Pitt fires offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti after Panthers finish worst season since 1998

FILE -Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Jr. watches play during their annual NCAA football intrasquad Blue-Gold scrimmage game, Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Pittsburgh. Cignetti was fired by Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, a day after the Panthers finished 3-9. (AP Photo/Philip G. Pavely, File)

Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi fired offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti on Sunday, a day after the Panthers finished their worst season in a quarter century by falling to Duke 30-19.

Pitt went 3-9 in 2023, the program’s first nine-loss season since going 2-9 in 1998.

The offense was a major issue, with the Panthers shuttling between three quarterbacks in Phil Jurkovec, Christian Veilleux and Nate Yarnell.

Jurkovec and Veilleux both went 1-4 as starters, with Yarnell going 1-1 after taking over late in the season.

Pitt finished last in the 14-team ACC in scoring, total offense, rushing, red zone offense and time of possession. Turnovers were an issue and so was the inability to generate much on the ground, in part because defenses were not worried about the Panthers beating them through the air.

Pitt went 9-4 in Cignetti’s first season running the offense in 2022. The Panthers had hoped reuniting Cignetti with Jurkovec — whom Cignetti mentored while coaching at Boston College — would provide a boost.

Instead, Jurkovec struggled with his accuracy and lost his starting job to Veilleux, who had similar issues before giving way to Yarnell, who put himself in the mix to be the starter in 2024 by completing 66% of his passes and avoiding major mistakes.

Cignetti’s dismissal means the Panthers will be searching for their sixth offensive coordinator during Narduzzi’s tenure, which began with the 2015 season.


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