Coaching Cotton Bowl important to Narduzzi

New head coach at Pitt has one more game and "unfinished business" at Michigan State as the Cotton Bowl approaches.

Pat Narduzzi as the next head coach at the University of Pittsburgh was one of the worst kept secrets around college football the past week.

That also is exactly how Pitt interim athletic direction Randy Juhl opened the press conference introducing Narduzzi on Friday as the hire made official.

But as Narduzzi celebrated landing a long-awaited – and patiently waited for – right head coaching opportunity, he also said he has one game left to coach at Michigan State.

”Of course I’m gonna coach in the Cotton Bowl,” Narduzzi said. “There’s no question about it.”

The Spartans defensive coordinator since 2007 has coached the unit to Top 10 rankings the past four seasons. It will be a stiff test as Michigan State faces the No. 1-ranked Baylor offense on Jan. 1 in Dallas.

He will fly to Dallas tonight and coach Michigan State in practice Saturday morning.

”It’s important to me,” Narduzzi said. “I text messaged it to a few of our kids, “It’s unfinished business. The season is not over. We’ve got business to take care of. We are No. 8 in the country right now and trying to climb a little higher.”

”I think Coach Dantonio is excited me having the opportunity to do that and coaching my last game at Michigan State.”

Narduzzi previously had passed up on chances to leave Michigan State, including to become the Texas A&M defensive coordinator in 2012 and the Connecticut head coach in 2013. This time, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“I’ve had some opportunities in the past and I’ve walked into the head coach’s office and been like, ‘I’ve had calls from such and such but I don’t know,’” he said. “The morning I got a call this year, I walked into the office with a big old smile on my face. I knew this was the place.”

Spartan Digest Top Stories