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IUP FOOTBALL: Cignetti Jr. not interested in job

by MATTHEW BURGLUND mburglund@indianagazette.net on December 29, 2010 3:00 AM

You can scratch one name off the IUP wish list.

In a text message, IUP graduate Frank Cignetti Jr. said Monday that he will not be pursuing the head coaching job at his alma mater, a post left open by Lou Tepper's dismissal on Dec. 17.

"IUP is a special place to me and my family," Cignetti wrote, "but at this time I am not interested in coming back."

An Indiana native and IUP graduate, Cignetti is finishing up a two-year run as the offensive coordinator at Pitt.

The Panthers play in the Compass Bowl on Jan. 8, against Kentucky.

The following day, new head coach Mike Haywood takes over the program from Dave Wannstedt, who resigned Dec. 7. Haywood has announced he will not retain any of Wannstedt's staff, including Cignetti.

Cignetti is the son of former IUP head coach Frank Cignetti, who won 182 games in 20 seasons with the school. The younger Cignetti said he hopes the next coach has ties to his father's run off success from 1986 to 2005, when IUP had the best program in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

"I do hope the next head coach comes from my father's past staffs, someone that has the passion, love and understanding of the program that dad built," Cignetti added.

Under Cignetti Sr., IUP had 20 consecutive non-losing seasons and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs 12 times. But the program has fallen on hard times recently, with the last two teams combining to win only 11 of 22 games. Under Tepper, IUP advanced to the playoffs only once in five seasons.

IUP isn't expected to name a new coach until next month, and few candidates are known, other than current defensive coordinator Paul Tortorella, who has been at IUP since 1995, and former IUP quarterback Rich Ingold.

Cignetti Jr. coached for his father from 1990 to 1998 before leaving for a career in the Division I college and NFL ranks. He has stops at Fresno State (2002-05), North Carolina (2006), California (2008) and Pitt (2009-10), as well as the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs (1999), New Orleans Saints (2000-01) and San Francisco 49ers (2007).

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