LITTLE ROCK — The only glitch on Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi’s day occurred during his walk to the head table at Tuesday’s Broyles Award luncheon at the Marriott Hotel.
As he was introduced and made his ceremonial walk, the Notre Dame Fight Song played over the speaker system. Notre Dame is a major rival of Michigan State and the Irish handed the Spartans their only defeat this season.
Narduzzi, who won the 2013 Broyles Award as college football’s top assistant coach followed Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, last year’s winner, to the dais and consequently the Irish coach’s introductory music.
When Narduzzi was introduced as a finalist, the Michigan State fight song played.
“That’s the right song,” he joked.
Narduzzi had his players at the right place at the right time this season spearheading the nation’s No. 1 defense that held Michigan to minus-48 yards rushing in a rivalry game. Narduzzi got a hearty round of applause from the Little Rock crowd, many of them obviously happy with the Spartans’ defeat of Ohio State in Saturday’s Big 10 championship game.
The fourth-ranked Spartans, 12-1, are headed to the Rose Bowl to play No. 5 Stanford.
He noted that, after a loss to Michigan last season, his children were razzed in school in a state with divided loyalties among the two major state institutions.
“My motivation every week is to put a game plan together so my kids won’t be miserable in school,” he quipped.
He noted he was most proud of what has happened in the overall Michigan State prgram.
“The development of people is the best thing we have done at Michigan State,” he said. “We have uplifted people both on and off the field.”
The award is named for former Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, who is noted for developing assistants into head coaches and was saluted by all the finalists. A number of his aides went on to stellar careers, including Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill and Barry Switzer.
Fry, Majors and Switzer were on this year’s selection committee.
Other finalists this year were Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.