Frank Cignetti returns to Pitt as offensive coordinator

Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH – Frank Cignetti is ready for a third stint at Pittsburgh.

The Panthers have hired Cignetti as the team’s offensive coordinator more than 30 years after he began his coaching career at the school as a graduate assistant and a decade removed from a brief stint as offensive coordinator under former Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt.

The school made the announcement on Friday. The 56-year-old Cignetti replaces Mark Whipple, who left to take the same position at Nebraska.

The well-traveled Cignetti broke into coaching at Pitt in 1989. He’s spent the last 32 years in coaching at both the college and professional levels. Cignetti has worked for six different NFL teams and six Football Bowl Division programs. He most recently served as the offensive coordinator at Boston College in 2020 and 2021.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi called Cignetti’s hire a “tremendous coup” for the Panthers.

“”He’s an extremely talented football coach and teacher,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “Frank has worked with some of the greatest quarterbacks in the game. He knows what it takes to build a championship-caliber offense.”

The Panthers will lose quarterback Kenny Pickett, a Heisman Trophy finalist, to the NFL but have several weapons returning from a team that won the program’s first ACC title and set myriad offensive records, including Jordan Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award to the nation’s best wide receiver in 2021.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff


CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.