Pat Narduzzi Tells Akron, “No thanks,” to Stay With Good Friend Mark Dantonio
Every football coach dreams of having his own program to run and I am sure Pat Narduzzi is the same. It isn’t a secret and it is nothing to be ashamed about.
Spartan Nation has previously reported how Mark Dantonio was so happy working for Jim Tressel that it was Tress himself who almost had to push him out of the nest to take the Cincinnati job. It was not because Tressel didn’t want Dantonio, it was because they were so close that Tressel thought he was ready and the Cincinnati job was to good to pass.
We have also reported on many occasions that it was Tressel who counseled Dantonio on taking the MSU job (A job Tressel had applied for and coveted) and it was with that counsel Dantonio came to MSU.
So now we turn to a similar, but yet very different situation.
According to sources at the University of Akron, and those outside the school with direct knowledge of the search who confirmed, Pat Narduzzi was offered the Akron job. “He had the contract in his hand to sign, we sent it to him in Michigan,” was how our senior source in the Akron athletic department described it to us. “Had he wanted to leave MSU to be a head coach all he had to do was give us his John Hancock. We fully expected him to bring that contract to his second interview and announce him that night. He never came obviously.”
Narduzzi’s name was also up for the Illinois job, but the new Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas never formally interviewed Pat. He didn’t have to. He knows and loves Pat. When Dantonio left Cincinnati to come to MSU he had recommended that Don Treadwell be the interim coach. Thomas had ignored Dantonio’s recommendation and picked Narduzzi. I learned that from sources close to Thomas who worked for him at Cincinnati. Thomas loved Narduzzi, but was pressured to pick a candidate with head coaching experience.
Our source with direct knowledge that confirmed the Akron offer to Narduzzi said, “When Butch Jones told his old boss he wasn’t interested in Illinois I think he was shocked and it sent him (Illinois AD) into a tailspin. Pat was the perfect choice and the media there were all on board after watching every week in the Big Ten what Pat does. Mike (Thomas) loves Pat, but he felt like his first hire at Illinois had to come with head coaching experience.”
We also have a source at Pittsburgh who has been working with us on another story that is coming later this week. We can confirm that Narduzzi was a great candidate of interest, but according to them, “Once Barry Alvarez started calling and lobbying for Paul Chryst no one had a chance. They certainly mentioned that Chryst had an offense that Narduzzi had certainly contained better than others, but hadn’t stopped Paul. Pat didn’t get a formal interview, but he was a very viable and good candidate.”
So what is next for Narduzzi? He will have a better defense in 2012 then he had in 2011. He is already a viable national candidate with that success and frankly he will get a better job than Akron.
Pat has a large family and his pay at MSU is nothing short of an embarrassment when compared to what the men he competes against make. They (MSU assistants) got no raises last year (including cost of living) and nothing so far this year.
According to a senior NON ATHLETIC (have to place emphasis non athletic because they always blame athletics when I break things) administration source Pat is going to get a raise, “But it wasn’t big enough to keep him at MSU had Akron been more attractive. It will put him in the $305,000 to $308,000 range, according to what I have been told. Still far below what UM, OSU and other schools around the nation that his D competes with get. It’s a damn shame,” was how the administrative source described his pay.
He went on, “Athletics is run all by itself. It gets no money from Snyder (State of Michigan) or tuition. They do it themselves and because of pressure outside of athletics Hollis can’t do all that he wants. Hollis is fighting for his guys, but he has bosses too.”
So for now MSU and Dantonio will keep Narduzzi. That is the good news. Narduzzi is loyal to Dantonio and the two of them are close. Narduzzi certainly isn’t looking for any job or he wouldn’t be here now.
The bad news is that he is too good to stay forever and that is the nature of the beast. I have no problem with coaches leaving to pursue their dreams. I do have problems if Mark Dantonio starts to lose people who are excellent and competent because an athletic department that is doing well, thanks to Hollis and the success of football, can’t pay them because of pressure OUTSIDE of athletics.
I do not think every assistant at MSU deserves a raise. Some of them in my opinion are fairly compensated for what they have delivered to Dantonio or even overly compensated. I am in no way saying all are that way, most have over produced and are way underpaid. Narduzzi is one that is woefully underpaid, like his head coach and athletic director and that is a shame.
For decades MSU tossed and turned in oblivion because of their football program. Now that Dantonio has rescued it and Hollis is doing an amazing job in the captain’s seat, perhaps the fans that are paying top dollar can demand that those bringing the success get paid for it. What if the fans demanded that they pay what the middle of the pack rate is for the schools the administration wants to compare salaries to? That wouldn’t go well.
Remember this, Mark Dantonio out of 12 Big Ten coaches is the eighth highest paid. Hollis who is by far the best AD in the Big Ten is the tenth out of twelve. When the MSU administration spins that MSU is in the middle of the pack is that what MSU fans expect MSU to compete at? Brady Hoke makes nearly double what Dantonio makes and the DC at UM makes over three times more than Narduzzi.
I am also being told that even with a raise Pat Narduzzi will make less than every assistant at OSU under Urban Meyer. I have yet to confirm that since all hires by Meyer are not done, but someone inside OSU who is privy to expected salary packages at this time is telling me.