Pitt football hires Mark Whipple as next offensive coordinator


Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

The 61-year-old Whipple, who brings almost 40 years of coaching experience to the table, will look to mentor quarterback Kenny Pickett (pictured) in an effort to revitalize Pitt’s 92nd-ranked offense.

By Trent Leonard, Sports Editor

After 10 days without an offensive coordinator, the wait for a new Pitt play-caller is over — the football program announced Monday that Mark Whipple, who most recently served as the head coach of University of Massachusetts Amherst, will fill the position.

The 61-year-old Whipple brings almost 40 years of coaching experience to the table, including multiple stints at the NFL level. His coaching tree has previously extended its branches into Pittsburgh, as he served as the Steelers’ quarterbacks coach from 2004-2006, earning a Super Bowl ring as part of the Super Bowl XL staff.

In his most recent stint at Division I FBS UMass from 2014-2018, the Minutemen finished in the country’s top 20 passing offenses in three of the past five years, despite posting lackluster records. At Pitt, the passing attack and developing quarterback Kenny Pickett will be major points of emphasis after the Panthers finished 123rd out of 130 teams in passing yards per game under former offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.

Whipple’s previous head coaching campaign at UMass from 1998-2003 saw him lead the Minutemen to their greatest season in program history. Competing at the NCAA I-AA level, UMass won a school-record 12 games and the national championship under Whipple in 1998.

“Mark Whipple is truly one of the best teachers of offensive football in the country—college and pro,” Narduzzi stated publicly. “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’s other accomplishments include coaching  the Division II New Haven Chargers from 1988-1993. His offense led all NCAA divisions in scoring, with 50.5 points per game, and total offense, with 598.7 yards per game, in 1992. He also served as the Cleveland Browns’ quarterbacks coach from 2011-2012.

As for the unit he’ll be taking over, the Panthers’ offense showed flashes at times throughout the past season, specifically in the run game, but finished 92nd in the nation in total offense. In their last three games, Pitt scored just 3, 10 and 13 points, respectively.

“I have known and respected Pat Narduzzi for a very long time, so it is an incredibly exciting opportunity to join his coaching staff at Pitt,” Whipple said. “He is building something very special at a place that has such a rich and inspiring football tradition. I am really looking forward to meeting our players and hitting the ground running in preparation for spring ball.”