Narduzzi "You hate to break up a great party"

Spartans defensive coordinator talks about decision to return to MSU and not accept UConn job and Shilique Calhoun chimes in on having Narduzzi backs for another season -- and how he played into his recruitment.

As has been a part of the past few offseasons in East Lansing, Michigan State fans spent time wondering if Pat Narduzzi would return the next season.

And as has been the case previously, it looks like he is set to stay with the Spartans after turning down a job offer from UConn.

"It was close, it's always close," Narduzzi said. "I really said probably the key is my wife being a great coach's wife because she could have said, ‘Hey, Pat, let's go, and I would have fallen off the fence either way. But she was strong enough to say, ‘Hey, what's the best move for us as a family and for you coaching-wise."

While the money and proximity to family was hard to turn down, the family feel of the Michigan State program holds an allure for Broyles Award winner as the nation's top assistant coach.

"I'm nothing without Harlon Barnett, Mike Tressel and Ron Burton, period," he said. "I'm nothing without Denicos Allen and Darqueze, and Kurtis, and Isaiah, and Shilique and Rush and all those guys. It takes more than one guy. I guarantee you that. … If you're grounded and smart, you know it wasn't you. It was everybody else that you're around.

"You hate to break up a great party that we have going on right now, and it better be a great opportunity. It felt like this is the place to stay."

For Calhoun, having Narduzzi return for another season served as a relief.

"To know that he was coming back, it was kind of like your heart got back to beating regularly, there's no breathtaking moments like he's gone," Calhoun said. "You know that he's coming back and you'll have another great year of him to coach you up."

Even more so, Calhoun forged a relationship with Narduzzi who was his primary recruiter out of high school. It also was one vivid memory of the passionate defensive coordinator that led to Calhoun picking Michigan State.

"That's what got me here, his emotion," Calhoun said. "I think it was the Illinois game. It was about the fourth quarter because you know he only comes down in the fourth quarter and one the DBs caught an interception and he sprinted onto the field to celebrate with him. He got a flag and everything. He didn't care.

"That moment I realized like this is where I need to be. You could see the passion in him that he has in players."

Head coach Mark Dantonio said keeping Narduzzi in East Lansing and his choice to do so just shows "things are good here."

"Things are very positive here and he'll leave for the right position at the right time and not before then," Dantonio said. "Because I think he enjoys the aspect of being here and his players and our players and the program and those type of things."


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