired.

“We certainly hit it off,” Narduzzi said.

Barnes was traveling Thursday and unavailable to speak to reporters.

Narduzzi, who has led Pitt to its best regular-season record (8-4) since 2009, noted he will be 57 when his contract expires in 2021.

“Hopefully, there will be more contracts to come after that, if we continue to do what I think we can do at the University of Pittsburgh,” he said.

Notes: Narduzzi said he has had conversations with backup quarterback Chad Voytik about a possible transfer. Because Voytik will graduate this semester, he is eligible to play immediately somewhere else. “We want Chad here, obviously,” Narduzzi aid. “He knows we want him here. I want what's best for Chad. It's not easy being a backup quarterback. We'll see where that train takes us.” … Redshirt freshman outside linebacker Jamal Davis plans to transfer.

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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