Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Names Watson Offensive Coordinator

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Names Watson Offensive Coordinator

Article excerpt

Pat Narduzzi had a not-so-subtle message on national signing day for anyone wondering who would be Pitt's next offensive coordinator and when he would be hired: "Be ready."

Barely 24 hours after Pitt put the finishing touches on its 2017 recruiting class, Narduzzi made an addition that could have a more significant impact than any incoming freshman.

Pitt hired Shawn Watson to run its offense and coach the quarterbacks, replacing the highly successful Matt Canada, who left his offensive coordinator post for LSU about a month and a half ago. Watson, 57, has been an offensive coordinator at four major-conference schools since 2000 but spent last season as Indiana's offensive quality control coach. He was promoted to quarterbacks coach before Indiana's bowl game but passed over for its offensive coordinator vacancy.

Now, Watson gets a chance to call plays again with the Panthers.

"I am tremendously honored and excited to join the staff at Pitt and be part of what Pat Narduzzi is building there," Watson said in a statement released by Pitt.

Watson is a native of Carbondale, Ill., and a graduate of Southern Illinois, where he was head coach from 1994-96.

He has been an assistant at six schools since then, but it was before that when he met Narduzzi; the two were on the Miami (Ohio) staff in the early 1990s.

"Pat is one of my closest and dearest friends," Watson said. "I've known him for a very long time and have always admired the passion and energy he brings to coaching and teaching."

Coincidentally, Narduzzi took over Watson's old job when they were at Miami. Watson served as wide receivers coach there in 1989, then moved to quarterbacks coach the next year.

In 1990, Narduzzi got his start in coaching as a RedHawks graduate assistant, then became the wide receivers coach.

"Shawn Watson was one of my first mentors in this business," Narduzzi said in the statement. "He sat me down as a young coach and taught me how to work with wide receivers in my first full-time job at Miami in the early 1990s. …

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