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    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    O.C. Prospect: Frank Cignetti

    As I said a few nights ago, fired coaches from UNC, Alabama, and NC State may be targets for the offensive coordinator position. A local sports radio show yesterday mentioned the name of Frank Cignetti at UNC under now dismissed head coach John Bunting. Cignetti could be a prospect given his background.

    Cignetti led Fresno State to back-to-back top 10 national rankings in scoring offense, as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The Bulldogs ranked fifth in the country in scoring offense in 2004 and seventh in 2005.

    Cignetti who is 40 served four seasons as the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator where he helped guide Fresno State to four consecutive bowl games, including a win over No. 18 Virginia in the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl. Fresno was 3-1 in bowl games with Cignetti.

    In 2004, Fresno averaged 52.8 points over the last six games and became just the sixth team in NCAA history to score 50 or more points in four consecutive contests. Fresno finished that season 9-3, led the Western Athletic Conference in average yards per carry (5.4) and scored 65 touchdowns. The Bulldogs were outstanding in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on 42-of-53 attempts (.792).

    Cignetti was instrumental in the development of Fresno's four-year starting quarterback Paul Pinegar, who was the 2002 WAC Freshman of the Year and led the nation's freshmen in passing efficiency, passing yards and touchdowns. In 2005, Pinegar ranked 18th in the country in pass efficiency.

    Cignetti has been a part of successful programs at all levels. In the NFL, he won a division championship and a playoff game with the New Orleans Saints in 2000. He was part of three bowl victories at Fresno State, and on the Division II level - at Indiana University of Pennsylvania - he reached the national championship game twice and the semifinals four times. He also has been a member of the coaching staff in the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine all-star games.

    Before joining the Fresno State program, Cignetti served as the New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. In 2000, he helped the Saints earn the NFC West title and the franchise's first playoff win. The Saints' offense ranked 10th in the NFL in both 2000 and 2001. In 2000, he guided quarterback Jeff Blake to a career-high 82.7 rating before Blake suffered a season ending injury. The following season, quarterback Aaron Brooks was an alternate for the Pro Bowl. In New Orleans, he also coached current Carolina Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, current Rams QB Marc Bulger and the now retired Billy Joe Tolliver.

    He joined the Saints after coaching one season as an offensive assistant and quality control coach with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999. He was responsible for game analysis and opponent information. In 1999, Kansas City finished 9-7, second in the AFC West and the offense ranked 12th in the NFL.

    From 1990-98, Cignetti was an assistant at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he coached receivers (1990-92), the secondary (1993-94) and quarterbacks (1995-98). In his last two years at IUP, he served as the offensive coordinator.

    Cignetti started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh for Mike Gottfried in 1989. The Panthers went 9-3 and defeated Texas A&M in the Sun Bowl.

    He has coached for 17 years, working with NFL offensive coordinators such as Mike McCarthy (New Orleans Saints) and Tom Rossley (Green Bay Packers) and Jimmy Raye (Oakland Raiders).

    Cignetti was an all-conference safety at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, from where he graduated in 1987. He played in the school's first ever appearance in a national playoff game in 1987 against Central Florida.

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