Pitt has been in the market for a new offensive coordinator since Mark Whipple left for Nebraska in early December, and on Thursday, it was revealed that former Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti will return to the program to reprise his old role as a member of Pat Narduzzi’s coaching staff.
A contract has yet to be signed, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, who first reported a deal was imminent. However, the two sides are expected to reach an agreement in the near future, meaning Pitt’s search for an offensive coordinator should be coming to an end just over a month after it began.
Cignetti is a Pittsburgh native who brings extensive experience to the table. His coaching career began in 1989, when he joined the Pitt coaching staff as a graduate assistant under Mike Gottfried. After that, he spent nine years as a member of the IUP coaching staff, working his way up to offensive coordinator before heading off to the NFL. All told, he has spent 11 seasons coaching at the NFL level and 21 seasons coaching at the college level.
In the coach’s first stint as Pitt’s offensive coordinator, he served on Dave Wannstedt’s staff from 2009 to 2010. However, he is also familiar with the ACC and its other programs, as he served as the offensive coordinator for North Carolina in 2006 and held the same role at Boston College from 2020 to 2021.
In terms of offensive output, Cignetti could prove to be a step down from Whipple, as he failed to put points on the board with the frequency that Whipple did last season. In 2021, Boston College scored just 24.7 points per game, ranking No. 93 in the nation under Cignetti. Meanwhile, Pitt averaged 41.4 points per game under Whipple, ranking No. 3 in the nation. With that said, Pitt averaged 32.1 points per game during Cignetti’s first season as Pitt’s offensive coordinator back in 2009, but since then, Cignetti has failed to reach 30 points per game in a season at the college level.
That limited production could prove to be a problem for a Pitt team that has struggled to stifle opposing offenses in recent years, giving up 23.6 points per game in 2021 and 24.5 in 2020. But perhaps with weapons like Jordan Addison, Gavin Bartholomew and Kedon Slovis at his disposal, Cignetti can find paths to the end zone with greater ease in 2022.