Dec 20, 2011

Pat Narduzzi staying put - for now

By Sean Gagnier

The University of Akron will have to look elsewhere for its new head coach - Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi recently told the Zips, thanks but no thanks. However, his refusal to head to Ohio doesn't mean Narduzzi isn't still on other short lists across the country.

With departure of Ron Zook from the University of Illinois the Illini look to be very interested in the services of Narduzzi. It also appears as though Pittsburgh is interested in acquiring his services - keep an eye open for them.

Despite the head coach title swirling around him Narduzzi has maintained that his focus is on preparing the Michigan State defense for the Georgia Bulldogs in the upcoming Outback Bowl.

There has been very little said from Michigan State about the future of Narduzzi with the Spartans, with Athletic Director Mark Hollis and Head Coach Mark Dantonio both refusing to make any detailed comments on the subject. Hollis has said that he has set aside an undisclosed amount of money to increase the pay to Dantonio's assistants - something he has been advocating for for years.

This is Narduzzi's fifth year with the Spartans, having come over when Dantonio was named head coach, and the best statistical season for his Spartan defense to date. Despite being attractive to recruits and players as well as presiding over one of the best defenses in the Big Ten, Narduzzi makes only $233,000 a season. A figure that is more than three times lower than many other coordinators of his stature. That being said that is when most coordinators attempt to make the jump to the head coaching position - they aren't sure if they'll ever be in the spotlight again.

With many schools seeking to steal Narduzzi away from Michigan State, Hollis and Dantonio will have to come together after the Outback Bowl and decide on a plan regarding their defensive coordinator - do they do nothing and run the risk of him leaving for a head coaching position or do they offer him an extension on his contract and try to lock him up for the near future.

Regardless of their choice and where Narduzzi eventually lands one thing can be said, it is a good sign when schools come and try to poach coaches from other programs - it means that you're doing something right and they want to try to harness some of your success. While the possible departure of Narduzzi could pose a problem for this Michigan State team the implication of having your offensive coordinator spirited away last year and teams interested in your defensive coordinator means that you have quite the team.

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