Has Pitt Football Found Their Next Offensive Coordinator?


Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review

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Reports are rolling in that the Pittsburgh Panthers are expected to hire Frank Cignetti as their new offensive coordinator.  Cignetti is a local guy from Indiana, PA, attended IUP, and started his college football career as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 1989.  He also previously served as Pitt's OC from 2009-2010.

Cignetti climbed the ranks at IUP, serving as many different position coaches including as wide receivers, defensive backs, and quarterbacks coach before becoming their OC in 1997.  He then made the jump to the NFL as a Kansas City Chiefs offensive assistant in 1999.  Cignetti has bounced around different college and NFL teams, including an incredible season at Pitt in 2009.

In 2009, under Cignetti, Pitt averaged 32.1 points per game with Dion Lewis, Jon Baldwin, and Dorin Dickerson featured in the highly efficient offense.  Also, quarterback, Bill Stull had one of his best seasons as a Panther.  Pitt had seven players named All-Big East that year, with Lewis being named the Big East’s offensive player of the year and the rookie of the year. 

Cignetti most recently has served as the OC at, fellow ACC conference program, Boston College.  While Boston College had a difficult year offensively, it could be largely blamed on quarterback Phil Jurkovec getting injured, and rarely playing at 100%.

Cignetti is touted as a quarterback whisperer, however he has led several teams to great rushing numbers.  In addition to Lewis’ outstanding season for Pitt in 2009, Cignetti was the OC of the St. Louis Rams in 2015 when rookie Todd Gurley led the Rams to the 7th highest rushing total in the NFL.  For a Pitt team that excelled passing last season, a more balanced attack may be needed in 2022 with Kenny Pickett entering the NFL draft.  

Cignetti brings with him 30+ years of college and NFL coaching experience.  He also is seen as a much better recruiter than Panther OC’s of the past.  It is always nice to see a Pittsburgh guy in important roles for the Panthers.  As a Pittsburgh native, Kevin Colbert, is set to leave a Pittsburgh football team, another one is set to return.