Pat Narduzzi has turned to an old Big Ten foe to fill in a big hole on his Pitt coaching staff.
Confirming reports that surfaced earlier in the day, Pitt announced Saturday evening that Narduzzi has hired Randy Bates as his new defensive coordinator. Bates will replace Josh Conklin, who left earlier this month to take over as the head coach at FCS Wofford.
This will be Bates’ second coordinator job at the FBS level, with the first coming at Louisiana Tech from 2000-05.
“I’ve known Randy for a long time and have the utmost respect for him as a teacher and recruiter,” Narduzzi said in quotes distributed by the school. “He is a tireless worker, always learning and always striving to improve as a coach. I’ve shared many phone calls with him discussing techniques, schemes and opponents.
“But what is most impressive about Randy is the type of person he is. He values relationships and is really invested in the student-athletes under his watch. Randy will bring great passion and knowledge to Pitt and I know he’ll put a great mark on our very promising defense. I’m really thrilled to welcome to the University of Pittsburgh not only Randy but also his wife, Tracey, and three daughters, Samantha, Alexandra and Olivia.”
The past dozen seasons, Bates, a retired Naval lieutenant, was a member of Pat Fitzgerald‘s coaching staff at Northwestern as the Wildcats’ linebackers coach. Bates had been with Fitzgerald for each of his 12 seasons as the head coach in Evanston.
“I knew it would always take a special place and outstanding opportunity to draw me away from Northwestern,” Bates said. “After talking with Pat Narduzzi, I knew Pitt was that type of place. It is a tremendous honor to join a program with such a rich tradition and history. But more importantly, it has an even brighter future under Coach Narduzzi. I can’t wait to meet our players and get started.”
Classy as always, Fitzgerald congratulated his longtime assistant on the promotion, adding that Bates’ new boss “got a good one.”