Panthers hire Shawn Watson as new offensive coordinator


Head Coach Pat Narduzzi has had to replace two offensive coordinators in his short time at Pitt, as Jim Chaney‎ and Matt Canada both left after just one year. Theo Schwarz | Senior Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

After introducing the 26 members of the Pitt football team’s 2017 recruiting class Wednesday, the Panthers revealed the man who will be running the team’s offense in the upcoming season just one day later.

Head coach Pat Narduzzi announced Shawn Watson as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2017-18 season Thursday. Watson previously served as offensive coordinator at Texas, Louisville, Nebraska and Colorado before spending the 2016 season as an offensive quality control assistant at Indiana.

“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 press release. “Pat is one of my closest and dearest friends. I’ve known him for a very long time and have always admired the passion and energy he brings to coaching and teaching.”

Narduzzi mentioned Watson as being one of his first mentors when he got into coaching. The two worked together at Miami University in Ohio, where Narduzzi got his start as a graduate assistant and wide receivers coach from 1990-1992.

“Ever since that time, we have always talked about being able to reunite on the same staff again,” Narduzzi said in the release. “I’m really thrilled that the time has finally arrived and he’ll be joining us at Pitt as our new offensive coordinator.”

Watson will be the Panthers’ second straight offensive coordinator with personal ties to Narduzzi. Matt Canada, who left Pitt after the 2016 season to take over as offensive coordinator at LSU, coached alongside Narduzzi at Northern Illinois in the early 2000s.

Narduzzi isn’t just looking forward to making up for lost time with old friends, though. He said Watson will fit in seamlessly in Canada’s old role as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“As a football coach, he is extremely knowledgeable, an excellent recruiter and will be a tremendous strength in the quarterback room and offensive staff room,” Narduzzi said. “I’m really looking forward to having Shawn and his wife Anita join us in Pittsburgh.”

Watson will be Pitt’s fourth offensive coordinator in as many seasons, so he knows he’ll need to get to work quickly.

“Pat and his staff have accomplished so much in such a short period of time at Pitt,” Watson said in the release. “I can’t wait to join them, meet our players and get ready for spring ball.”

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