Pitt has reportedly decided on Northwestern linebackers coach Randy Bates as the replacement for former defensive coordinator Josh Conklin, who recently left to take on head coaching duties at Wofford.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports first reported the hire on Saturday morning.
Source: Randy Bates will be the new defensive coordinator at Pitt. He was Northwestern’s linebackers coach.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 13, 2018
Bates has held his position at Northwestern since Pat Fitzgerald was appointed head coach of the Wildcats in 2006. Prior to that, he coached at Louisiana Tech from 2000 to 2005, holding a variety of positions on the defensive side of the ball before being promoted to defensive coordinator in his last season with the Bulldogs.
Before that, he was a linebackers coach at Kent State from 1998 to 1999. While there, he coached former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
Perhaps most importantly, Bates was regarded as “one of Northwestern’s best recruiters,” according to Louie Vaccher of Wildcat Report, who added that he “most notably covered the Houston area that has produced a steady flow of talent to Evanston.”
Overall, Bates has been coaching for 37 years, so in addition to solid recruiting, he brings a ton of experience to Pitt. And in terms of results, he was partly responsible for a Northwestern defensive unit that has ranked among the top 25 in scoring defense for the past three years.
Pitt, for comparison, hasn’t cracked the top 50 in that same time span. So the addition of Bates could signal a step forward for Pitt in a number of ways.