Christopher Smith

Michigan State DC Named Top Assistant

Created on Dec. 11, 2013 5:19 PM EST

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi earned the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach amid interest from UConn for its head coaching job.

The Spartans boast the nation's top rushing defense and total defense, allowing just 248.2 yards per game, and secured a Rose Bowl appearance by defeating Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game Saturday.

“Pat pays great attention to detail, and he’s an outstanding teacher,” head coach Mark Dantonio, said in a statement. “His relationships with his players also is a strength. In addition, he’s an outstanding recruiter. Pat has been a loyal staff member for 10 years, including the last seven years at MSU. As our assistant head coach, he’s asked to manage a lot of duties.

“Pat has been the architect of a top 10 defense for the last three years. There’s no question that his defense has been the cornerstone for this record-setting 12-win season.”

Multiple reports out of Connecticut bill Narduzzi as the top candidate for the Huskies job, for which he interviewed this week, but is reporting the coach declined a job offer.

Narduzzi has been the defensive coordinator for Dantonio since 2004 at Cincinnati, following the coach to Michigan State in 2007. The Detroit Free Press quoted Dantonio this morning proclaiming his underling, 47 years old, will make a great head coach.

Whether or not Narduzzi accepts the UConn job, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him make the leap as early as this offseason, as he along with Alabama's Kirby Smart are two of the hottest coordinators in college football.

The other finalists for the Broyles award were Auburn offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rhett Lashlee, Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Duke offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper.

T.J. Weist has served as UConn's interim coach since the school fired Paul Pasqualoni late in September. Weist is considered a fringe candidate for the job.

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