Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi is hoping that bringing back Mark Whipple to the city where he saw some of his greatest success will be just the trick to jump-starting the Panthers offense.
In a move announced by the school on Monday afternoon, the former UMass head coach was named Pitt’s next offensive coordinator as he replaces the recently fired Shawn Watson.
“Mark Whipple is truly one of the best teachers of offensive football in the country—college and pro,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “His track record working with quarterbacks is simply outstanding and I know that positional group will really grow under his influence. Mark will not only make a huge impact from an offensive standpoint, but his tremendous wealth of experience will benefit our entire program. I really value the fact that we are adding another staff member who has been a head coach. We are thrilled to welcome Coach Whipple and his family back to Pittsburgh.”
Whipple found plenty of success in the city as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback coach from 2004-06, mentoring Ben Roethlisberger as the team won Super Bowl XL. He also had stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns in the pros, as well as serving as OC/QB coach at Miami under Randy Shannon.
UMass and Whipple recently parted ways after the season following a 4-8 campaign, ending a second stint with the Minutemen that saw the head coach go 65-70 overall at the school and 16-44 the last five years as the program left the MAC and embarked on football independence.
While the overall record was not what Whipple or the school wanted, he did develop some prolific offensive weapons like Biletnikoff Award finalist Andy Isabella and had the team averaging 6.4 yards per play in 2018. That mark is significantly better than what Pitt did on their ACC Coastal title run during the same season, which saw the Panthers rank 97th in total offense nationally.