Thursday, September 08, 2016

"For Pittsburgh and Pitt, Pat Narduzzi is a great fit"-David Jones, Harrisburg Patriot-News

Mr. Jones is a PSU beat writer and columnist for the newspaper. I only became aware of Jones when the Paterno-Sandusky scandal broke. His writing was uncommonly wise; it was sensitive, measured, honest. I have read him ever since. He is the finest sports writer I have ever read, which I wrote to him in an email a couple of years ago. He did not acknowlwdge the email.

The lede is a double entendre. James Franklin is not a great fit at PSU or in State College.

...Narduzzi fits the place. I don't know how else to say it. He looks and sounds like Pittsburgh. He doesn't sound pasteurized.
I think that's important in Pittsburgh because it remains one of the few cities in this country where you'd have a pretty good idea where you were the moment you walked down the street or someone opened his or her mouth. It has not been homogenized by the relentless bombardment of cultural goo that makes the rest of us talk and think and act pretty much the same. Pittsburgh, like Boston and maybe New Orleans and very few other places in America, has proudly resisted.

[Oh boy. I don't know about that. You could be plopped down in the middle of New York City and not know where you were? Plopped down in, like, La-La Land, and hesitate..."Chicago?" Dude, for real? It seems to me an American city's instantly recognized distinctiveness is the rule not the exception.]

And what makes the city unique?
"It's just a big small town," said [Bill] Fralic [homegrown Pitt All-American and NFL star]...

[Not quite right. Pittsburgh has been described, rightly, as a collection of small towns.]

"The character of the people is very welcoming. When I bring people here from Atlanta who've never been here, they can't get over it, how friendly the people are, how pretty it is."

[All of that is true. Less so the last.]

"I think the people here are hardnosed, they appreciate football played the old-fashioned way. And I think that's what Pat is trying to do and that wears very well."

"Now, I think there's plenty of ways to skin a cat. But in an ideal world, you'd have somebody who has core beliefs that the people who are coming to the games kind of share."
Pittsburgh and that whole Mon and Allegheny and Ohio watershed have a wonderfully rich football heritage, not just surrounding the Steelers, either, but in all the dozens of terrific players and coaches the region has produced.
"Pat grew up down the road...[He's] a hardnosed guy. He's energetic. Very positive and passionate about what he's doing. I think people respect that anywhere. But there's a pride in Pittsburgh about football with people here in general. It means a lot.

"Pitt's lucky to have Pat. But I also think Pat's lucky to have Pitt right now. So, let's see if they can grow together."

[And that is precisely true.]