Pitt coach Narduzzi wants to ‘squash’ Michigan St. rumors

Pittsburgh Panthers head football coach Pat Narduzzi tried to make it abundantly clear Wednesday, which happened to be National Signing Day: He is staying put.

The former Michigan State defensive coordinator has been the subject of rumors about moving on since Tuesday, when Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio announced his retirement.

“The rumors, squash them, whatever you want to call it,” Narduzzi told reporters during a news conference. “I got decisions to make, too. I’m here at Pitt. I want to be here at Pitt. That’s where I’m going to be.”

Narduzzi, who has compiled a 36-29 record at Pitt and led the Panthers to the ACC championship game in 2018, worked eight seasons for Dantonio, making him seem like a logical successor.

Asked during his Wednesday news conference if he had been contacted by Michigan State about the opening, Narduzzi said, “Next question. C’mon now. … Put it this way, my phone was blowing up (Tuesday) night.”

Narduzzi, whose contract runs through 2024, reiterated, “It’s my ultimate goal to be here at Pitt. I came here to get a job done. We’re just working on continuing to move forward.

“Again, we couldn’t be in a better situation here at the University of Pittsburgh. We really couldn’t. I’m blessed to be the head coach here and count my blessings every day. That’s kind of the way it is.”

Narduzzi talked to Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke and chancellor Patrick Gallagher on Tuesday after the news of Dantonio’s decision broke.

On Wednesday, Lyke made it known how happy he and Pitt are to have Narduzzi.

“We’re thrilled he’s here,” Lyke said via the Detroit News. “What’s most important to Pat are the people. He’s got a coaching staff that’s all coming back. Obviously has an unbelievable team, a lot of guys that had choices to make that that he referenced. He’s got a new strength staff.

“In reflection, he’s like, ‘Everybody’s coming back. This program is headed in the right direction. We have a lot to look forward to this coming season, why would I be the one that leaves?’ For him, the relationships matter most.”