Boston College: Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti departs BC for Pitt. Who could be the next guy in line for the position?

Nothing like a little late breaking news on a Thursday night.

Around 7 PM, Pete Thamel tweeted that BC offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti was leaving Chestnut Hill to take over the same position at Pitt. Cignetti was the OC in each of Jeff Hafley’s first two seasons at Boston College, which means a big decision is now in order for the head coach.

My initial gut reaction to this was that it feels like a lateral move, but more importantly, it feels like a bit of a slap in the face to the players that decided to come back for one more ride, especially guys like Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers. You would think after so much talk about family, Cignetti at the very least would stick around for Jurkovec’s final year to see just how far the change in culture could get them.

In fairness, Cignetti has spent many years as a coach (he began as a grad assistant at Pitt in 1989) including stints in the NFL which obviously includes relentless travel and work hours, so the move to Pittsburgh – which is home for Cignetti – could simply be for family reasons and to make life easier. It also doesn’t hurt that the Panthers will still have a loaded offense even without stud QB Kenny Pickett.

So, now the immediate question becomes who fills in? Here’s a few names I think could be viable candidates in order of most realistic to complete shots in the dark…

RICH GUNNELL

To me, this one makes the most sense. Gunnell was one of Matt Ryan’s go-to receivers in the last set of glory days for the Eagles and has been a coach here for five, going on six seasons now with a one-year stint as a high school coach thrown in there as well. Gunnell was also an interim head coach for one game already and I think he’ll be able to get Zay, Jalen and Jurkovec to the level people think they can get to eventually with some creativity from the mind of a former elite receiver. I’m also a bit biased because I’ve known Gunnell and his wife for quite a while now and would love to see him continue climbing the coaching ranks and get a shot to work with so much talent.

JOE DAILEY

If we’re ranking options 1A or 1B it’s Gunnell and Dailey. Another perfectly fine choice if Hafley decides to go this route, Dailey has been the wide receivers coach, so if anyone will know how to get the most out of Flowers, Gill and the new recruits, it’s Dailey. Dailey was also a quarterback at Nebraska and North Carolina so his eye for schemes and concepts to get guys open is as good as anyone.

JOE BRADY

The only non-BC name on this list, Brady is considered one of the best young offensive minds in football. Brady was the OC for the Carolina Panthers the last two years, so he would already fit the bill in terms of NFL service time on an Eagles staff full of it. Brady was the assistant coach of the year with LSU in 2019 and also coached for the New Orleans Saints for a couple of seasons. Working with guys like Joe Burrow and, Sean Peyton and Drew Brees wouldn’t just help guys like Jurkovec continue to elevate his game, it would be a huge card to pull in recruiting meetings.

BRIAN ST. PIERRE

St. Pierre has been one of the most successful high school coaches in the state over the last decade or so and as an alum who also had some success at The Heights, it would be an intriguing idea. St. John’s Prep has regularly had one of the best offenses in the state under the former BC QB and he’d be able to relate with players immediately. I have absolutely no idea if he would have any interest, but it’s a name that came to mind almost instantly after hearing the news.

MATT OR TIM HASSLEBECK


Obviously, both guys have some pretty sweet gigs with ESPN, but I can’t get away from the idea of filling the position with a former BC guy. Matt’s daughters Anabelle and Mallroy are members of the national championship women’s lacrosse program, so he’s already got a reason to be around the campus a lot anyways. This is just a shot in the dark, but if either one of them were interested I think it’d be worth asking at the very least.









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