Pitt AD Discusses Expectations For The Season, On The Field and In The Stands

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke met with reporters to discuss expectations for the season, including a likely increase in attendance for home games.

“We’re planning on full capacity,” Lyke said. “We don’t know, we have to go into it thinking full capacity. That’s our expectation. That’s our hope. But obviously, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. We respectfully understand that.

"We’re really actively getting vaccinated, both all of our staff, our coaches, our student athletes, but the reality is we are going to have to manage with what the state of the country is in from a medical standpoint, and then obviously what the state of Pennsylvania is and our campus and our county.”

As for the actual success of the program, Pitt football has had a very average run under Coach Pat Narduzzi, slightly-better-than-average at best. Last season, the Panthers finished 6-5 and did not make a bowl appearance.

But Lyke indicated she still has faith in the current man in charge.

“I’m confident in Coach Narduzzi’s abilities to bring a great group of coaches together. Obviously we lost two coaches. One went on to be a coordinator, which is great for Rob Harley, but I think he recruited two tremendous coaches to the staff this coming year," she said. "Six guys go to the NFL, which was a top 10 draft class in the country. So no doubt, again, our coaches have taught them well. Tremendous kids as well as athletes. Just great students to be around. I mean I really enjoy being around that team. It’s a great culture.

"We’ve got a tremendous schedule set up for the fall. Obviously it speaks volumes that we have not had a lot of kids go into the transfer portal from our football program, which it does speak volumes to the culture and the relationships that those student athletes have with our coaches. Pat and I have had long conversations, postseason, about things that they need to work on. He knows my issues with what I think they need to work on, but he’s the head football coach and he’s gonna address those issues head on.”

Pitt is scheduled to open the season Saturday, Sept. 4 against UMass. It visits Tennessee the following week. You can check out the Panthers' full schedule here.

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