Mark Dantonio: 'I'd hate to lose Pat Narduzzi, but...'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday December 09, 2013

Mark Dantonio knows that continued success makes assistants a hot commodity, and that means schools are again looking defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.

On Sunday, Dantonio confirmed that UConn has contacted MSU about interviewing Narduzzi for the head coaching job. A former defensive coordinator under Jim Tressel at Ohio State, Dantonio has been through it himself.

Dantonio isn’t worried about Narduzzi’s future being a distraction.

“Pat is a very focused individual,” Dantonio said. “He'll be in Arkansas for the Broyles Award. He's a finalist in that. One of the top four assistant coaches in college football. He's gotten the notoriety and the media coverage to be a name out there, I think, to be a tremendous head coach candidate. He'll make a tremendous head coach. But at the same time, I know he's extremely happy here, and I know our players love him and he loves our players. 

“I went through the same thing. How do I respond to that? I'd hate to lose Pat Narduzzi, but I'm in this and I didn't want (defensive lineman) Jerel Worthy to go to the NFL. That is the same type of thing. I didn't want Le'Veon (Bell) to leave or (Will) Gholston to leave. But when the opportunity comes and the opportunity is so good that you need to take it, then that's when you take it. But it's got to be the right opportunity, and Pat understands that and weighs those things out. I think he'll be a candidate on any position, any job, any head coaching job that comes available. I think he would be an extremely valuable candidate and very exciting candidate to talk to. I think he'll be an outstanding head football coach.”

VOTE: Who should win the Broyles Award?

The Rose Bowl will be a reunion for Dantonio and Stanford veteran defensive line coach Randy Hart, whom Dantonio credited for helping him take a big step in his coaching career in the mid 1980s.

"He's a guy that really, he always points to people,” Dantonio said. “You always point to individuals who sort of take you places in your life and your career. I think all of us do that. Randy is probably one of the five or six people that when I look back at my coaching career, when I didn't have an opportunity, he made it happen for me to go to Ohio State as a graduate assistant. I worked with him at Purdue.  He was the defensive line coach there, and at that point in time he moved to Ohio State and sort of made that opportunity happen for me. So I always look at him as one of those guys. I constantly hear from Randy over the years, and great people, great coach.”

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Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to