Frank Cignetti Jr., an Indiana High School graduate and IUP alumnus, is expected to become Pitt’s new offensive coordinator uder head coach Pat Narduzzi, according to various published reports.
Cignetti, 56, is set to replace Mark Whipple, who left for the same role at Nebraska after Pitt won the ACC championship.
Cignetti, the offensive coordinator at Boston College, has an extensive history in the region and the Pitt program. The son of College Football Hall of Fame inductee and longtime IUP coach Frank Cignetti Sr., he started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 1989. After calling plays at Fresno State, North Carolina and California, Cignetti served as Pitt’s offensive coordinator under Dave Wannstedt in 2009 and 2010.
After Wannstedt’s departure, Cignetti joined Greg Schiano’s Rutgers staff in 2011. He then spent the better part of a decade working with quarterbacks in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Cignetti returned to college when former Pitt assistant coach Jeff Hafley landed the Boston College head coaching job. Cignetti worked as his coordinator the past two seasons.
Pitt boasted the third-highest scoring offense in the country with Whipple, averaging 43 points per game in the regular season. Under Whipple’s tutelage, Kenny Pickett became a Heisman Trophy finalist, throwing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns.
Cignetti’s offense at Boston College averaged only 26.2 points per game over two seasons. But when healthy, former Pine-Richland standout Phil Jurkovec impressed at quarterback. Jurkovec missed half of last season.
Cignetti is set to become the fifth coordinator in Narduzzi’s eighth season with the program. Jim Chaney and Matt Canada called plays in 2015 and 2016, respectively, before Shawn Watson took over for the 2017 and 2018 campaigns. Whipple was hired in Jan. 2019 and left last month.